Fitness that's easy to follow

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 7, 2007

Q. I have been reading about all the New Year’s resolutions and I really want to change my lifestyle. Can you give me a step-by-step program that is easy to follow to get me started?

A. It will be my pleasure!

Understand that this will be a generic guide as I have not seen or spoken to you.

First of all, set your goals. Remember not to reach too high. You are better off to re-evaluate your goal every other month or so, change if needed, then to set it too high, get discouraged and quit!

Example: I want to lose 50 pounds.

Change this to: I want to lose 5 pounds.

One to two pounds per week is recommended, so technically you could lose 5 pounds in a month.

However, out of my experience as 24 years as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor, 5 pounds is sometimes really hard to lose — especially if that weight has been “sitting there” for a while.

Keep the 5 pounds as a goal but don’t put a deadline with it. Even when you aren’t (yet) losing weight but you are exercising, there are immediate health benefits you will experience: Feeling more energized, possibly lowering your blood pressure and resting heart rate, even lowering your cholesterol.

When we set goals here at the YMCA, I always include the mind and the spirit.

First step: Set two physical goals (examples: lose weight, exercise three times a week) two mental goals (examples: read a book, learn to work with Excel) and two spiritual goals (examples: have daily devotions, attend a Sunday school class)

Now, for the next 12 weeks, promise yourself that you are going to “stick with the program.”

(After 12 weeks of changing a behavior, it typically becomes a habit.)

When you set your exercise goal and you know you can only commit to three times a week, set it for three times a week!

Second step: Weigh yourself once a week, same day, same time, same outfit (nude preferred) Keep a record.

Third step: Start NOW! Tomorrow is always one day away!

Sample workout

Warm up 5 minutes on the treadmill or stationary bike.

Lightly stretch for about three minutes.

Do 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions of the following exercises:

Two chest exercises. Examples: bench press, incline d-bell press.

Two back exercises. Examples; Lat pull down, cable row.

Three leg exercises. Examples: Leg press, leg extensions, leg curls.

One shoulder exercise. Example: D-bell side lateral raises.

One biceps exercise. Example: Barbell curls.

One triceps exercise. Example: One-arm d-bell tricep kick backs.

One abdominal exercise. Example: Crunches.

One waist exercise. Example: Obliques.

If you have time left, go back to cardio. Remember, you can NOT spot reduce.

Stretch after work out.

If you want to work out five days a week, every other day lift weights and do some cardio. The other days, do all cardio.

Let me know how you did after your 12 weeks.

Contact Ester Burgess at 704-636-0111 or eburgess@