Welcome to Pillar 2! This week we introduce the second healthy habit of our program – exercise. If you participated in Habit 1, I’d like to congratulate you for completing this first vital habit.
In case you’re just joining us, we are launching 6 healthy habits to help you get into the best shape of your life. One new habit every month, from January to June.
You can link back to the first habit here.
But you may be wondering…
“One habit per month? Why are we taking it so slow?”
Habits can be difficult to develop, especially when life gets in the way. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to succeed. By giving you the gift of focus and time to reinforce each new habit.
For month 2 we will add exercise to your routine. It’s an essential part of your healthy lifestyle.
In addition to making you look and feel great, you will become stronger and leaner when you exercise for longevity.
I’d also like you to consider the additional benefits. Exercise will…
- burn fat and build muscle.
- reduce stress and improve your mood.
- improve your heart and cardiovascular functions.
- increase blood flow to your brain and improve cognition.
- prevent heart attacks, stroke and high blood pressure.
- strengthen bones and improve balance as you age.
- prevent or reverse nasty diseases like type 2 diabetes.
- improve your focus, creativity, and productivity.
- get you into fantastic shape, if done right.
- help you lose or maintain weight.
- reduce anxiety and depression.
And the benefits of exercise don’t stop here.
The two primary forms of exercise that we will cover include strength and cardio training. This week’s focus will be on the strength part. Strength-training (aka resistance training or weight lifting) becomes even more important as we age.
It’s been proven that our muscles, bones, circulatory and respiratory systems all benefit from strength-training. But despite this fact, not enough people include it in their weekly exercise routine.
Reasons vary but include limited knowledge of what to do, a lack of discipline, and a concern about becoming too bulked up with big muscles. Like this guy…
Ok, so I have to ask. Was this your first thought when I mentioned strength-training? Were you afraid you would bulk up like Arnold?
Take a deep breath. Relax. And don’t worry. You will never look like this. Even if you spent 3 hours a day in the gym, 6 days a week.
So let’s eliminate that concern right up front. Unless it’s your goal and you consume large amounts of performance enhancing drugs.
Otherwise, you don’t have to worry. Go train hard with confidence.
If you’re new to exercise, body weight exercises like the ones covered in the Accelerate Your Weight-Loss post can become your initial workout for the first month or two as you acclimate your body to exercise, based on your fitness level.
It’s best to take it slow in the beginning.
You will also need to change the order of these 6 exercises to suit your muscle groups better.
For example, start with push-ups. Then move to squats, mountain climbers, lunges, planks, and high knee pull-downs. And then go for at least 3 sets.
During the first month, you should not be concerned with intensity, or results. Instead, shift your focus to learning the exercises and practicing good form.
After you graduate to weights, you can perform one set of this “accelerate your weight-loss” routine as your pre-workout warmup.
I strongly suggest that you hire a certified personal trainer (CPT) at your local gym. Especially if strength-training is new to you.
CPT’s possess the skills to help people with different physical abilities and fitness levels by customizing the right exercises that enable you to achieve maximum results.
In addition, the one-on-one interaction ensures that you’re learning the proper technique and doing the exercises in good form. Even if it’s only for a few sessions.
Tom Venuto, former bodybuilder and best-selling author suggests using dumbbells when you’re just starting out. Dumbbells are easy to handle and you can use them in the gym or at home.
Dumbbells encourage equal development on each side of your body, and they’re safer. Especially if you’re training alone. I personally include them in my strength-training sessions.
By the way, I highly recommend his book Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle if you want to get in shape, the natural way through exercise and good nutrition.
Not only is Tom an expert in his field, he offers great insight and devotes a section to specific exercises in his 28-day plan. You’ll learn about the 10 biggest weight training myths, and how weight training helps you get leaner.
So let’s recap.
- This month’s healthy habit is exercise.
- This week’s homework involves starting a strength-training plan.
- If you are new to exercise, spend the first month or two getting your body acclimated by doing body-weight exercises. Click here for suggestions.
- After your first month or two of body-weight exercises, it’s time to start strength-training with weights. Preferably with dumbbells, 2 to 3 days per week.
- Refer to Tom Venuto’s 28-day plan (TNB-28) in Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle.
- You should hire a certified personal trainer (CPT) to match your physical abilities and fitness level with the right exercises.
- And there’s no need to be intimidated by big muscles or physically fit people. You have your own goals and abilities. Focus on what you want! And work towards achieving it.
Disclaimer: Whenever starting a new exercise plan or nutrition program, you should always consult a doctor.
And finally, here’s a brief list of resources to help you exercise for longevity:
- Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle (a great book on exercise and nutrition)
- Beachbody – contact my friend and Beachbody coach Laura for advice on at home DVD-based exercise programs at http://www.beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/girlinspired
- Dumbbell workout for beginners – http://www.building-muscle101.com/dumbbell_workout_beginner.html
- Routine for beginners – Accelerate Your Weight-Loss blog post
- Resource for all levels – http://www.building-muscle101.com/weight-lifting-routines.html
In the meantime, keep reinforcing your water habit by drinking more water as you begin to exercise for longevity.
Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.
Now it’s time for YOU to take action…
What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.