Preparation, planning, and practice are the real keys to success and they apply just as much to the gym of iron as they do to the gym of life.

Without goals we become victims of circumstance rather than victims of our achievements, and what better examples is there of architecture in action than shaping ur bodies using the tools in the gym?

Now that you have decided to take control of your physical body before you can develop your ideal programme you must first establish what you want and what you have to work with.

And you can do this by setting some time aside for a goal-setting workshop, and that means getting yourself a piece of paper and taking your time to write down the answers to some key questions.

First of all: What are your exact goals both long term and short term, i.e what do you want to accomplish this year and what do you want to accomplish this month – this week even?

What is your physiological makeup? In other words, what is your body type? Are muscle fibres prominently fast-twitch or slow-twitch?

Now, of course, you can get technical about this and head for the nearest sports sympathetic clinic and demand a muscle biopsy. On the other hand, a far simpler – and less expensive method is to check your physical responses to exercise.

If you recover rapidly on short rest interval sessions you are probably endowed with an abundance of slow-twitch fibres. However, if you are better at short, fast events your fast-twitch fibres are probably predominant.

Another test is to assess how you feel after strenuous exercise. People with more slow-twitch fibres tend to feel a general dull ache, while people with fast-twitch fibres usually experience specific and localized soreness.

Ask yourself- and be realistic – how much time you have at your disposal to devote to training. After all, there is no point whatsoever in setting the goal of becoming a champion triathlete if you can only spend half an hour a day training.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? You could answer this in terms of individual sports if you wished to base a training programme around involving actual performance with a view to competing.

On the other hand, you could apply this question to actual body parts, e.g. legs strong, arms weak, chest good, back needs work, etc. Those answers will serve as a rough guide to how you should design your workout programme. Now let’s get down to the basics.

First, you need to gain some knowledge after all ” knowledge is power” By searching for this info online you are already well on your way. There are also many books on the subject of training for both sports and shape.

Decide how complex ou wan your fitness programme to be. If you travel often, you don’t want to have an entirely machine-based programme because while you are away you may find it difficult to maintain.

Don’t fall into the traveler’s training trap of, “oh I’ll get back in shape when I return” becoming a stone overweight having consumed too many business lunches and dinners.

Oh, and another thing don’t rely solely on exercise classes, because if you cannot make it on time, you’ll find yourself skipping on workouts completely.

Have an alternative routine for those days when you can’t make your class.

Be willing to vary your routine. By changing your workout regularly, you use your nervous system in conjunction with many different muscles, which expands your overall neuromuscular coordination. Vary the types of exercises, the rest durations, the number of repetitions and the number of sets.

Finally, give yourself a pat on the back for making the decision to set fitness goals, and learn strategies, and then simply go for it!

One of the fastest ways to gain control over your life is to gain control over your body via fitness training.

Adopting a programme of healthy exercise and eating can give you great confidence and spur you on to actively participate in life rather than stand on the sidelines as a casual observer.

Many people reject exercise because they are not confident they can achieve their fitness goals – or they feel intimidated by fit and active people as a result of their own poor fitness levels.

These people are probably still running movies of their old school days in their minds with nightmare scenes of gym classes and getting picked last for the team, or being struck out on the first throw of rounders.

Although it is true that some people are more blessed with more athletic ability than others, we can all vastly improve our athleticism with proper instruction, persistence and dogged determination.

Important Points of Note If You Are New To Weight Training…

1. You will not build big muscles – unless you want to! Some athletes fail to reach their full potential because they live in fear of the weight room. Perhaps their sport, e.g. running long distances or taking part in triathlon events calls for the development of a lean functional physique.

These men and women are apprehensive about weight raining because they fear developing massive bodybuilding muscles overnight. – a very unlikely theory scenario that sits comfortably alongside the muscle turns into fat theory in sport mythology

Rest assured this will not happen if you follow the right training programme – unless you have a very high testosterone level or have already built up significant muscle mass with years of strength training.

2. Weight training has many supplementary benefits, one of which is its crossover effect on your nervous system. Motor neurons carry impulses that shock your muscle fibres into twitching, and neuromuscular coordination is an essential component of overall strength.

Put, simply, after the first three or four weeks of weight training you will probably experience a vast improvement in the ability of your nerves and muscles to relax and work together.

Its a bot like riding a bicycle – when you first begin to learn you are usually tense and concentrating totally on what seems like an extraordinary feat of balance and coordination.

However, as you probably know from experience, you soon become so adept at this new activity that the whole process becomes a totally subconscious response.

Acknowledgments – References 

Excerpts are taken from the excellent article – Back to Basics, written by Leigh Penman, FitBody Magaizine