If your budget or your schedule won't allow you to hire a personal trainer, you can still start an exercise program on your own. A personal trainer offers support and motivation, but he also provides an effective exercise program and teaches you proper form. Printable exercise routines are available online. Review the ones you're interested in, judging them on whether they supply the same info you'd get from a trainer.
Incorporate All the Elements
The fundamentals of an effective fitness program are aerobic exercise and strength training. Typically the two will be found in separate printable routines, but you can work many routines as a circuit to get your cardio workout at the same time as your resistance workout. One workout that can easily be done as a circuit is a resistance band workout. Since you'll only be using one piece of equipment -- the band -- you'll be able to move quickly from one exercise to the next with little or no rest in between. The constant movement will get your heart rate up and keep it there for the duration of your workout.
Include Illustrated Instructions
Your exercise routine should explain in writing how your workout will progress, such as which exercises you'll do, in what order and how many sets and reps. A printable routine is more effective, though, if it includes pictures of the moves. If you have an image of the exercises you're supposed to do, you'll be able to execute them properly while maintaining proper form. Some prepared exercise routines have just one picture of the exercises it prescribes, but you'll find the ones that have two or more pictures are even more useful.
The best exercise routines are complete and take you from the very beginning to the very end. That means you should make sure that the one you print out includes stretching, warming up and cooling down. The American Council on Exercise says that proper stretching is only a mild stretch, not one that causes discomfort or pain, and should be held for 15 to 30 seconds. You shouldn't stretch your muscles before they're warmed up, though, so look for printable routines that place stretching after your warm-up or save them for the cool-down portion of the practice.
Finding Printable Routines
To locate printable exercise routines, start with websites that offer the type of routine you're interested in. For instance, runners will find useful routines and training guides on CoolRunning.com and other running websites. Yoga enthusiasts can visit a yoga website such as "Yoga Journal." All-inclusive programs that incorporate body-weight exercises with plyometrics and yoga poses can be found on the American Council on Exercise's website.
- American Council on Exercise: Three Things Every Exercise Program Should Have
- Helpguide.org: Designing Your Fitness Plan
- Yoga Journal: Poses
- Military.com: Stuck Inside? Indoor Workout Ideas
- Fitness: Training Guide: Running a Half-Marathon
- American Council on Exercise: Kickstart Workout Guide, Phase I
- American Council on Exercise: Whole-Body Exercise Band Workout
- Cool Running: Training Plans