How to Pick the Right Workout Plan for You

With my 24th birthday come and gone, I was struggling how to address my thoughts on growing older and my never-ending search for stability.

So I thought I’d talk about the early birthday present I gave myself almost two months ago when I signed up for online personal training with Tara.

After feeling less than perfect in my skin the last 2 years, I really wanted to enter into my 24th year feeling like the old, early 20’s Mel: beautiful, optimistic, fun, confident. And smaller.

My 21st birthday.

I am sooo proud to say that from May 15 to June 21, I followed a personalized plan designed to challenge my body in ways I have never imagined. Tara designed a nutrition and 5 day-a-week workout plan and it PAID OFF!!

On my 24th birthday, I felt like I was back in my own skin. The fun, sassy and confident Mel celebrated with a pole dancing workout class with 11 girl friends, effortlessly lifting herself up and around the pole, oozing with strength, void of self-consciousness.

Vegas with the girls, the day after finishing Week 6 and the program.

You’ll hear it over and over: Being dedicated to a plan will yield results

But in my experience, it can be very difficult to find a plan that makes you want to stick with it the whole way. Whether results don’t come fast enough, the work becomes monotonous or not challenging enough or too challenging or there is no support or you get interested in another sport or goal – the right program is different for everyone!

Before signing up with Tara, I was pondering 4 different types of programs: an online bootcamp, an in-person bootcamp, various online personal trainers and a free online follow-as-you-go program. I’ve been known to weigh the pros and cons of options for days, so I’m really glad I didn’t dally and choose Tara. The way I feel and the way I look says it all. Finding the right program WORKS.

Since finishing my 6 week plan, I took a few weeks to workout with an awesome personal trainer at my gym who pushed me to my limits, made sure my form was correct and gave me confidence in my strength. Now I’m rearing to go for my next 6 week plan with Tara!

Having gone through this process, I can affirmatively state there is a fitness resource out there for everyone! Answering the following questions should help you evaulate your needs to guarantee a program or trainer is right for you.

How to Pick the Right Workout Plan for You

  1. What are your goals?

    Goals can include fat loss, muscle growth, “losing weight and looking toned,” adopting a healthier lifestyle, competing in a race, or looking good for a wedding, vacation or event.

    Mine was to look good for my Vegas vacation and 24th birthday by losing fat and adding muscle. Knowing there were only a few weeks until I’d be in a swimsuit next to my beautiful friends was a constant reminder to stay on track.

  2. How much can you afford to spend?

    You’ll find a variety of costs when it comes to online personal trainers, in-person trainers, boot camps, online programs, etc. Depending on the resources available, pick what’s right for you. For an online trainer, plans vary around $7 – 10 dollars a week. A 4 to 6 week training plan is usually around $50. Bootcamps – depending on the included resources – can range from $25 to $150.

  3. How much support do you need?

    Online personal trainers will usually be accessible to you by email and sometimes by skype for any questions, checkins or adjustments. Online (and gym!) boot camps fuel persistance by having fellow members cheer each other on. Free “get fit” plans require self-motivation.

    As I mentioned, when I signed up I wanted something that would be tailored to my needs so I was looking for some support in case I had any questions or needed any adjustments. I think the group support is one reason I would love to try a boot camp one day. Tara was awesome about sending me updated nutrition plans when I had a very late or very early morning workout.

  4. What is the relationship you want with your trainer or group?

    This may be more important to some than others. I know some people like the think of their trainer as a service-provider or someone who fulfills a professional need, while others want someone tough and strict, and others look for their trainer to become a very, very close friend.

    What was very important to me is my trainer supports my goals. I wanted a trainer who would support my desire to lift weights, would allow me to get protein in non-animal forms sometimes and would let me have the occasional treat. I went with Tara because we seemed to agree on all points so I trusted her with devising a plan just for me.

  5. How do you like to work out? What works best?

    The personal trainer is a fitness professional who should be trusted to devise a plan that will kick your butt and knock you out of your comfort zones into some new territories. But every trainer will ask you a bit about your likes and dislikes so you will be content with the plan. It’s important to find a plan that will cater towards your loves, whether that means you get to take your favorite spin class twice a week or split your strength training by certain body parts.

