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In January, people often get back into the gym to get in shape, usually with New Year’s resolutions. But in order to ensure that you stay on track, it is important to properly set your personal fitness goals, as well as follow a fitness program that is both personalized and progressive.

Before beginning the program, identify goals. To help in formulating fitness goals, think SMART. You want to make the goals “Specific, Measurable, Attainable in a time frame, Realistic and Time-based.”

When trying to put together a fitness program for yourself, there are a few factors to consider. Create a balanced program with cardio, flexibility, mobility, muscular power, endurance and strength components. Your program should also be built from basic exercises—which progress to more advanced movements. This is done to help build a foundation of functional movements.

Some ways you can create program progression is by modifying your exercises to make them more difficult. This can be done by moving from body weight exercises to machines, and then to free weights. Once at the free weight stage of movements, make them more dynamic and exercise in all planes of motion (i.e. sagittal, frontal, transverse). By planning your exercises and building a progressive program, you can attain the fitness goals you’ve set!

These are all important factors in helping someone on their fitness journey. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

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