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How to Avoid Becoming a Fitness Failure
By: Rick DeToma

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How to Avoid Becoming a Fitness Failure
©Rick DeToma

When it comes to fitness, no one likes being a failure, yet more than half of new exercisers quit their program within the first six months. With a little help you can ensure you're not one of them. Give these ideas a try as you begin your exercise program for the new year.

Set goals
If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? Setting short-term and long-term goals may increase your chance of success. Your goals must give a clear picture of the end-point to work towards. Use the SMART model, your goal should be Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Without these you’ll never know if you have achieved the goal. You can’t just say "lose weight or gain energy." Instead say, "I will lose 10 pounds in 12 weeks by doing strength training 3 times a week and cardio 3 times a week."

Go for variety
Whether you do a home workout or belong to a gym, build your routine on cross-training to keep things fresh and interesting, and keep yourself from developing an injury. Frequently vary the order of your exercises and mix in dumbbells, barbells, resistance tubing, machine or body weight exercises. Don't be afraid to take a class.

Track your progress
Write down your measurements and weight at the beginning of your program. Keep a workout log and use it. Seeing results is a great motivator. At least once a month, re-measure and review your log to see advances in your aerobic fitness, strength, flexibility and body composition.

Seek out support
A workout partner with similar goals and a positive attitude can make your workout more fun. knowing you are accountable to another person can be a great motivator too. So can working with a certified personal trainer.

Devise a backup plan
Time and access are the largest obstacles to fitness, and even devoted exercisers experience lapses. Don't use these as excuses to avoid exercise. Having some portable home workout gear like a stability ball, resistance tubing, jump rope, and dumbbells, will allow you to work out while traveling, at home or even at work. With limited time, focus on compound movements for the largest muscle groups and superset 2 for opposing muscle groups. A brief but intense workout can be accomplished in a few minutes.

Just do it
While pumping iron may not be right for everyone, the idea being active is. Find something you enjoy doing that elevates your heart rate and challenges you most days of the week. Also pay attention to how you feel. If you are like most people in as little as three weeks you will find yourself sleeping better and feeling more rested.

The information contained in this article is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to provide medical advice. If you are sedentary or over 40 please get clearance from a doctor before starting an exercise program.

About the Author

Rick DeToma is a fitness coach, and trainer
who specializes in home workouts. Contact Rick for a no
obligation telephone fitness assessment at:

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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