Thinking woman looking on question and exclamation above on greyWhether you start with a personal trainer or just using your own knowledge, the beginning of a workout program should be slow. In the beginning you want to focus on form, balance, stability and posture.


You can move forward when you’ve mastered these things and are able to perform at least 30 minutes of steady state exercise at moderate intensity—try the talk test when you’re running for example; can you talk comfortably or only get a few words out. If you can get a few words out, think a short but complete sentence, and you can maintain that pace for 30 minutes you can move forward.


Now you can move on to adding weights, high-speed interval training and more. Here’s what you need to know about how to progress.


To Maintain


You do have to progress to get to the maintenance phase. The first part of this is accelerating your workouts in two ways:


  • Start working out more frequently – 4 or 5 days a week instead of 3.
  • Start working out for longer durations of time – 45 minutes instead of 30 minutes.


You can stay in the maintenance mode for the duration of your workouts from here on out. At this point you can start interval training on the treadmill to burn maximum calories and fat.


Start with intervals that hover at half of your max speed. You can progress to intervals at 75 percent of your max speed after you’ve mastered the easier ones first. You can also swap out intervals with steady-state cardio at about 60 to 70 percent of your max speed at this point.


With this training style you can prepare for a race, like a 10K or half-marathon, if that’s a goal of yours.


To Build


Fitness enthusiasts who need to build speed, agility and strength, such as competing cyclists, tennis players and Nordic skiers should consider working with a personal trainer who can be sure you’re progressing at a proper rate and getting necessary rest—your muscles are building during rest, not during exercise so it’s important you take ample time off between workouts.


ACE fitness professionals train these clients with the following parameters (along with weight training, depending on your goals.):


  • 70 to 80 percent of cardio workouts at pre-maintenance mode speeds, focusing on low speed, steady-state cardio and intervals
  • Less than 10 percent in your maintenance mode
  • 10 to 20 percent in your building mode


It’s recommended you work with a trainer at least once a week in the building phase to be sure you’re progressing and resting in the proper amounts.