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Rich Dafter

Avoid The 5 Reasons Fitness Plans Fail

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

On January 1 you were ready to take the world by storm! OK, so it was more like you were psyched to start the exercise program to end all exercise programs.

You scraped together the cash for a year membership at the local gym. You even bought top-of-the-line workout clothes.

Michael Stefano Heck, you even made it there a couple of times. But your motivation waned that very first week and it was all downhill from there. Fitness became an afterthought... something you pushed out of your head just as fast as it had sneaked in.

Seven weeks have passed and as you drive by the gym on your way to dinner at Dairy Queen you’re now overcome with guilt and a feeling of failure.

Just how did things go awry? Why didn’t you succeed in your fitness endeavors? And are you really going to wait until January 1 to get motivated again?

Well, you don’t have to because we've enlisted fitness pro Michael Stefano to get your rear in gear. Stefano, author of the best-selling "The Firefighter's Workout Book: The 30 Minute a Day Train-For-Life Program for Men and Women" (HarperCollins), isnt just one of Americas bravest -- hes also one of Americas fittest. The personal trainer -- and fire captain with the New York City Fire Department -- has documented the moments that make or break fitness goals.

The most common pitfall: too much, too fast.

"There are those people who get off to a running start with their fitness program," he tells efitness. "They are all pumped up with no place to go and they quickly find themselves stumbling."

Stefano says an effective fitness program is like a successful weight loss plan: slow and steady wins the race.

Firefighter's Workout Book The body makes incredible gains from a small amount of exercise as it gets used to it," he says. "Unfortunately, overzealous beginners start out doing too much and a month later theyre completely sick of exercising and quit. You need to spread enthusiasm out over a period of time.

“In January, everybody is psyched up and by the end of the month, they are sore and haven’t seen any results because they have been over-training. They quit and that’s the end of it.”

Stefano says there are five main reasons most fitness programs fail. See if you can relate to...

Reason #1: Failure To Identify Goals!
You cant expect to go anywhere fast if you dont know where youre going. There are simple solutions to this problem. Sit down with a pen and paper and list goals before you begin training. This will help you avoid spending hours at the gym doing the wrong exercises. Identify goals that point in the right direction instead of wasting time.

Reason #2: Lack Of Proper Instruction!
Weve all seen that gym rat wandering from station to station, month after month, looking as if he hasnt made any progress. You dont want to be that guy... or girl. Educate yourself. Use pre-tested exercise programs. Read a book or two. Get into some magazines. Learn something about working out so you dont go aimlessly from machine to machine and exercise to exercise.

Reason #3: Failure To Start Slowly!
There are those people who are overzealous at the start, but later their motivation diminishes. You need to spread your enthusiasm out so you start gradually. Rely on small pushes instead of big steps. Walk before you run. Then mix in a minute or two of jogging each time you walk. Gradually increase your jogging little by little. Before you know it, youll be jogging a half hour at a time. Tiny pushes are the way to avoid starting out too fast.

Reason #4: Lack Of Time To Devote To Exercise!
This is a hard one to overcome. Its really the failure to prioritize your workout above everything else. You need to take a closer look at how much time you really need. Yes, exercising four to five times a week for 30 minutes will get you big results, but you will also see some results by investing less time than that. Save the excuses for your boss, but be honest with yourself. Put together a set of basic equipment (dumbbells, bench, body weights) to eliminate the travel time of going to a gym. You dont need a lot of equipment to workout at home.

Reason #5: Poor Eating Habits!
You dont expect your car to respond to the wrong fuel, so how can you expect your body to respond to the wrong food? You should be following a meal plan with a strong nutritional balance. Failure to eat right when training intensely can result in the loss of muscle. The solution is following a healthy plan, like efitness. You should be reading labels and avoiding extreme diets. Stay in the middle of the road.

And with Stefano’s latest two-fold workout regimen, you’ll have just the guidance you need to get on the road to physical fitness... and stay there.

Workout 1 (Monday, Thursday): This activity needs to be repeated on a consistent basis (from 2 to 4 times weekly), and sustained for at least 15 to 20 minutes each time. By combining your aerobic exercise -- whether it be jogging, walking or riding a stationary bike -- with your ab routine, you can extend the length of time you actually spend in the target heart rate zone and consequently burn more fat in the process.

Go through your usual aerobic workout for 15 minutes, then immediately perform two sets of each of the following exercises, resting 30 seconds between each set, thereby extending the time spent in the target heart rate zone.

Bike Kicks
Bike Kick Lie on your back on a mat or padded carpet with the lower back pressed into the floor. Put your hands behind your head (but don't pull on the head). Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through the bicycle pedal motion. Touch your right elbow to your left knee and then left elbow to right knee. Continue to breathe naturally. Alternate opposite elbow to opposite knee in a slow and controlled manner. Do a set of 20. Rest 30 seconds. Do another set of 20. Rest 30 seconds. Move on to the crunch.

Crunch Lie on your back on a mat or padded carpet with your knees partially bent, feet flat on the floor, arms folded across your chest (as shown). Exhale as you press the lower back into the floor and raise your head, shoulders and chest off the floor, concentrating on bringing the ribs towards the hips. Pause briefly as you feel your abs tighten. Inhale as you slowly curl back down, trying not to let your head touch the floor, maintaining tension in the abdominals. Do a set of 20. Rest 30 seconds. Do another set of 20. Rest 30 seconds.

Workout 2 (Tuesday, Friday): This workout will not only tone, and build muscle, but will indirectly burn more fat due to increased lean muscle mass. It should take about 10 minutes. Perform two sets of the following exercises. Work to muscle fatigue on each set and rest approximately one minute, or until your heart and breathing rate return to normal, or near normal before repeating. It's a good idea to warm up before (five minute walk or stationary bike), as well as cool down, and stretch out after every workout.

Squat Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding your hands (or dumbbells) at your sides. Head is straight, natural arch maintained in your back. Inhale, swing the arms slightly forward for balance, bending at the knees and hips to a sitting position, thighs parallel to the floor. Your buttock doesnt drop below the level of your knees and knees do not extend beyond toes. Exhale, slowly rising to a standing position with knees and hips straight, allow hands to drop back to your sides. Repeat 20 times. Rest one minute. Repeat 20 times. Rest one minute and move on to push-up.

Push Up Lie face down on the floor or mat, hands on the floor, palms down, slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and toes curled under on the floor. Your back and legs are straight. Exhale as you slowly push your body away from the floor. Inhale, lowering yourself back down to the point where your chest barely touches or comes within a few inches of the floor. Repeat 20 times. Rest one minute. Repeat 20 times.

The goal of BODi is to provide you with solutions to reach your health and fitness goals. Click here to learn more about BODi Coach Rich Dafter.

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