Completing a four month fitness program will ensure you get in shape with lasting results. Setting plans, goals and workouts increases motivation for the consistency needed to stick out the four months. To challenge your body and keep interest levels high, your fitness plan should progress each month, varying in types of exercises, intensity levels and difficulty. Seek medical approval from a doctor prior to starting any new fitness or dietary program that could affect your health.
Plan to do cardio three to five times per week over the course of four months. Cardiovascular exercise is any activity that raises your heart rate over an extended period of time. It burns calories for weight loss for the entire body, including typical troubled zones such as the belly and thighs. The National Health Service (NHS) recommends that healthy adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Progress your cardio sessions from 30 to 60 minutes as you get more fit, and alter the type of activities you do to beat boredom.
Strength train two to three times per week as part of your four month fitness plan. Strength training increases muscle mass in the body which makes you stronger. Muscle also has a higher metabolic rate than fat which means you can burn more calories for weight loss even while at rest. Target all the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body including the arms, shoulders, chest, back, legs, butt and abs. Aim to do two exercises for each body part, completing 10 to 15 repetitions for two to three sets total.
Core training focuses on the core muscles including the abdominals, back, gluteals and hip flexors. Train these muscles for strength, stability and endurance every second day during your four months. A sample exercise circuit might include front planks, side planks, bridging, hip extension and leg lifts. Aim to do 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise for three sets in total.
Include flexibility exercises in your weekly workouts. Stretching exercises will keep your muscles long and limber as well as decrease the risk of injury. Always warm up muscles first as stretching cold muscles can lead to a pulled muscle, strain or even decreased athletic performance. Cool down after your workouts with a few stretches like quadriceps stretches for the legs. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat two to three times.
Jennifer Andrews specializes in writing about health, wellness and nutrition. Andrews has a Master of Science in physical therapy from the University of Alberta as well as a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. She teaches yoga and pilates and is a recent graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.