Your program should be on going, suited to your needs, be demanding, and rewarding. Start by scheduling a regular exercise period. Exercising daily will yield good gains in strength, flexibility, and muscle tone. However, research shows that workouts every other day are more helpful when using resistive exercises. If possible, set a schedule that allows you to exercise every other day.
Don’t fall into the trap of making each exercise period too long. You’re more likely to find an excuse to skip a 30-minute period than a 10-minute period. Ten minutes of vigorous exercise every other day will visibly improve your fitness.
How to Choose the Right Exercises for You
A well-balanced program to keep fit should include exercises to improve your strength, endurance, and flexibility. The Track’s program system can assist you in all of these areas.
After reading through the entire list of exercises in the manual, decide on the benefits you want to receive and the exercises that provide them. You can enter these exercises in the spaces on the Exercise Progress Chart provided. This will be your personal exercise program.
Measure Your Progress
The Track’s program system is designed to help you set your goals and know at all times where you stand. The Exercise Progress Chart is your yardstick of physical fitness. You work hard for every bit of strength you gain. Don’t forget to record your progress.
After you finish each exercise, record the date, performance level, the number of repetitions, and the work units you performed.
General Training Tips
- Select the right entry level, whether you are an active or inactive sports enthusiast.
- Breathe in when the movement is towards the body; breathe out when the movement is away from the body.
- Too much training can cause muscle breakdown and loss. In general, you should never do the same or similar workout two days in a row.
- For best results when exercising, the poly cable should be pulled on a direct line from the exit box. Rubbing between the sides of the exit box will cause the poly cables to produce unwanted friction; and should be avoided.
- Copy sports skills as closely as you can in doing related exercises.
- The time span between your performance of one exercise and the next can affect your fitness gains. The shorter the time span, the greater your endurance gains will be.A longer rest duration (not more than one minute) will result in greater strength gains.
- Do not wear tight fitting clothing when exercising. Cotton shorts and t-shirts are best suited for warm weather. Polyester, acrylic, or cotton training suits are best suited for cooler weather.
- Diet is perhaps the most important part of a physical fitness improvement program. Space does not permit a nutrition course here, but in general, buy a nutrition book, cut out junk foods,and begin your exercise program along with a well-balanced diet. You are what you eat.
- There is not an “ideal” time to exercise. Do train when your energy level is high. However, do not exercise less than one hour prior to eating or two hours after eating.
- Good Form - and a slow pace - ensures that you achieve the full range of movement, which includes slowly and methodically returning the weight to the resting position. This is vital to exercising the whole muscle to achieve the balanced strength curve. Again, the point of weight training is to work the entire muscle - not just the belly of the muscle - through its full range of motion, both in the concentric (lifting or "positive)" phase and in the eccentric (lowering or "negative") phase, to exhaustion, which is when you can no longer do a repetition in good form.
- Using less weight, but going twice as slow as most people do, will enable you to sustain load throughout the entire arc of the movement, and it will exhaust your muscle much, much faster. This after all, is the point of the exercise. That, along with proper rest and recovery between workouts (and nutritional), allows optimal muscle growth.
- Apply the following rules throughout any good workout:
- Slow controlled movements - No bouncing or ballistic movements - No pain - Remember, it's not a competition