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Designing & Implementing Individualized Fitness Plans

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

In this lesson, you will learn ways to design and implement individualized fitness plans. You will learn how to initially check your fitness level, preview a sample plan, and set goals and stick with them as you become healthier.

Starting a Fitness Plan

Who has not intended to start exercising on January 1st, but could not seem to find a solid routine and then gave up by Valentine's Day? Each human being is unique as a snowflake and so are our bodies, so it makes sense that each of us should have our own fitness plan.

Ancient Greek Runners
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How Fit Are You?

Let us start with safety first as you do not want to go out and run ten miles or lift extremely heavy weights on the first day. That would be a prescription for injury. The Mayo Clinic, recognized as one of the top hospitals in the world, recommends doing a basic fitness assessment first to find out how fit you really are:

  • Walk one mile and check pulse before and after
  • Time how long the walk takes
  • Do as many pushups as possible without overdoing it
  • Sit on the floor and reach forward with the legs stretched
  • Measure your waist (the waist is just above the hips)

What Type of Plan?

Much of committing to a fitness plan is mental. Sports scientists recommend doing what you love as this will probably lessen the chance that you will quit on the program. Think long-term and find something that you can stick to for a three-year period. If you hate running but enjoy dancing, then go with the latter as it is highly unlikely that you will continue running for three years.

Write it down

Many sports psychologists believe that if an athlete wants to attain their goals then writing them down is crucial. Who did not love the recent story of Olympic swimmer Ryan Murphy, who competed in Rio? Ryan wrote out and illustrated his dreams when he was eight-years-old and sure enough, he became a record-holding Olympic athlete.

Individualized Fitness Plans

There are literally thousands of individualized fitness plans and we cannot list them all here. They can be defined as workout strategies that are written down with the goal of improving a person's health and well-being. Here is a sample individualized fitness plan:

  • Monday- Cardio. Thirty minutes of walking. Gradually add one minute each week. Intersperse some jogging and running into the mix.
  • Tuesday- Circuit workout. Work out with each of the roughly twelve machines at your gym.
  • Wednesday- Ab workout. Twenty situps, fifteen crunches. Add one of each per week.
  • Thursday- Swimming. Swim twenty minutes at a moderate pace in a pool. Later you can add one minute per week and eventually swim in the ocean when you are a stronger swimmer.
  • Friday- Cycling. Ride at a casual pace for thirty minutes. Add one minute per week. Later you can add some thirty-second sprints into the mix
  • Saturday- Beginner aerobics class. Go at your own pace and do not compete with other participants.
  • Sunday- Rest day.

Individualized Fitness Plan Goals

Short-Term Goals

Who was not amazed by the inspiring story of marathon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson? When she first started running she only made it to her neighbor's mailbox. She decided not to quit and on her next run, she made it to the second mailbox on the street. She continued this pattern and in 1984 she ran up onto the podium to receive her Olympic gold medal. She started with short-term goals, or goals one wants to achieve in the near future.

Start out very slowly and use the five percent rule to be safe. Never add more than five percent to your running time or weightlifting effort. For example, if you ran sixty minutes one day then five percent of that would be three minutes, so the next time you would run for no more than sixty-three minutes. If you bench press two hundred pounds one day five percent of that would be ten pounds, so the next time you should lift no more than two-hundred-ten pounds.

Medium-Term Goals

A medium-term goal can be defined as something a person wants to achieve in about three months to three years. A medium-term goal would be to run a 5K race in six months. It is best to write the goal down in a diary and on a calendar, then reach that goal by combining many short-term goals.

Long-Term Goals

A long-term goal can be defined as something a person wants to achieve that takes more than three years. A long-term goal could be to commit to being healthy and fit for your entire life. Another long-term goal might be to commit to a five-year aerobics plan in which you went from beginner to advanced classes gradually.

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