Fitness Level 1
Individuals at Fitness Level 1 have not regularly participated in a strength training program and should begin slowly. The following is only a guideline, you should consult your physician prior to beginning any new exercise program! If you are not familiar with resistance work and have purchased hand weights, tubing, bands etc... purchase a video that shows the proper technique and form to use - NEVER try an exercise without knowing the correct way to perform it. Form is critical. It is also important that you find the appropriate resistance (work load) to use when training. In general, use enough resistance to fatigue your muscles when you have completed the appropriate number of repetitions within a set. If you cannot complete all the repetitions within a set, decrease the amount of resistance.
- Never sacrifice form to get the last repetition in
if you do this, you will get injured at some point in time.
- Always make sure the last repetition is as pretty as the first.
Most experts in the field recommend beginning with 3 times per week, 20 minutes per session. You should try to work all the major muscle groups of the body and rest at least 24 hours between training sessions (this will give your muscles a chance to recover). Try to complete 1 set of 15-20 repetitions. In addition to resistance work, you should also incorporate aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise and flexibility (stretching) exercises into your workout
- To really see results, you must decrease your body fat.
Many people confuse body fat with obesity. Body fat is the percentage of fat that you store in your body as opposed to lean muscle mass. There are very thin people who have too much body fat because they do not exercise. There are also average to above average sized people who have very little body fat and are all muscle. At this fitness level, if you exercise aerobically 3 times per week for at least 20 minutes, you will see more results from your strength training.
Aerobic exercise is any activity that increases your heartrate into the target zone at a pace that you can sustain for at least 20 minutes. Aerobic activities include: jogging, speed walking, bicycling, aerobic classes, swimming, in-line skating etc...)
In addition to aerobic exercise, you should also do some form of stretching. Not only will stretching relieve muscle aches/pains, it will also reduce your chance of injuring muscles. (It actually helps serious body builders lift more weight because their muscles aren’t tight). It is a good idea to stretch 5 minutes before you start exercising and 5 minutes after you are done. If you are just going to do resistance work, try to warm up your muscles prior to stretching (5 minutes is sufficient). You can use an exercise bike, march in place, jog, etc...
Mark sure you stretch all the major muscle groups such as: Quadriceps (front of the upper thigh), Hamstrings (back of the upper thigh), Calves (Gastrocnemius(upper) and Soleus(lower)), Gluteus Maximus, Shoulders/Chest and Arms. When stretching, try to hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds. If you begin this program and stick with it, you’ll notice that it isn’t hard enough for you. If you don’t feel challenged anymore, you are ready for Fitness Level 2. Good luck and happy exercising!!