6 Simple Fitness Steps To A Healthy New You


By Chris Widener

6-steps-180x300First, it’s a good idea go to your physician and tell him or her what you would like to achieve physically and that you’d like to know where you are now. I cannot emphasize this enough! Let your doctor know and help you along and/or encourage you with your plan. Each individual is unique and will need to have a health professional help them decide which is the best plan for them. Believe me, they will be ecstatic to see someone taking their health seriously and will be glad to help!

Second, have a plan. Just as with all of life, we do best when we have a plan. That is why we offer Life Success. We do better and are more accountable – as well as more successful – when we plan and then work that plan. So, get a plan. There are so many good health/exercise plans available to us; it is up to you to choose what will fit you, your needs and your lifestyle the best.

The first and most simple step of your plan should be to start becoming active on a daily basis; even 5 minutes a day will make a huge difference physiologically and as a result will move you in the direction of strengthening your body’s cardiovascular system. So a simple start could be walking in your neighborhood, a nearby park or local school track.

The next step would be to add in strength/weight training and alternate strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. Try doing cardiovascular (walking, jogging, swimming, aerobics, etc.) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and strength training on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The key here is to do what works best for you and your schedule.

Now my personal plan is simple (You don’t have to do this plan, I simply show it for illustrative purposes). It starts with going to the gym every day. Yes, every day. I take two Sundays a month off. Other than that, I get there every day at the same time. I do not schedule meetings during that time. It is important to my life and so I schedule it in and nothing takes precedence over it.

Next, I follow what I call the ABCs of working out. It is my way of remembering what body part to work out each day: A is for arms and abs. I do that the first day then move on to the next. B is for back and legs (I couldn’t fit “L” in and make it work so I tacked it on!). C is for chest. S is for shoulders. Then I take a day off of weightlifting and go back to the ABCs. Additionally, on each of these days I do between 20 and 45 minutes of cardio workout on the treadmill or stair-stepper.

Third, start small. One reason so many people fail to maintain a lifelong workout plan is because they start too big, fail and then quit. You don’t have to go to the gym every day. You don’t have to start off trying to bench press like a middle linebacker. Start smaller if that is what it takes for you to be successful. The key isn’t the size of your start but that you start! It might mean taking a vigorous walk three times a week with your spouse or friends. Whatever it is – start!

Fourth, make it regular. Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every morning or three evenings a week. It doesn’t matter what your plan is as long as it is your plan and you keep it regular. If you can keep from being sporadic, your body will be in much better condition.

Fifth, incorporate exercise into your day. You don’t even have to join a gym. I know people who ride their bikes to work (Yes, even in Seattle, and they do get wet!). If you work on the tenth floor, take the stairs three times a week. Park at the outer edge of the parking lot. Bring a sandwich for lunch and walk while you eat it at your lunch break. There are lots of different ways to get exercise on a regular basis if you just put a little thought and effort into it.

Lastly, remember that something is better than nothing. Sometimes I just plain old do not want to go work out and do 45 minutes on the treadmill and 45 minutes in the weight room. I could decide to not go and sit on the couch and eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby Ice Cream. But instead I decide to go to the gym. Even if I do 15 minutes on the treadmill and then quit, it is better than having done nothing! It is a continual move in the right direction (You can apply this principle to any area of life, saving even $50 a month is better than nothing!).