    I knew my body responded best to lifting weights but my plan kicked me out of my comfort zone by taking me to new machines and exercises. I also knew that because I care about adding muscle as much as I care about losing fat, I would not do well on a program where stepping on a scale every day is encouraged. Something like Weight Watchers where calorie counting and weigh-ins are part of the program isn’t as right for me.

  6. How much time can you dedicate to this plan?

    It is important to know both how long you’d like to be on a plan – whether it’s one month, 6 weeks, three months or longer (very usual durations) – and how much you can dedicate each week to the plan – a certain amount of hours or days a week – an hour four times a week perhaps.

    Because I was looking for some intensive results in a 6 week time frame, I trained 5 days-a-week.

  7. What are the trainer or program’s credentials?

    Most importantly, how can you be sure to trust this individual with your fitness and health?  Look up reviews and blogs by previous participants who discuss their experience. Locate the trainer’s professional certifications and read their blog, website or brochure to see their viewpoints and background. Make sure you feel comfortable in their qualifications and are sure they’ll support your goals.

    I read reviews before trying Live Fit Trainer; I looked for blogs of participants in various boot camps; I did a trial fitness assessment with my gym trainer and I sent Tara an information request before signing up with her. I found the proof I needed…and now I’m just another example of a success story.

To all the personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts out there, is there anything else a client should consider? How do you create the perfect match of trainer/program and client?

The Story I Haven’t Told You

Once upon a time I started this blog.

Then, in one of my first posts, I imagined my perfect relationship and opened up the universe to giving me some test drives.

Then I planned a trip to Las Vegas for a convention with 1200 other young Jewish professionals.

Then I took a hiatus from blogging.

But what you never got to see during that month long break were  my sudden influx of constant day-long texts, my new 3-hour phone calls despite a 2-hour time difference, my gossiping with friends over the a whirlwind in my life.

You never saw the dare of a trip I took in April, flown half-way across the country to Los Angeles, to spend 3.5 days with some friends and a guy I’d only met for 17 hours.

Because in Vegas of all places – a city with the tag-line “What Happens Here, Stays Here” – I met a guy. Who I felt an instant connection with. Who wanted to know me better, too.

And during my Staycation last month, when a “friend” was in town for job interviews. I may only have alluded to the datecation in place.

But I never told you the full story. So for that, I’m sorry.

The thing about a blog, though, is – as obvious as it sounds – putting something on the internet makes it public! For everyone to know about!

While our story is no doubt pretty cute and crazy, there’s still a lot of it left to write.

After all, there’s the distance. Our personal histories. An age difference. “Figuring life out” left to do. More getting-to-know to be done. The feeling of not quite wanting to stop life as it is. The people in our life who don’t about it yet. Us not knowing what it is yet.

And the fact that  I’m still very much Young, Wild and Free.

But just because something isn’t serious, doesn’t mean it can’t be really fun!  I believe things are meant to happen and for now, I’m just chilling on the rollercoaster waiting to see what’s next. Knowing that there’s a lot of adventures headed this way..

And this time, I’ll try to clue you in on it, too!

Anyway, LA Boy is back in town! One of his interviews panned into a new gig with a permanent position in LA, but frequent visits and meetings at the headquarters in Chi.

We are both juggling busy work schedules, obligations and a commute (wait, that’s just me) but I’m not going to complain against a few more days in person figuring out the story.

That means Tuesday I prepped my work lunches in advance for one less thing to worry about while he’s here.

For Tuesday – Thursday, I compiled my usual fruit & nut baggies. I like to gobble down as much as possible so it’s all about getting the best bang for your buck. In this case, I compilef handfuls of almonds, raisins, half an apple and some grapes.

Then I roasted a plot of red pepper, green beans, carrots, zucchini, pea pods, and broccoli.

For one dish, I combined hardboiled egg and half a red potato with dill and hummus and topped it with the roasted veggies for a egg/potato salad of sorts.

For another, I added the veggies to a spread of lettuce and apple cider vinegar and ate it along a side of spicy tuna-salmon sushi.

Thursday, would be leftovers. Salmon salad to be specific.

Putting the week’s worth of lunches in the fridge at work on Tuesday seriously made my life easier. Recommended. But I should know that already.

As for the visit in place?

More on that later!