You know you should work out – and you may even have found a new activity you can’t wait to start, only to quit a few weeks later, sore and frustrated. Choosing the right workout is key – you want to find something that will not be too intense to start, but not so mellow you lose interest after a week.
Reggie O’Bryant, fitness director and certified personal trainer at Franklin Athletic Club, says that starting slow is key, though it can be very hard to do when you’re excited about a new workout. But here’s why it’s so important: Your muscles might not feel it right then, but if you push too hard you will find yourself in a lot of pain the next day. “After talking to someone, I can determine if they are pushing too hard and get them to pace it out,” he says. “I want to make sure they are listening to their body.”
Focusing on their ultimate goal is important as well, he says, whether it’s to get more flexible, run a race or lose weight.
Franklin Athletic Club offers a number of free classes for members as well as a free orientation to the fitness equipment, so members can step in and out of classes until they find what they really love to do. There’s a wide variety of classes and activities, so there are a lot of chances to find your perfect workout.
One workout O’Bryant would recommend to anyone is walking. It can seem unchallenging, but you can intensify the effect by adding in a light jog or hills. The risk of injury is very low and the reward can be very high.
Let’s say you try something and decide it just is not for you. If you’re planning on doing the activity a couple of times a week, give it two to three weeks before deciding; if you’re planning on doing it once a week, give it at least three or four, O’Bryant says. That way you know you’ve invested enough time to give it a real chance but you haven’t wasted time you could have been enjoying another activity.
Even if you’re super fit, O’Bryant says, it’s still important to switch up activities every month or so to avoid plateaus in your progress, or boredom that torpedoes your motivation. “You have to keep tricking your body into working harder,” he says.