Keys to Fitness Success - dummies

By Suzanne Schlosberg, Liz Neporent

Part of Fitness For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Setting fitness goals and making a concentrated effort to meet them are key to getting in shape. The following tips can help you meet your fitness goals:

  • Set realistic, measurable goals. Instead of vowing to “get in shape,” commit to walking 20 minutes, three times a week.

  • Get your fitness tested. Testing pinpoints the area(s) you need to work on, such as your cardiovascular conditioning, strength, flexibility, or balance.

  • Keep a daily exercise diary. Record how far you walked, how hard you pushed, how many sets of shoulder exercises you did, and how you felt during your workout.

  • Work out with a buddy or join a club. You’ll gain more motivation — and fitness — than if you exercise alone. Just make sure your buddy is reliable and motivating. If you’re Internet-savvy, countless Web sites bring together like-minded fitness buffs to discuss their training, share tips, and talk through challenges. Search Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to find a group.

  • Pace yourself. Don’t do three hours of exercise or attempt to lift 250 pounds your first time out. You’ll burn out fast and may even get injured.

  • Train for an event. Nothing keeps you motivated to exercise like being on a mission, whether it’s to finish a 5k walk or 50-mile bike ride. The feeling of accomplishment you get from completing your event is like nothing else.

  • Dress the part. You don’t have to become a fitness gear junkie, but having the right clothing and equipment keeps you safe, makes you comfortable, and gets you fired up to work out.

  • Educate yourself. Keep up with exercise trends and techniques by reading Web sites, blogs, and books.