Now we are getting to the trickier and a little bit more overwhelming part: Where and how do I start? With all different kind of talk about the magic workout to do or the perfect amount of time to spend in the gym, it’s hard to know where to start. And if you’re not clear about what you’re doing (or why you’re doing it), it can be easy to throw in the towel when things don’t go as planned. Let me help you by giving some general advice I would also give to my clients.
Before we start you should know, that I’m speaking to a wide range of people who are healthy and uninjured, who are not looking to treat or cure a medical disease and who have the clearance from their doctor to actually start working out. If you have special needs I highly recommend going to a gym and seek professional help from a Personal Trainer in person.
- Be very specific about your “Why”, “What” and “How”
The very first step would be taking the time and writing down everything. The reason why you decided to start working out, what your hopes and wishes are and questions you might need help with. It is very important to be honest here, and there is no right or wrong. This is something everyone should do and depending on the person every single answer is different – and this is a good thing. We don’t start at the same level but what we all have in common is we want to change our lifestyle and our habits. Why are you planning to add fitness into your life right now? In what ways will your life be different when you have fitness incorporated in your life on a regular basis? And how are you going to include fitness into your lifestyle today, this week and next week? Set realistic and honest goals, otherwise you might be upset if you are not able to reach them.
- Consistency over Intensity
I highly recommend to find a workout regime which is safe, effective and makes fun too. A good starting point might be aiming to hit the gym at least three times per week for a moderate-intensity strength circuit and doing cardio on the other days. Definitely have at least one rest day per week. A HIIT routine is something you can incorporate later on – but it is not the best for beginners. And remember that it takes time and consistency to build your body, but one workout can put you in a better mood, and it is a start to something new. Please do also keep in mind that not every “trendy” workout you see on instagram or other social media platforms might be right for you. If you are a member in a gym, don’t hesitate to ask a Personal Trainer to assist and help you.
- Get Support
Working out alone can be boring for some people, if you are one of them find yourself a reliable workout buddy and set fix dates when and where you hit the gym and what you are about to train. Also keep in mind that training is just the beginning, you should also be making positive changes in your nutrition, hydration, sleep, and stress levels which will create lasting results over time.
- Find something you like
Not everyone likes Pilates or hitting a bootcamp-styled workout class. It is really important that you find something you actually like. When I started I noticed right away that I did like training with free weights, bodyweight-styled exercises and different circuits of machine based training. I wasn’t good at it right away – but what made the change was the fact that I decided to stick to it. I started with bodyweight exercises and tried to master the basic movements with a good posture. If you’re not honest about your physical fitness level and go too hard, you’re setting yourself up to potentially burn out or get injured, which can hold you back from reaching your goal. Nevertheless do what makes you happy but it should also challenge you.
- Don’t skip your warm-up and cool down
A proper warm-up is super important and necessary. It helps to prepare your body physically and mentally for your workout and it can help your body to move better and reduce the chances of an injury. If you’re training with free weights or on machines, then warming up is even more important. You are about to lift heavy with your body, which means you need to get blood flowing and activate your muscles. There are no excuses like I don’t have time for this or I think it is boring, simple see it as a form of training and incorporate it right from the beginning into your routine. Take the time after you’ve finished your workout and cool down. A proper cool down lowers your heart rate and reduces the stress on your body. Stretch each muscle group you previously trained for at least 30 seconds (this routine is called static stretching) followed by self-myofascial release (foam rolling).
- Master fundamental movements and techniques first
Keep it basic, and don’t over-complicate your workouts. Do not trust everyone on social media who has a huge butt and no education or certificate in that field – education is key not butt sizes. Before you lift at all I highly recommend mastering the fundamental movement like squats and lunges with a proper technique and excellent form. Start with light weights – you are going to the gym to be a better version of yourself and not because you try to impress someone – your ego waits outside. Don’t hesitate to start with the lightest weights and move your way up from there. The most important thing when it comes to training is to train safe and effective. If you are unsure ask for help, look for a Personal Trainer in your gym.