The Top Five Things to Consider When Starting a Workout Program

Starting a fitness program without a plan is a big mistake, one expert explains.

ByABC News
May 21, 2007, 11:25 AM

May 21, 2007 — -- It never ceases to intrigue me when some clients come to me and tell me their stories about going straight from being a couch potato to joining an intensive boot camp.

Amazed, I listen to their stories and wonder what has happened to common sense.

If you have never done a proper push-up or a squat, how do you think you can manage boot camp? Has it occurred to some of us that boot camp is to push already in-shape individuals to the next level?

With this in mind, the proper question for people just starting an exercise program is: What makes sense to do when you are just starting out, and what can you do on your own to structure a personalized workout that is safe?

This is easier asked than answered, as there are so many factors that play a role. Here are factors that you should think about:

For example: "I want to improve my overall muscle tone by losing 2 percent body fat by Nov. 2, 2007."

Leave it too broad, and you won't be able to measure your progress in the future. An example to avoid would be: "I would like to lose weight." Yes, this is great, but tell me exactly how much and in what time frame.

Also keep in mind that weight loss in and of itself does not always have to be the goal. For many it is to finish a triathlon, hike Mount Everest, complete a marathon, improve their running style or learn about proper lifting techniques. Whatever it might be, each of those goals will have a different time frame -- and therefore, a different training schedule.