Just to make the initiation a little easier, here are some of the items I do to prep for starting a new program:
THINK ABOUT MY SCHEDULE: When am I going to commit to this program each day? The workouts are 30-45 minutes long, but I will need to set aside an hour. Before the kids get up? Lunch? After dinner? Do I want the kids to be a part of it so they can join in or is this going to be me time? When will this time be most protected and have the best chance of getting done each day? When do I have the most energy so I can get the most out of my workouts? Finally, if I happen to miss my scheduled workout time, when is my backup time?
DECIDE ON MY FOOD PLAN: I like to set some personal ground rules. For example, I may choose to go gluten free or cut out sugar. Sometimes it's as simple as eating healthy and giving myself the weekend off. Will I commit to Shakeology or Phood (my two favorite protein shakes) or will I make eggs and oatmeal? Will I eat before or after my workout? What healthy snacks will I be sure to keep on hand?
CHECK IN WITH MY BODY: Am I recovering from an injury? Do I feel weak or strong right now? Do I need to give myself permission to do the modifier (easier workout) for awhile to make sure I stay injury free? Sometimes coming out of the gate too strong ends in injury and I've had to stop in the middle of a program. To avoid this, I try to mentally prepare to not feel like I have to keep up. It is ok to take my time to work into a program in either intensity or duration and then build from there as I feel stronger.
SET MY GOAL FOR THE PROGRAM: This particular program is 8 weeks. What goals are realistic? How will I measure them to know if I was successful at the end. For some this is weight, for others it is the way clothes fit. Mine often includes how I feel. Can I do a push up and feel strong? Have I improved in my ability to do the workouts? Another great indicator of wellness and disease prevention is waist circumference and this is an easy one to measure. Keep in mind that average weight loss from working out and eating well is typically 1-2 pounds per week, but sometimes you won't even see that much if you are putting on muscle. If you are over 40, putting on muscle is KEY for long term weight maintenance. Weight can be a good goal, but I recommend coupling it with other goals so you can get a realistic picture of your improvements.