30-Day Workout Programs
A consistent workout program can yield some impressive changes to your body in 30 days. You have formed a new healthy habit, dropped some weight, increased your strength and already started improving your health. All 30-day workout programs should address cardiovascular exercise, resistance training and flexibility. Over this period of time you may not reach all of your goals, but will be well on your way.
Huffing and Puffing
Cardiovascular exercise should be a major component of a 30-day workout program. At minimum you should be doing cardio three to five times per week for improved health, some fitness gains and moderate weight loss. You can do cardio five to seven days per week if you have significant weight to lose, and for increased fitness and health improvements. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes per session, and keep your intensity moderate to vigorous, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Try walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, a group fitness class or a new cardio machine at the gym.
Flex Your Guns
You don't need to train like a bodybuilder to see improvements in strength and muscle tone, according to the American Council on Exercise. Perform a full-body resistance-training workout two or three times each week on nonconsecutive days. Include one or two exercises each for your back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs, hips, thighs and calves. Start with one set of eight to 12 reps per exercise. You can do as many as three sets as you get stronger. As soon as you can do 12 reps, increase the weight by 5 to 10 percent.
Touch Your Toes
Flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion, and this component is often neglected in workout programs. If you don't stretch, it can lead to decreased range of motion, pain and even injury. Stretch at least two or three times each week, or after every workout to really see improvements. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds at the point where you feel a pulling sensation. If you feel pain, or your muscle is shaking, you are stretching too far. Perform one stretch for each muscle group, just like resistance training.
Have a Plan
Thirty days will yield changes, but be realistic. You may only lose four to eight pounds of actual body fat, assuming you also reduce your caloric intake, so if you have a significant amount of weight to lose you need to keep going. Your strength will improve, but you may not see a completely new, toned body. Any 30-day workout program is just a starting point. You want to carry on these healthy habits for life. Set goals for 30 days and beyond to keep yourself motivated. Every 30 days, change up your workouts so you don't get bored, and keep your body progressing.
- ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; American College of Sports Medicine
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; National Strength and Conditioning Association
- American Council on Exercise: Strength Training 101
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