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Reaching Fitness Goals

By on August 2, 2015
Screen Shot 2015 08 03 at 12.16.56 PM 300x336 - Reaching Fitness Goals

Stay injury free and motivated this summer. Make exercise a habit and train for life! Remember that setbacks will happen, so be prepared and don't let them derail your progress. Don't aim for perfection, instead aim to persevere!

Step 1: Prioritize Recovery
Exercise stresses the body. Exercise is only a positive stress if you give your body the ingredients it needs to recover.  Recovery is not just something you fit in if you have time. Get seven or more hours of sleep each night, be mindful of your nutrition and schedule time to stretch and use the foam roller. 

Step 2: Listen to Your Body
Don’t exercise through minor aches and pains. Too much training and too little recovery is a recipe for injury. That doesn't mean I think you should skip your workout and lie on your sofa. Listen to your body and take a break from high impact actives like running when needed, but find other ways to be active. Try water running or take a pilates class.

Step 3: Progress Gradually
If you haven't worked out all winter don't try to train at your 
pre-winter intensity. If you have never worked out, don't push yourself to exhaustion the first time out. Always progress gradually to let your cardiovascular system and your connective tissue adapt.

Step 4: Don't Just Do Cardio!
The repetitive nature of any cardiovascular activity is hard on the body; it stresses your joints, tendons and ligaments. Avoid injuries by strength training, training your core, stretching and using the foam roller. Cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart and is certainly important. All I am saying is, make sure cardiovascular conditioning is only one part of your training regimen and mix up your cardio workouts. Strength training will be an essential part of transforming the shape of your body.

Tips to Stay Motivated and Improve Fitness
1. Use My 10 Minute Rule
When you want to skip your workouts use my "10-minute rule". Make yourself do something for at least ten minutes. Usually, once you start moving you will just continue, but if you stop after ten minutes at least you have done something.

2. Have a Conversation with your Future Self
The next time you want to skip a workout talk yourself through how you will feel depending on the choice you make. For example, when I want to skip a workout I tell myself, “Yes, if I skip my workout I can relax, but I will be kicking myself the entire time. On the flip side, if I am active, even for 20 minutes, I will enjoy relaxing. Plus, I will feel great.” 

3. Mix up the type of cardio you do within the same workout.
When triathletes do two of their sports back to back they refer to it as "brick training". Try doing a few different cardio machines back to back. For example, do 10 minutes on the bike followed by five minutes of skipping. Repeat that cycle two or three times.

4: Interval training
Interval cardio training is when you alternate between bouts of high and low intensity training. Intervals are great because you can do them anywhere, and on any piece of equipment. Do them while swimming, on the bike, while running or even while dancing. They place a high metabolic demand on the body and burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Try this interval workout: warm up for 5-10 minutes. Then cycle through the following sequence: 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds recovery, 60 seconds hard, 60 seconds recovery, 90 seconds hard, 90 seconds recovery. Repeat 2-4 times. Cool down for five to ten minutes. If you are on the treadmill or you are running outside simply increase your speed. If you are on any other machine like the bike or elliptical, increase both your resistance level and your speed.

Kathleen Trotter, MS (Exercise Science), BA (Honours) is an ironman competitor, personal trainer and writer. She is passionate about fitness and health and trains a wide variety of clients ranging from the avid athlete to individuals living with osteoporosis, Parkinson’s and scoliosi. Visit:

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