Most experts recomment approximately 30 minutes of exercise daily (at least). If you can't fit exercise into your schedule every single day, try working out four days a week for about 50 minutes.
Determine your goals prior to starting your custom workout program. Your workout should be geared toward helping you reach those specific goals. And whether you are looking to lose weight, tone and slim, or add muscle, your workout should include both aerobic activity (like cardio) and strength training (such as lifting weights) in every session.
Do what you like. Summoning the energy to work out is hard enough, but the task will seem even more daunting if you just hate the workout program. For instance, if you don't like being yelled at, don't sign up for a boot camp program; the positive reinforcement atmosphere of a yoga class might be much more your speed. Think about the things you like to do, and more importantly, what you don't like to do. The good news is that ways to get out there and move your body are infinite, and you don't need an expensive gym membership to get a workout:
Get out there and discover something new!
Determine whether you like to exercise alone or if you need the social interaction of a group workout such as a tai chi class. Regardless, you should enlist a "workout buddy" to whom you will be accountable, and vice versa. Even if you don't work out together, you can support each other as you get closer to attaining your workout goals, and keep each other motivated along the way.
Tracking your progress is a crucial part of your custom workout plan. Before you begin your program, take measurements, weigh yourself and take a "before" picture. Re-measure yourself once a month, and weigh yourself once a week to see how far you've come, then evaluate your workout to see if you need to ramp up your game -- or if you can take a day off.
Don't make excuses! If you are running short on time, consider how you can "combine and conquer." Ask yourself how you might be able to incorporate your workout into another task. If you need to pick up some milk at the store, why not bike there? When a friend invites you to happy hour, ask her to join you for a hike instead. You'll save tons of calories and still get your friend fix.
Go ahead and splurge a little once you've seen some progress, but avoid using food as a reward. Get your nails done or buy some new workout shoes -- you probably need some by now!
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