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By: Mike Murphy, Fitness Specialist 

   When I started writing my own programs for myself in college, I would go through the torturous process of deciding what I wanted to do and how I wanted to accomplish it. Spending hours pouring over meaningless numbers and percentages trying to find the perfect combination of exercises with the right rest time was a maddening event.

   When I finally created a program, I would proceed to follow it for a few weeks then get bored or believe I did a poor job designing and promptly scrap it to started anew. It was a vicious cycle that only resulted in a lot of stress and not getting any stronger. This was not a way to continue. If you have ever felt the same frustrations or have problems sticking to a program, here are some tips for you!

  • Mix it up! Each day does not need to be the same.  How I program for myself now is very open. For example: I know I want to do some back exercises on Tuesday but I give a few options and choose based on what I WANT to do that day. Be open to trying new pieces of equipment or exercises because it is fun and engaging!
  • Just try ANYTHING for a few weeks! Stick to a program as best you can. It takes time to see the impact of any exercise program and even if the result was not what you anticipated, you now understand your body better and can be more prepared next time.
  • If your program was designed for you by someone else, be vocal!  When training my own clients, I sound like a broken record when I discuss this tip. Remember that there is no such thing as too much information when you develop a program. I want to know EVERYTHING there is to know about your wellness journey. This also goes when you are in the program. Ask questions about why you are doing an exercise and reach out when you don’t understand something. The worst outcome is to not ask. The best is to learn something useful.
  • As a final tip: After completing a challenging program, take a break!  Wellness is not a fad and there are no shortcuts when it comes to improving your health. It is a lifestyle that if done properly will last our entire lives. I like to take time after a tough program to step away from the weights, pursue some other active activity, and reevaluate my goals before creating a new program. This is key to finding what is most important for you.