As a beginner, it can be challenging to stay motivated and remain dedicated to your new fitness routine. However, with the right motivation and dedication, you can continue to enjoy the benefits of exercise for years to come.
There is no perfect way to start working out regularly. For some people, that means they struggle more than others. But keep going; even something as simple as walking briskly around the block a few times a week or taking an evening Zumba class will get you on the path to better health and well-being.
Working out is not easy for everyone; there will be days when you don’t feel like going and other times when you push yourself too far and end up sore for days afterward. It’s important to listen to your body while also remembering why you began exercising in the first place: because it gives you a sense of purpose, makes you feel good about yourself, and helps prevent diseases as well as manage them if you have them already.
Here are 8 tips for workout beginners:
What you will learn
Set realistic expectations
When you first begin exercising, it’s important to set realistic expectations and goals. While you want to push yourself to be more active, you don’t want to push yourself too hard too soon.
Overtraining can lead to injury, which can set you back in your fitness journey.
Start slowly by incorporating one or two low-intensity workouts per week and then add one more each week until you’re up to three to five low-intensity workouts per week. Listen to your body and don’t push through the pain.
If an exercise is too hard for you, back off or switches to something that works the same muscles without as much effort. If you push through the pain, you could end up with an injury that will keep you out of the gym longer than necessary.
Break up your workout with strength training
While aerobic exercises like running, cycling, swimming, etc. can help you burn calories and lose weight, they don’t build muscle like strength training does. Muscle is an important organ in the body; it burns calories (even while you’re sleeping), helps with your metabolism, and gives your body shape.
Some studies suggest that strength training can also help you lose weight, too. So while it’s important to do aerobic workouts to help you lose weight, it’s also good to break up your workouts with strength training because it will help build muscle and give your body shape.
Consider lifting weights two to three times per week (preferably on non-consecutive days, so you have time to rest in between workouts) along with your low-intensity cardio workouts.
Studies show that those who are consistent with their exercise plan are more successful at long-term fitness than those who are not consistent. Fitness is not something you do for a few weeks, months, or even years and then quit. It is a lifelong commitment, like eating well and getting enough sleep.
And just like you would have a hard time eating according to your diet if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll also have a hard time sticking with your exercise routine if you don’t do it consistently.
When you first start, it’s important to be consistent with your exercise routine so your body can adjust to the new demands you’re placing on it. And as your body adjusts, you can slowly increase the amount you’re doing each week.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you’re still unsure about what types of exercises you should be doing, how frequently you should be exercising, or how many calories you should be burning through exercise, it might be a good idea to ask a health or fitness professional for help.
Sometimes it can be difficult to know if you’re doing the exercises correctly or you might not know if you’re pushing yourself too hard or too little. Plus, those in the health and fitness fields have access to a lot of resources that you might not have access to otherwise.
You can consult with a doctor, dietitian, physiotherapist, personal trainer, or any other health professional who can help you get started with your exercise plan.
Accept the discomfort
Exercise is meant to be challenging. If you’re not feeling a little bit of discomfort while working out, then you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough. However, it’s important to know when to push yourself and when to back off.
If you feel like you’re going to vomit, experience shortness of breath, have a very rapid heartbeat or feel dizzy or lightheaded, you need to stop what you’re doing and rest. Talk to your doctor if these symptoms last longer than a few minutes.
But other than that, know that some discomfort is normal. If you’re pushing yourself hard enough to break a sweat, your muscles will be a little bit sore the next day.
This is all part of the exercise process and means you’re challenging your body enough that it’s changing and growing stronger.
Find a gym you love (or at least like)
If you’re not really into Zumba or other types of dance-based workouts, don’t force yourself to go. Instead, find a gym you love (or at least like). Finding a gym you love or like helps motivate you to go because you enjoy being there.
If you dread going to the gym, it’s probably not a good fit for you. You want to find a place where you feel comfortable, where you can find the type of equipment you’re looking for, and where you can meet other like-minded people.
You might even want to consider joining a virtual gym if you have time constraints or don’t have access to a gym nearby. You can find a variety of online gyms that fit your schedule and give you access to a wide range of fitness programs.
Commit to eating well
Along with exercising regularly, it’s important to commit to eating well, too. You don’t need to completely cut out all of the foods you love, but you do need to be more mindful of the foods you’re eating.
For example, if you love donuts, you probably don’t need to cut them out completely. But you can commit to eating them less often or choosing a healthier alternative (like a yogurt or fruit parfait with donut toppings).
It just takes some planning and self-discipline. If you know you have a donut craving coming, try to get it out of your system before you get home from work so there’s no temptation in the house while you’re trying to make better choices.
Reward yourself along the way
Exercising is good for you, but that doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself. Rewarding yourself for all of your hard work is a great way to stay motivated and continue to enjoy the journey.
You can reward yourself for going to the gym, for eating well, for trying a new type of exercise, and for any other milestones you reach along the way. You don’t have to spend a lot; just find ways to reward yourself that don’t involve food or sweets.
You can treat yourself to a massage, buy a new piece of fitness equipment, or go on a fun outdoor adventure. As long as it’s not food related, it can be a great way to stay motivated and excited about your new fitness journey.
Exercise will bring a lot of benefits to your life, such as a healthy body, reduced stress levels, and an improved mood. It’s important to remember that everyone has to start somewhere, and even fitness experts didn’t start out being able to do amazing workouts right away.
It takes time to build up your fitness level, but once you get there, it’s well worth it. These 8 tips for workout beginners can help you get started with your fitness journey.