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My wish is that exercise becomes a passion for you — a fun activity you won’t be able to live without! For that to happen, I suggest a plan that will help optimize your efforts and give you the results you’re looking for. Give yourself the chance to get used to your new training program, and also the time to discover what you like best. After that, it’s up to you to practice and commit! Don’t be afraid to fail. You will meet your goals and then you’ll be able to set even bigger ones!

Did you know that

Exercise enthusiasts have better self-image and self-esteem, are in a better mood, and have thoughts that are spontaneously positive?

A medium-intensity 20 minute workout allows your body to secrete endorphins, a hormone that inhibits pain and increases the feeling of pleasure and euphoria.

When you add to that meditation, yoga or pilates, you can also help fight anxiety, depression and stress.

Nowadays, an active lifestyle can have a positive impact on your well-being, health, and even your entourage. Believe in yourself: meeting challenges and reaching various personal goals will allow you to celebrate your achievements and enjoy life more fully. We all have a trove of inner strength that allows us to thrive — tap into it and be amazed by your full potential. Stepping outside your comfort zone brings happiness!

Ready? Come On. Let’s Go!

I suggest starting progressively with a home workout that doesn’t require any equipment other than your own body weight. Later you can add free weights or a stability ball. To start off on the right foot, download this workout sheet for free at www.sophiemcgreevy.com. This essential tool for monitoring progress helps keep workouts consistent and provides motivation.

A workout should begin with a warm-up (5 minutes), followed by weight training (20 minutes), a cardio workout (20 minutes), some stretching (10 minutes) and finally a cool down. Remember that consistency is one of the keys to success! Aim for three workouts per week, for example, Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays. Whenever possible, try to integrate a day of rest between each workout.

Warm up

The warm up properly prepares the body for physical effort by progressively increasing your heart rate and body temperature. Muscles also become more elastic, which reduces risk of injury.

Weight training

Start with a single set of each weight training exercise proposed. Take a 60-second break between each exercise (exercise-rest method). Single sets require less time. If you would like to increase intensity after a few weeks, go with circuit training: continue exercises one after the other (without a break) and integrate a second set. This will increase the amount of calories burned.

Important: Make sure to correctly execute each move and manipulate equipment safely. Respect your limits since you increase risk of injury when you overdo it.

Cardio

Before or after weight training, do a cardio workout (power walking or on equipment such as a bike, elliptical or treadmill). Any activity that stimulates your heart rate (walking, biking, skiing, group classes, swimming, weight training) promotes heart health and burns calories.

Walking

The first step is wanting to become more active; next is getting into the habit of walking for at least 15 minutes three times a week, and eventually going for five or six 30-minute workouts per week. I’m putting you to the challenge:  insert some power walking intervals to work on your endurance. You can then add an incline — going uphill and then coming back level a few times during your workout to increase lower body endurance and burn more calories. Interested in jogging? Add 30 or 60–second sprints every 5 minutes!

Weekly planning

Start with a 5-minute warm up walking on a level surface.

  • Day 1: 20 to 30 minutes power walking
  • Day 2: 30 minutes brisk walking
  • Day 3: 20 to 30 minutes walking at an incline
  • Day 4: Over 20 minutes of brisk walking alternated with power walking
  • Day 5: If you like, walking while integrating 30 seconds of jogging every 5 minutes

Switching up your workouts is a good way to have fun and avoid routine. Your workouts should be fun, but still effective enough to get results.

How to calculate your target heart rate zone

Here’s a simple formula to help you determine your heart rate zone during warm up and cool down: (220-your age____) x 50% = _____ target heart rate.

If you’re just starting out, pay particular attention to your breathing to determine your heart rate during exercise. Are you still able to speak, but with a little difficulty from being slightly out of breath? You’re in the right zone.

Next, use the following formula: (220-your age ____) x 70% = ____ target heart rate. Regularly check your heart rate to respect recommended training intensity.

Flexibility

Stretching exercises will help you cool down and relax after exercising! They make it easier to perform several daily actions in addition to increasing your range of motion and improving your posture.

Make sure to stretch the muscles you worked while training. Stay in each position, without moving, for 10 to 30 seconds. Make sure to feel a slight discomfort, but no pain.

Getting Back To A Healthy Weight

I suggest you focus on all the advantages an active lifestyle will procure for your health — losing weight is not easy, especially when you want to lose weight in a healthy, safe and sustainable way. If this is what you’re after, you need to develop new life habits and arm yourself with patience — there is no pill or miracle diet to melt fat!

Did you know that only 5% of people who lose weight manage to keep it off, and that one pound is the equivalent of 3,500 calories? Weight gain is due to the following formula: calories ingested > calories burnt. That’s why at the beginning it’s important to reduce the number of calories consumed and to exercise in order to burn them.

Trainer Suggestion

The weight you see on your scale measures body composition (water, fat, muscle, organs, bones). The person who wants to lose weight with regular exercise and a balanced diet may notice that the number on the scale is misleading. One pound of fat and one pound of muscle is not at all the same thing since fat takes up almost twice as must space as muscle! As I often say when starting a weight loss program: “Forget the scale!” For the first few weeks, just ignore it and pay attention to how your clothes fit. Focus on that for positive reinforcement!

Give yourself time and be compassionate with yourself. All your effort will pay off. The results will come. Keep motivation high and persevere!

Sophie Mc Greevy

Trainer