How To Get Started With Your Training - Parts 1 - 3

Part 1

In any activity, half the battle to reaching your goal is to simply get started. Whether it’s right or wrong, just get started. When you are first starting an exercise program you need to begin with a few basic exercises and then progress from there.

But, before you can even start a program, you need to have goals and a plan to reach these goals in place. First, you need to write out your goals on paper. When you do this, you need to be very specific with these goals. If you just want to “improve my fitness” that is not specific, and it will be a difficult goal to measure. “Lift 20% more weight in the squat by January” is a much more specific goal.

There can also be short and long term goals. You can break it down by days, weeks, months, and years. But, be specific when you write these to insure that you are capable of measuring and reaching them by certain time.

Once you have goals, you should now choose activities to address these goals. What will help you reach these goals? Be specific in choosing activities that will help you reach them. If you’re not sure, then you need to do some research to find out what will get you there. If you need to, then invest some money in training books, videos, DVDs, seminars, or clinics that will provide you with the information that you need.

Once you have the information that you need, then create a plan to get you started on the road to success. Write down what exercises you will do, how often, how many sets and reps, equipment needed, etc. Be specific with your plan and make sure that you follow it. Also, your plan should be created with your specific goals in mind such as increasing strength or endurance, improving flexibility, increasing muscular endurance, creating quicker reflexes or hand-eye coordination, better overall fitness, etc.

Once your plan is established, get started and be consistent with your workouts. Yes, you will get sore, tired, sick, etc., but don’t let those things sidetrack you and keep you from working out. You have to be persistent with your workouts, even when you don’t feel like it.

That is the good part about establishing a home training program. Because you can work out at home, you eliminate excuses such as having to drive to the gym, or it’s raining, or my partner didn’t show up, etc. You have to depend on yourself and your internal motivation to sustain yourself through these days. But, you have to realize that reaching your goals is not always an easy road.

Remember, getting started can be difficult, but, once you establish good, consistent habits of working out, then it will become a part of your lifestyle which will help you reach your goals. So remember:

- Establish goals – both short and long term

- Research the best methods/training programs/exercises to reach your fitness goals

- Make a plan and stick to it

- Get started

- Be consistent with your program until it becomes a part of your lifestyle

Follow these steps to help you get your training program started, and you will be on your way to improved health and fitness. Following these steps will also help you to become successful in other aspects of your life such as school, business, making money, etc.

Part 2

As previously mentioned, one of the most difficult things to do with any activity is to simply get started. Starting a training program is the same way. Exercising and working out is not always the most fun activity for many people, but it is necessary if you want to improve your fitness or train to become a better athlete.

Once you decide to start training, you need to determine what exercises you need to do to benefit you the most. For beginners I always recommend starting with simple bodyweight exercises to gain strength and endurance before moving on to more complicated exercises or weight lifting programs.

I am a big believer in the effectiveness of bodyweight exercises. I use them quite extensively in my own training, and I feel that they will benefit all athletes who use the proper ones with good form. In fact, most athletes that I have introduced these to are amazed at the difficulty and effectiveness of these exercises – even those who train with weights on a regular basis.

Some of the best ones to start with are simple pushups, squats, situps, and pullups. There are many variations of these exercises, but beginners can start with the simple versions before increasing the difficulty with different forms of these exercises. In the beginning, the athlete should start with sets of 5-10 repetitions of each exercise for 3-4 sets for a few workouts before increasing the volume and intensity.

It is advisable to start slowly with any exercise program, especially if you are a beginner or you haven’t exercised in awhile. You will be sore after exercising, and you also don’t want to risk injury if you do too much too soon. Of course, these are common sense instructions, but many athletes tend to get excited in the beginning and end up doing too much. It is better to be safe than sorry. Start conservatively before increasing the intensity.

As you progress in your training, then you will want to add different / more exercises and increase the intensity as your body adapts to the training. There are variations of the previously mentioned exercises as well as other exercises that you can do with a little equipment at your own home. In Part 3 of this series, I will talk about inexpensive (and free) equipment that you can use in developing your own home training program.

Part 3

The past two parts of this article series, I have discussed planning, motivation, and some basic exercises. In part 3, I will give you some ideas on equipment that you can use in setting up your own home gym and training program.

Some of these items can be found for little or no cost. Some can be made or you may already have them available. With some imagination and creativity you can set up your own gym or workout area with a small investment. All of these are described in detail (with photos) in Motocross Fitness, but I will briefly mention them here to give you some ideas.

First, I will recommend that you buy and install a pullup bar in your home, garage, or backyard. These can range in price from approximately $10 up to $100 for a heavy duty version that bolts onto the wall. Of course, this will be used for a variety of pullups, but there are also other exercises that can be done using a pullup bar (see Motocross Fitness).

Another useful training tool is a stability or Swiss ball which can be utilized for a variety of exercises. These balls are fairly inexpensive - $15 to $35 - and they can be used for a large number of exercises that will develop the core muscles, small stabilizing muscles, flexibility, and balance. When you purchase one, it should include an exercise guide to help you get started. Even though they look more like a toy than a training tool, stability balls can provide an effective means of training that will supplement your other exercises.

A third piece of equipment that you can add to your home gym is sandbags. The use of sandbags has been discussed in previous newsletters and in Motocross Fitness. I’m not sure of the exact price (probably not much), but you can find them at your local building supplies store. You could also buy the sand there if you don’t have another source for sand. You simply fill them with sand to the desired weight and you can use them for many different exercises. You can use two at a time, much like dumbbells, or use one larger one for other exercises.

Another trick you can use is to put several smaller ones in a large duffel bag for presses, rows, bear hug walks, etc. Exercises using sandbags are also great training for the fingers, hands, wrists, and forearm muscles, which are essential for motocross racers.

For more aerobic type of conditioning, a simple jump rope (inexpensive) will add quite a bit to your conditioning and coordination. Ten to twenty minutes of jumping rope is a great workout for your breathing, shoulders, arms, legs, balance, and coordination. Try three or four jump rope workouts a week and you will see some great results.

There are several other pieces of equipment that you can use for different types of training (some for free). In part 4 of this series, I will continue this discussion on equipment, and then will move on to more information about exercises and training intensity.