Most people might define being fit as having rippling muscles, superman strength, and a body-builders build. But in reality, fitness is less sexy and more fundamental. It means having the proper resistance level and stamina to endure sustained physical activity. Peak fitness is that point where you’re meeting your body’s potential in strength and stamina.
And physical fitness isn’t just for young people. All of us should maintain peak fitness – whether we’re the busy young parent, the middle-aged professional, or the older retiree. Keeping our bodies in peak condition is fundamental to good health and a long, quality life.
There’s more to peak fitness than a good build and having the muscles of a construction worker. It means adhering to healthy habits in what you eat, how much rest you get, and a variety of exercise to develop different muscle groups and maximum stamina. It means giving your body what it needs to perform at your fullest potential.
Giving your body a healthy balance of energy-building foods (and their calories) is essential to a good fitness program. That doesn’t have to mean cutting out calorie-rich foods to lose weight. You need calories to have energy. They are the fuel necessary for the most simple task. Fiber is important to a healthy diet and peak fitness. It promotes healthy digestion and waste processing. Fiber-rich foods like unpolished rice, fruits and vegetables, and stone-ground natural wheat fill you up and reduce the temptation to eat too much. Daily intake of green vegetables and fruits gives you the vitamins and minerals that build stamina and help you resist disease. You can’t achieve peak fitness without a healthy balanced diet
If you follow these basic guidelines, you can get all the exercise you need to improve your physical condition and psychological health. Use them to come up with your own health and fitness program.
1. Select an aerobic exercise that’s fun for you and that you can do indoors or outside. Choose from jogging, hiking, walking, running, playing soccer or tennis, or in-line skating. Cardiovascular conditioning or aerobic exercises can help you attain a total body workout, so be sure that, whatever you do, it’s vigorous and sustained. Make sure your heart rate goes up and stays up for at least 20 minutes.
2. Use exercise videos to learn new exercises and have a leader to follow. There are many interesting and innovative videos on the market today that offer a wide variety of activities, all of them designed to improve your health and fitness. If you can imagine it, someone’s made a video to show you how and keep you moving! Much less expensive than a gym or equipment, these videos give a great workout and some pretty good entertainment. Examples in addition to programs designed for specific parts of the body include kickboxing, body rock, belly dancing, power yoga, and salsa dancing.
3. Change the way you do things around the house and get a good workout. Instead of using your power lawn mower, use a push mower. Vacuum the whole house. Shovel snow from your driveway and sidewalks. Carry your laundry basket or your groceries up and down the stairs a few times. Wear weights around your ankles and wrists as you go about your daily routine. There are many small ways to improve your health and fitness without even noticing it!
One of the biggest obstacles to staying on track for fitness is losing motivation. People are just starting an exercise program can find themselves quickly tired of the same routine. Keeping exercise appealing and maintaining a good fitness perspective is key to long-term success.
If you have to watch the exact same episode of your favorite television show every day for the rest of your life, you would probably be banging your head against the wall by the end of the week. You would change the channel, pick up a book, or do anything you could to avoid something you once enjoyed.
Yet, many people starting on a fitness program feel compelled to follow the same routine, day after day after day, and consequently fall off the exercise wagon due to sheer boredom.
That is why, most people would want the services of a fitness trainer in order to provide them the different portions of the fitness program in a more livelier style.
Beyond the physical benefits of attending fitness boot camps, there are several aspects of each boot camp that can further help you achieve your fitness goals. Here are a few of the reasons why attending a fitness boot camp may be right for you:
Boot Camps: Motivation through Teamwork The camaraderie of having other soldiers sweating and working right next to you will push you to new levels. The group aspect of fitness boot camps will provide you with the support and motivation you need, making each session more enjoyable. For the first time ever, you might even look forward to working out!
Boot Camps: Personal Training Results, Not Price Hiring a good trainer can be expensive, but finding a good trainer who also does fitness boot camps can help you get similar results at a fraction of the price. With a fitness boot camp you get the expert advice and guidance without the high costs. You have a trained professional watching you to make sure you are doing each exercise correctly and giving you workouts you probably wouldn’t do on your own.
Boot Camps: Customized Service Similar to personal training, many fitness boot camps will provide you with body analysis and performance testing. This vital information will allow you to track your progress and gauge your improvement. This information will help you stay motivated through times when you may not see physical changes in your body. Fitness boot camps instructors will also use this information to customize the exercise and intensity of each exercise you do during each boot camp session.
Boot Camps: Get Outside Boot camps are also great because you’re not confined to machines in gyms in or in your home. Fitness boot camps take your workout outdoors with minimal equipment, or even none at all, and you are still guaranteed an intense, fat-burning workout. You can find fitness boot camps happening in parks, on the beach, in parking lots, or a variety of other outdoor locations.
Many require contracts that are legally binding, and require monthly payments, for the length of the contract. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that scenario, in fact it’s very common. The point is, if you’re going to sign on the dotted line, it’s important, that the health club you’ve chosen is right for you.
People make all kinds of excuses not to work out, with proximity to home or work very high on the list. Research has shown that most people won’t travel more than eight miles or eight minutes to work out. Since an exercise an exercise program requires consistency, a convenient location is a must.
Hours of Operation
If you prefer to exercise at a particular time of day, remember to look closely at the day and hours of operation. Also, visit the club prior to joining at the time of day you’re most likely to attend. Is it crowded then?
Equipment and Amenities
With your personal fitness goals in mind, shop around and compare equipment, locker rooms, classes, etc. How about a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam or sauna? Are these in good working order? Have you any interests there?
There should be a wide array of both cardiovascular and strength equipment, as you’ll want to have the opportunity to change your routine periodically, and use different pieces of equipment. That will help keep you interested and motivated.
Shopping around allows you to compare what you’re getting, to what you’re paying. Newer clubs with newer equipment, a wide variety of amenities, will probably cost more per month, but you never know, so look around. I like clubs that charge an all-inclusive monthly fee, that allows you use of the entire facility. Usually the only additional charge would be for the personal training or massages, which is true everywhere.
Starting a fitness program without testing your fitness level is like beginning a journey without knowing exactly where you and having no map to guide you to your destination. Fitness testing establishes your starting point. Plotting out check points along your fitness pathway can direct you toward achieving both short-term and long-term goals.
Seven reasons for fitness testing before and during your exercise program are to:
1. Establish your baseline. When you know initial fitness status, you know how far you have to go to reach your goals. Testing helps you set specific, achievable yet challenging goals with realistic target dates.
2. Compare yourself to others. Many tests are standardized. They provide norms, so you know where you stand in relationship to the “average” person’s score.
3. Individualize your program. Knowing your fitness level springs you out of the one-size-fits-all exercise mold and jumpstarts your personalized, streamlined training path.
4. Know how hard to work. You can estimate your optimum training range using maximum or predicted maximum fitness scores. For most phases of training, exercise intensity is typically performed within a target zone of 60-85% of your maximum cardio or strength level.
5. Evaluate your progress. When you measure your progress regularly, you can see how far you have advanced from your baseline fitness level. Each milestone that you achieve is a great confidence booster that propels you on toward your goals.