Challenge Yourself—for Life!

Photo of a woman doing yoga.

 

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D.
With research help from exercise scientist Michelle Kennedy, M.S.

If you’ve gone through this eight-week program, give yourself a very big hand! I’m sure you’ve seen significant changes in endurance and strength, and maybe even to your body. Even if you haven’t lost weight, you probably look more toned and defined.

 

Don’t stop now! Instead, make your exercise routine, well, less routine by trying different types of exercises. Some suggestions:

 

Cardio switch-up. When you switch from one form of cardio to another, you’ll immediately see why this is an important move. It’s as though you’re working out very different muscles, even if you’re just going from treadmill to bike. And don’t be surprised if you have to start off at a lower level of resistance. For instance, if you were up to an incline of “5” on the treadmill, you might not be able to maintain that level on a bike.

 

If you go to the gym, spend your next gym session trying out different types of machines. If you don’t belong to a gym, try jump rope, hiking, outdoor biking, swimming, and others. Decide which one you’d like to tackle over the next eight weeks. After you’ve gotten the hang of the new exercise, you can intersperse it with the old every once in awhile.

 

Day one, log your minutes and level (or resistance, or incline). Eight weeks later, log again and see how you’ve progressed.

 

By this point, everyone should be working out at least five days a week. (Beginners, you’ve now become “Everyone else”!) And continue working out at a moderate and/or high intensity. With your new exercise, you might not be able to rack up quite as many minutes as with the old exercise, but keep working up to that amount (or more). Also, continue walking on days you don’t do other types of workouts.

 

New strength moves. You still want to work out the upper and lower body and your core, but for the next eight weeks, perform different moves. For instance, instead of squats, do lunges. You may have to decrease weights or reps at first as your muscles adjust, but eventually, you’ll get to where you were at the end of week eight.

 

Consult your health care provider to determine a safe level of exercise for you.

 

Next: The 8-Week (and Beyond) Plan

 

More from this series:

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