Regular exercise is good for your physical health and your mental well-being. The road to fitness is not easy, and it takes willpower, self-awareness, and consistency to achieve your goals. You might be intimidated by all the complicated-looking workouts you see other people doing. If you follow the advice of your fitness coach and stick to your workout program, you will move up the ranks from a beginner to an expert in no time. Here are key things you should know as a fitness beginner.
Consult a physician before you start
The best place to start your fitness journey is to book an appointment with your doctor. It is good to get a complete physical examination to determine whether it is safe for you to hit the gym. Consulting your physician will help you identify potential risks and prevent injuring yourself during weight training. Your mind will also be at ease, and you will have no reservations as you embark on your fitness journey.
Set your workout goals
Figure out whether you want to lose weight, build muscle or build strength before starting a workout program. Your fitness goals will determine how long you spend in the gym per session and how many days a week you train. We recommend training four days a week for beginners for up to one hour each day. If you have a busy schedule, you might take longer to achieve your goals since you have limited training time. Whenever you feel like you are struggling, remind yourself why you started and pick yourself up.
Understand that results will only come when you constantly show up and work. Ensure you stick to your workout program and avoid starts and stops that make it hard to bounce back. Whenever you feel like you are hitting a plateau, assess your workout program and calorie intake and decide which areas you need to tweak. Another reason you might be experiencing a plateau is because your body has already adapted to the programs. Reduce the number of calories you eat daily and change your workout routine and resting periods to start seeing a difference.
Don’t train alone
Find a group of motivated friends who are beginners like you or more advanced in their fitness journey. Training with friends will keep you motivated and serve as accountability partners to ensure you don’t skip any workout. You are more likely to go to the gym, not because you are eager to work out, but because you do not want to disappoint your buddies.
Start slow and increase the pace
More often than not, many people make the mistake of starting an aggressive workout program with the notion that they can achieve instant results. Unfortunately, training too hard too soon will make you burn out and increase your chances of getting an injury. Aggressive workouts are also not sustainable, and you will soon get too tired and give up. Assess your fitness level and start slow in the first few weeks. If you feel you are getting stronger, you can increase the amount of exercise by 10% at the beginning of every new week and move at your own pace.
Hire a personal trainer
Stepping into a gym for the first time can be daunting for a beginner who does not know the best workouts or how to use most equipment. Hire a personal training specialist to guide you on using gym equipment, formulate the best workout program to suit your needs and goals, and help you plan your meals. Personal trainers will show you how to maintain good form and posture during your workouts to avoid injuring yourself. Talk to your trainer about any existing conditions you have so that you can plan a way forward.
Ensure you get enough rest
Certain exercises such as barbell squats, deadlifts, and lunges are very taxing on the body, even though they target a few muscle groups. These demanding exercises require lots of resting time in between sets, unlike exercises such as side bends or kettlebell swings. If your goal is to build muscle, ensure you have extended rest periods between sets and lift heavier weights in more reps. On the other hand, if you want to increase endurance, keep the resting periods in between sets not longer than forty-five seconds.
Track your progress
After you have trained for a few weeks and wonder if the workout routine is effective, you can ask your trainer to take your body measurement and check your weight and body fat percentage. You could also go a notch higher and have your doctor take blood tests every few weeks and monitor your total cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides. All these parameters will help you determine whether you are on the right track and if you need to tweak your diet and routine.
Don’t rely on supplements
People who encourage beginners to start taking dietary supplements are most likely trying to make a quick sale. It would be best to start using supplements after completing ten to twelve weeks of consistent training and monitoring your diet. Remember that your main goal should be to implement an efficient workout routine while maintaining a healthy and sustainable diet. If you decide to take post-workout protein, ensure you obey the sixty-minute window. In the one hour after you work out, your body enters an anabolic state. Damaged muscle cells that need repair and recovery can easily absorb carbohydrates instead of proteins.
Invest in a comfortable pair of shoes
Shoes protect you from getting hurt if you accidentally drop a heavy plate on your foot. Wearing comfortable shoes also prevents you from getting blisters, especially on leg day when you need to do lunges and step-ups. Invest in a few pairs of comfortable shoes that you can wear interchangeably as you wash the dirty ones. You wouldn’t want your gym buddies to run away from you because your feet have a foul smell.
Pat yourself on the back for deciding to embark on this tedious yet fulfilling journey. Working out is the best decision you can make for your body and mind.