Starting a fitness journey can be one of the scariest things you ever do, but it’s so worth the uncertainty at the beginning. You might not know what sort of things you should be doing in the gym or what kind of things you should be eating, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started. You’ll thank yourself in a few months time when you’ve noticed both mental and physical results.
That settles it: your fitness journey starts now. Here are some pointers on getting started and what you need to do.
Outline Some Compelling Reasons For Getting Started
You’re not going to start or stay in a routine if you genuinely believe that the only reason you’re doing it is to look good. Looking good is great, but it isn’t usually enough reason to work out multiple times a week when you have distractions and other things you could easily be doing. More great reasons for exercise include reducing pain in the body, strengthening the immune system to fend off illness and disease, setting a great example for your kids, your mental health, and more. What can you think of? Write out a list and put it somewhere you can see it every day to keep you going.
Know What Your Goals Are
You can’t start working out without having a good idea of what your goals are. Goals help you to figure out how you should be working out, and they help us to stay focused. Different goals require different approaches. Here are some examples:
- Working out for mental health – do workouts you genuinely enjoy. Get your heart rate up and blood pumping to release endorphins up to 6 times a week.
- Working out for muscle gain – body weight exercises eventually leading to using weights. You always need to challenge your muscles, and you should be working in the 8-14 rep range for most exercises, doing 3-4 sets. Build yourself up slowly.
- Working out for fat loss – weights are still important for fat loss, as they help to build muscle which makes the metabolism and calorie burning much faster. You can also incorporate a little cardio, but too much of it and you’ll eat away at any muscle you have and this could give you a ‘skinny fat’ appearance.
The majority of goals will require you to lift weights and do some cardio in different quantities. If you’re confused, look online for a qualified trainer. If you have the budget, you could find a local trainer. Just know that you pay through the nose for gym trainers when many of them don’t have great qualifications and won’t push you hard enough.
Start Educating Yourself
Although you should get started ASAP to get into those good habits, you should also start educating yourself as quickly as possible. You want to know why we lift weights, why we do cardio, what overtraining does, why compound exercises are better than using the machines, and so on. This will all help you towards building a healthier lifestyle, and knowledge is power. If you expect somebody else to tell you what and why you’re doing things all the time, you probably won’t stick to it.
Teach yourself about nutrition, too, including macronutrients. This refers to protein, fat, and carbs and can help us to eat a more balanced diet rich in micronutrients. It can be a lot to take in, and of course, there’s conflicting information all over the internet. However, this shouldn’t put you off. Read books, take a look at YouTube videos, and look at all different points of view to form your own unique opinion.
The only thing to do once you’ve done this is experiment and see what works for you. Remember, this doesn’t mean you have to cut out carbs when you read about atkins, or cut out fats when you read about the keto diet (cutting out a whole food group is unhealthy). Doing extreme things like this, especially at the start of your fitness journey is a bad idea. It can mean a huge rebound that leaves you back at the beginning.
Get Into A Great Routine
Routine is one of the things that keeps us going. Get into a routine that you love, whether that’s getting straight up and killing a gym workout, or taking your gym kit to work and going in the evening.
However, it’s worth noting that the majority of gym goers enjoy going in the morning. Why? We tend to try harder in the morning, as nothing during the day has gotten in the way and clogged our brain up, whether that’s an annoying boss or something else. It’s all too easy to have a stressful day and make excuses. Going in the morning eliminates that and means it’s out of the way before the day has even begun, which can be a huge relief.
You don’t have to try and be a big fitness influencer right away, or work out 4-6 times per week just because your favorite fitness model does. Starting slowly is the key to making sure you stick to your fitness routine. Commit to working out 3 times per week and if you feel like adding in another session or two at some point after a few weeks or months then do it. This isn’t a race to the finish line. There is no finish line! You’re always going to want to improve and get better. Don’t rush to try to get results, as this will be the kind of thing that leaves you feeling disappointed if they don’t happen fast enough and give up. Be in it for the long haul and see it as a lifestyle change more than anything else.
Notice how good it makes you feel and you will hopefully stick to it regardless of how quickly you make results!
Make Sure You Start Tracking Your Results Right Away
Don’t wait to track your results. Some people say that they don’t like their bodies, and others that they can’t bear to look at them in the mirror. However, tracking your progress via the scale isn’t a good idea for a few reasons:
- Many people place their happiness on a number.
- If the number isn’t pleasing enough, it’s easy to go off the rails on crazy binges and other self sabotaging actions.
- The scale can change at the time of day and the time of the month. You may have lost fat from your body and gotten smaller, but the scale could be showing an increased number.
It’s inaccurate and doesn’t give you a picture of your health!
There you have it – scales are rubbish. If you plan on weighing yourself every so often just to make sure you’re going in the right direction then you could do, but it messes with people’s heads too much. It shouldn’t be used alone, either. Here are the methods you should be using to get a feel for your progress:
- How you feel.
- How you look in your clothes and how they fit.
- Your measurements – are they getting smaller? Then you’re losing fat!
- Progress pictures. Take one on day one of your fitness journey, in the morning on an empty stomach. Make sure you’re standing neutrally, wearing underwear that you can wear again for future pictures. Take another picture weekly, same pose, same clothes, same time. You’ll be amazed at how you start to shape up, and without these pictures you probably would have said you weren’t making any progress. Most people do!
Find A Plan That Works For You
Now you know what you know, you can find a plan that works for you. You need a plan that is going to help you to achieve your goals, that is realistic for you to stick to, and that you enjoy doing. You can find free plans online, or you can spend a little money and buy one that a trainer creates for you. You could even buy a ready made guide created by a fitness personality that you like, but do remember that not everybody is qualified, and some guides may not be the real deal. It can be worth making sure a guide has real people doing it and that it’s legit before you part with your cash.
Try Out Different Forms Of Exercise
Make sure you try out different types of exercise. Resistance training is important, but there are different styles of training that way. Not only that, cardio can be done in various different ways. You could walk, swim, do HIIT, or go to a class.
Get A Fitness Tracker
A fitness tracker will help you to stay on track. You can challenge yourself with steps done, for example. You’ll be able to see exactly how active you are each day and improve on it if possible.
Now you should feel a little more prepared for starting your fitness journey. Don’t put it off any longer!