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Get Fit Installment #5: The Right Workout

Posted Oct 22, 2013

For those who have joined the UnitedHealthcare Get Fit! initiative, Buccaneers Cheerleader Karen, a certified personal trainer, offers advice on the different types of workout approaches one can choose

[Editor's Note: Karen, a veteran on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders squad is part of a rotating panel of Buccaneer experts who will be providing advice all season to those who have taken the UnitedHealthcare Get Fit! Pledge. Karen has been working as a personal trainer at Vibe Fit Club for the past year since receiving her certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  Before that, she was working as a group fitness instructor in a class setting.  In the fifth of our weekly installments, Karen discusses the different types of options for a new workout regimen and ways to make each one work.]

Since taking the UnitedHealthcare Get Fit! pledge, you may have started your own workout program, or perhaps you are still deciding what is the best option for you in your efforts to get in shape.  I know you've already received some great advice from the experts at One Buc Place, so I thought I could help you find the best option for a program that will work for you and that you can ultimately enjoy.  You may choose to work out alone, to work out in a group setting or even to get a personal trainer, and all of those options are good ones if you approach them in the right way.

-- Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleader Karen is a certified personal trainer
A lot of people like to join a gym when their starting a workout program.  If you want to go the solo route first, just finding a $10-a-month gym and signing up, that works perfectly well for many people.  A lot of people have to go this route because their schedules won't allow them to do anything else – maybe they work unusual hours or have children and other time-consuming responsibilities.  This is a great option, but I'm going to have to repeat what the guys before me have said: You need to have a plan and you need to stick to it.

Fortunately, this isn't as hard as it sounds.  There are a lot of apps out there that you can download to your phone that will allow you to follow a good program.  There's an app called "Jefit" that I would recommend if you want to follow along with a variety of workout routines.  Once you're in the gym, just open up the Jefit app and you'll find routines that you can easily follow, or you can even pick a particular body part that you want to work out on a certain day.  Just click on that body part and it will give you a routine – it will give you a form and show you what exactly you're working as you're working it.  This is the method I would recommend to somebody who just wants to go to the gym whenever it works into their schedule.

Along the same lines, if you don't plan to use a gym but would prefer to run or bike outside, I would recommend an app called "MapMyRun."  This app will clock your miles, it will clock the calories that you burn, and it also has a nutrition application if you want to track your diet.

Apps like these can help you maximize your time in the gym or out on the trail.  So many people go into the gym for an hour and, in the end, don't accomplish very much. Then, when the results aren't there, they end up not using their gym membership after a while.  The problem is that people go into the gym and aren't sure what they are doing, and they don't have a plan.  Having a plan is key to making a workout program work.

Now, obviously, following a specific workout program is easier if you are in a group setting, or working with a personal trainer.  I know this isn't an option for everyone, but if you're looking to get some help, there are some great ways to go.  One option that is very popular right now that I would recommend is Crossfit.  There are a lot of different group workouts out there, and they're gaining popularity because there is real value in the "group effect."  There are a couple benefits to working out in a group.  One, it's going to appeal to your competitiveness and you're going to try a little harder.  And two, you have that camaraderie where everybody is working towards a common goal, and the energy can be infectious.

If you're going to choose a program like Crossfit, be aware of what you're getting into because how appropriate it is for a beginner can depend upon the gym.  Some places have proper personal trainers who will start novices at a lower level and work on things such as balance and stability before moving up to bigger weights.  You want to find a place that is willing to start you at whatever level is right for you.

Also, be cautious when you go into a group setting because you are not necessarily going to get the kind of individual attention that will help you maintain the proper form in your workouts.  This means that you're going to have to pay extra attention to make sure your form is correct.

If you do have the time and the motivation to hire a personal trainer, I would definitely recommend that option…and not because I happen to be a trainer!  If I had the time right now, I would work with a trainer, even though I am one myself.  I think personal training is good for everyone, from the basic student to the professional athlete.  I know that when I work out alone and I start to get fatigued, my form and my effort can slip.  If I have a personal trainer, they're going to be watching me every step of the way and they're going to be pushing me to make sure I get the most out of my workout.  In addition, a personal trainer can design a program that is tailored very specifically to your needs and any limitations you might have. The trainer can make sure you get the best results possible in the shortest amount of time.

No matter what option you choose, from running alone to getting a personal trainer, the most important thing is that you create a routine that you enjoy and stick with it.  You have to be in it for the long run, and you have to make it something that you're not dreading.  You have to be in it for life.  You need to make it a habit, like brushing your teeth.

Whatever option you choose, I wish you the best of luck in meeting your goals.

- Karen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleader