I hope you are well on your way to getting in the best shape of your life! But if you’re not – don’t give up. You CAN DO THIS!

Last month I talked about “know where you’re at.” Be real about what your real-life situation is, so you can make fitness plans that are sustainable. Also, take some assessments so you have something to measure progress against.

This month I have two points for you: 1) Have a plan; 2) Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No!

Have a Plan

If you have a plan for your exercise time, you are way more likely to a) want to go, and b) to go.

Grab a calendar and write as detailed as you can tolerate. (Some people like this more than others.) For example: Monday: resistance training. Tuesday: Walk 20 minutes. Wednesday: resistance training. Thursday: off. Friday: Group exercise. Saturday: Get outside rain or shine. Sunday: Off.

If you like detail, note your specific exercises and repetition ranges and set ranges. Note where you’re going to walk. Note the intensity levels you’ll be aiming for. You can also be specific about what your focus is. I always say “100 percent and nothing less!” That is 100 percent toward the goal that you have set for the day.

For example, if you’re doing a yoga class, give 100 percent toward whatever your goal is for that class. Is it breathing? Is it strengthening? Is it range of motion training?

This leads me to my next point about having a plan: There is a difference between training for endurance, training for muscle size, training for strength, and training for power. We need all of them. All of them have different protocols. And they should be cyclical. You should not camp out at any one stage for too long.

In your plan, train for endurance, then muscle, then strength, then power. This keeps you from injury. And, almost as importantly, keeps you from getting (yawn) bored.

Knowing what each of these phases entails means you get to go 100 percent toward that goal. An easy enough goal to set and reach. And so, a great motivational technique.

Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No!

If you say you are going to get up and exercise, GET UP AND EXERCISE! Have a zero tolerance level with yourself (at least 80 percent of the time — wink, wink).

If you want to change your health and wellness level, be good for your word. Make the tough choices to stick with the plan. Once you start skipping workouts, that becomes your normal. Make exercise your normal day.

On that note, however, a Plan B is absolutely essential. I’ll talk about that next time.

Andrea Bowden has been a certified fitness professional for more than 35 years. She owns Next Level Fitness Training: Athletic Training for Adults. She is the head coach of the Umpqua Community College Obstacle Course Racing Team. She can be reached at www.IAmNextLevelFit.com

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