Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Create {and Decorate} your Own Fitness Plan for 2012

Think about the last exquisite masterpiece you created. It might have been a decorative batch of Christmas cookies, a watercolor painting, or a page for your family scrapbook. Regardless of what it was, it had a unique, irreplaceable element to it: you. Behind every beautiful creation is your beautiful, innovative mind.

Creating a fitness plan is no different than creating a quilt or a cake: it requires thoughtful planning, and the perfect combination of large and small details. Because there are a host of fitness fads, books, coaches, and philosophies, it may seem like an extensive, complicated process to build your own fitness plan. But remember: you are the master artist. Think of it like this: the grand plan is your canvas, and the tips listed below are your tools. Now create!

Organize your training plan into cycles. This allows you to see the large, overall picture of your plan as well as the small details. It also helps you understand the goals and purposes of each workout you do. I recommend purchasing one of those large-boxed desk calendars to map out your cycles and workouts.
Annual Plan (Macrocycle): The macrocyle is the big picture of your training plan. It begins when you start training and ends after the season is complete. Macrocyles typically last 6 months to 1 year. Pick a day to begin and end your training cycle.
Monthly Plan (Mesocycle): The mesocyle is a 4-6 week segment of your training. This allows you to divide your training into 4-6 week phases to help you safely and efficiently build fitness. Remember: your body is very intelligent! If you do the same elliptical workout 7-days-a-week and 365 days-per-year, your body will get bored and stop gaining fitness. Change up your routine every 4-6 weeks (i.e. intensity, workout type) to prevent plateauing.
Weekly Plan (Microcyle): A microcyle is a 1-10 day segment of training that integrates a well-rounded variety of workouts that build overall fitness. If you repeatedly neglect one component of exercise/fitness, you will increase your risk of injury and miss out on having well-rounded fitness

Energy Systems:
The body has a number of energy systems, but the two most important are the aerobic and anaerobic systems. By integrating both systems into your regimen, you will experience major fitness gains.

Aerobic: Aerobic (with oxygen) workouts are long in duration with low to moderate intensity. Aerobic workouts should be the bulk of your training. Among a plethora of benefits, aerobic exercise strengthens the muscles involved in respiration to facilitate the flow of air in and out of the lungs. It also increases the number of red blood cells in the body, burns fat, and reduces stress, depression, and risk for disease. Aerobic activities should be the bulk of your training regimen.
Suggestion: Incorporate one 90-minute aerobic workout (at an easy, conversational effort) into your routine once every 7-10 days (via running, walking, hiking, biking, or gym machines). On subsequent days, integrate 30-45 minutes of aerobic exercise at an easy to moderate effort.

Anaerobic: Anaerobic (without oxygen) workouts are typically shorter in duration and more intense. A separate set of energy systems are used during anaerobic exercise, which leads to greater strength, speed, power, and performance in short, high intensity activities. Anaerobic exercise is great for building fitness, burning calories, managing weight, and improving the body's ability to metabolize oxygen. Aim to integrate at least two anaerobic workouts into your regimen every 7-10 days. If you are strapped for time, a 15-30 minute high intensity workout will definitely get the job done.
Examples of workouts: 5-10 hill repeats, interval workouts (1-2 minutes hard, rest for 1-4 minutes), tempo workouts (10-20 minutes at harder, yet manageable effort). You can create your own anaerobic workout with virtually any type of exercise, just remember to shorten the time and increase the effort (non-conversational).

The Decorative Biomotors:
Research shows that sufficiency in the 5 biomotor components listed below are essential to high fitness. Aim to integrate all of the following decorations (so to speak) into your regimen. The amount of time you spend with each component will vary according to your goals.

Strength: weight training, body resistance exercises, yoga, pilates, kickboxing, hiking, hills
Speed: anaerobic workouts, short/high intensity workouts, intervals, hills
Endurance: anaerobic workouts, long/low intensity workouts, long runs/bikes
Flexibility: static stretching, dynamic stretching, yoga, pilates
Coordination: medicine ball routines, balancing exercises, agility training

Training Zones:
You cannot exercise too hard or too easy every day. You must incorporate a medley of efforts to yield the best results from your training. Simply stated, training is a repeated cycle of breakdown and recovery, breakdown and recovery, breakdown and recovery. Many people base their training efforts on heart rate zones or rate of perceived effort. Here is a great article to help you balance your efforts throughout your training. (It's a running article, but it's applicable for any type of exercise).

Bear in mind: this post is not designed for an aspiring Olympian; rather it’s written for the busy individual who wants create a reasonable, effective training schedule without wading through piles of research. You are the artist of every creation, design, and project you undertake-not only in the "hobby" realm of life, but in all realms: marriage, career, parenthood, and of course personal health. Make all facets of your life your masterpiece, and reap the infinite sense of fulfillment of being the creator of your own destiny.

What are your fitness goals for 2012?


Jennadesigns said...

Nice post! My fitness goals for 2012 include my first 10K in June, a half-marathon at the end of August, and a duathlon at the beginning of October. I'm just working on building my aerobic base, running/walking 30 minutes a day for 30 days ... then I'm going to step it up.

Allyson said...

My fitness goals are to be brave enough to leave my baby at the gym daycare so that I can RUN again! It's my sanity.

OR just keep running outside in 20 degree weather when daddy gets home.:)

PS: I'm more than proud of you for surviving the first month with a new baby (times FOUR!!) I'm still trying to figure out how I'll ever do this again! You're my hero!:)

TLN said...

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