By Scott Quill, Athletes’ Performance
Get off to a fast start, stick to your plan, and see amazing results with support from miCoach. Use the tips below to get started.
1. Pick a plan that’s right for you
When choosing your miCoach plan, consider not only your goal but your level of training experience and the shape you’re in now. And be honest. Don’t say you can run five miles without breaking a sweat if you haven’t done it in three months. You can always ratchet up the intensity of your training, but you don’t want to start too hard or you’ll feel overwhelmed.
2. Take the miCoach Assessment Workout
The miCoach Assessment Workout takes all of 12 minutes, and it allows miCoach to personalize training zones just for you. This significantly reduces the likelihood of you starting in zones that are too hard or too easy, so you’ll be less likely to feel overwhelmed or unimpressed. To schedule an assessment, log in to miCoach.com and visit the Schedule. The Assessment Workout appears in Single Workouts and can be dragged over to your schedule. Alternatively, when setting up a new cardio plan, miCoach will ask you if you want to start with an Assessment. Choose yes!
3. Set realistic expectations
When choosing your miCoach plan and setting goals, be honest with yourself. Do you really have time to train for a marathon? Are you sure you can fit in six workouts per week? You can always start with a couple workouts a week and progress to more. Be mindful of how your training will affect the rest of your life, and select your plan accordingly. This way you’ll be more likely to attain smaller, more realistic goals—and keep moving forward.
4. Plan for life
“Schedule your training days so they fit with other activities and commitments in your life,” says metabolic specialist Paul Robbins. For instance, if you play a sport one or two nights a week, schedule your miCoach workouts around it. Remember you can always drag your workouts on your Schedule and move them around to fit your life.
5. Be social
Are your friends active? Invite them to join miCoach, form a group together, and aim to schedule your training at times when you can work out together. Facing challenges and overcoming obstacles together with other miCoach members will help you stay motivated and have fun training.
6. Play with your miCoach zones
Pay close attention to your performance and heart rate in the first couple weeks of your cardio plan. Your plan will consist of challenging medium-intensity bouts, high-intensity workouts that really push you, and much easier sessions to help your body recover. Once you’ve experienced all types of workouts, consider whether your zones need adjusting based on how you feel. You can do another Assessment Workout (recommended) or try the zone adjustment tool in Settings.
7. Change your nutrition habits slowly
While it’s tempting to try to overhaul your diet and training all at once, a better strategy is to make small changes to your diet. “During the first week or two of your new training plan, be mindful—not fanatical—of what you eat,” says Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research at Core Performance. “Many people fail in the first couple weeks by trying to change too much.” For the first two weeks, Carlson says to become more aware of what you’re eating, and focus on behaviors like eating often, cooking more at home, and eating a couple more fruits and veggies each day. Set one or two specific goals, and then add another goal each week, rather than trying to eat all perfect meals right away. Here’s a good goal to start: Make sure you eat a combination of carbs and protein during the 30 minutes before and after exercise. This will energize you for your workouts and help your body recover better from the increased demand of your new training plan.
8. Rest, recover, repeat
Soreness at the onset of training is common. “If you can prevent your muscles from getting stiff due to your increased activity, then you’ll move better and feel better,” says Sue Falsone, vice president of physical therapy for Core Performance. The key is to focus on recovery techniques more than usual when starting a new training plan. Don’t skip Blue Zone recovery days—they’re specifically designed to ease soreness and help you feel rested and ready for your next tough workout. Falsone also suggests using a foam roll to loosen tight spots or sore areas daily. Choose a routine from the Single Workouts that includes foam rolling and active stretching, such as “Full-Body Massage” or “Refresh and Recharge.” These routines will help maintain the pliability of the muscles you’re using in your new workouts, ease soreness, and help you return stronger.