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Use these tips to make sure your purchase pays off

Your first workout

What do you need? It’s all really optional. The most important thing is to get going, but there are a few things that can make your workout even better.

Heartrate Monitor

Using a heart rate monitor can make it easier to judge whether you’re working at the right level. If you’re just starting out and don’t have one, try using a “perceived rate of exertion” (from 1-10) and keeping your effort right around a six for most of your first workouts.

Towel

Workout clothing

Nothing fancy. Some clothes you can move (and sweat!) in and a sturdy pair of walking or running shoes are all you need.

Water

Your favorite playlist or TV show

Set up your space

Read tips and learn what to consider while setting up your space.

Warm up

Generally you can start at an easy pace and gradually increase your effort until you feel warm and just start to sweat. If you have a lot of tension in your shoulders, back, quads or calves, you may want to add a few minutes of stretching those areas after you warm up.

Set goals

For weight loss and optimum health, plan on working up to using your treadmill at least three days a week. Start out with an easy workout of simply walking for 30 minutes. As you grow stronger, start to add in challenges using the interval or hill setting a couple of times per week or begin to alternate periods of jogging with your walking. You can also look for a beginner’s running program online (try doing a search on couch to 5K or Sofa to 5K program. Alternate these workouts with simple recovery workouts, such as walking outdoors or using your treadmill at a less challenging pace.

Get stronger

Think about a weekly increase of approximately 10 percent. Start with half-hour workouts every other day (90 minutes per week) and add on about 10 minutes per week until you’re comfortable working out for an hour or more each day. While it will take some time to get to this goal, you’ll avoid injury and stress on your body as it gradually adapts to the demands of your new fitness program.

As you get fitter, your maximum heart rate will naturally increase, which lets you work out harder and longer. This calculator will give you a target range for your first few workouts to make sure you’re staying in your aerobic training zone.

Stay motivated

For the most success, start slowly, perhaps every other day, and work up to daily workouts for optimum health and weight management benefits.

Think balance

A well-rounded fitness program includes cardiovascular, strength and flexibility work. Try adding in some simple bodyweight exercises (such as squats, lunges and planks) at the end of your workouts.

Don’t forget your diet

Whether you’re focused on losing weight or just getting fitter, what you eat is as important as sticking to your workouts. For a faster recovery and higher fat burn, try to consume about a third of your daily calories in the window immediately before to approximately 90 minutes after your workout. You can do this by snacking on a piece of fruit before your workout and having a healthy meal about an hour after.

Shake up your routine

Many products come with a variety of programs and the capacity to choose manual settings. If you’ve been doing steady cardio for a while, try adding in some speed or incline for a bigger challenge, or use your treadmill for cardio bursts between strength training circuits done with resistance bands or body weight. Changing up your routine will help you get results week after week, and it will keep boredom at bay.

Connect with others and stay motivated

Joining a real or virtual community can keep your workouts fun. Look around for local walking clubs or on-line fitness challenges that can bring motivation and energy to your daily workouts.

Horizon Fitness also sells ellipticals with ViaFit tracking built in, so you can download your workout data for easy sharing and tracking. You can also share your workout and nutrition goals, successes, challenges and questions with the Horizon Fitness ViaFit community and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.


Further reading: Visit the ViaFit Horizon community

Connect with others and get the motivation, coaching and wellness information you need to keep your workouts effective and fun.