Before heading to the beach for the first time in a while, a lot of people end up looking at themselves in the mirror and thinking “I should have worked out more”. Summer always seems to arrive too quickly and suddenly, leaving you wishing for more time to get in shape. However, if you have never really exercised, it may seem intimidating and overwhelming and some people feel embarrassed due to their lack of experience. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some awesome fitness tips for beginners.
1. Define your goals
Before you start exercising, it’s important to know what your goals are. Are you trying to lose weight, bulk up, or a bit of both? The short version is that cardio (short for cardiovascular) exercises like running or cycling burn fat, while strength exercises like weight lifting and push-ups build muscle. Of course, it’s more complicated than that, but the good news is that there are plenty of online resources that can help you create an exercise regime tailored to your personal needs.
2. Be realistic
While defining goals is important, don’t go overboard with unrealistic expectations, such as looking like your favorite movie star. It’s perfectly normal to have limitations, especially if you’re just starting out. Progress is gradual and requires a long-term commitment on your part, so for the time being, set the bar low and keep your goals simple.
3. Learn the proper form
Educate yourself about the proper form for every exercise, particularly when it comes to lifting weights, to maximize your output, and more importantly avoid injuring yourself. You can look at some tutorials for the most common workouts, ask your fellow gym-goers or even hire a personal trainer to show you the ropes on your first few visits to the gym.
4. Have the right equipment
They say you can’t build anything without the right tools, and the same applies here. You don’t need to break the bank, but you do need the have the proper equipment. Good running shoes will ensure you don’t suffer from foot, ankle, or knee pain and quality boxing gloves will prevent you from injuring your wrists. For many people, simply getting a new piece of sports apparel, like a pair of women’s exercise tights or a tank top, can boost their motivation and make them feel better about themselves.
Warming up properly is crucial in preventing an injury, and we’re not just talking about walking on the treadmill for a few minutes. You need to engage and stretch your main muscle groups and loosen your joints, which is most effectively achieved by doing a few simple yoga poses. Once your workout is finished, make sure to do the same stretches to reduce muscle fatigue and risk of injury.
6. Pace yourself
The most common mistake beginners make is to go all out on their first run or visit the gym before their body becomes accustomed to all the increased activity, which can result in poor performance and possible injury. Take your time, ease into your exercise, and avoid trying too much too soon. Not to say you shouldn’t challenge yourself (that’s kind of the whole point), but keep those challenges manageable. In time, once you increase your fitness level, you can start really pushing yourself and achieving better results.
7. Have a routine
In order to maximize the benefits of exercising, you need to do it on a regular basis. You don’t need to work out every day, but instead aim for every other day which translates to three or four times a week. This allows your body to rest and recover on your days off so you don’t end up overworking yourself.
8. Eat properly
No matter how much you work out, there will be no effect if you stuff junk food into your mouth as soon as you’re done. A healthy diet and proper nutrition are just as, if not more, important than your exercise routine. Avoid too much fat and simple sugars while stocking up on protein and fresh vegetables. Also, staying hydrated is essential, so don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
9. Stay motivated
As we mentioned earlier, exercise is not a quick fitness, so don’t get discouraged when you don’t see immediate results. In the beginning, you may start to feel as if it was all futile, but power through and you will start to look and feel better. Once you get into it, the results will be faster and more noticeable. If you’re struggling, listen to your favorite music (anything energetic will do) while you work out and it will go much easier.
10. Have fun
Finally, all these fitness tips are for naught if you just end up feeling miserable and bored. Exercise should be a fun activity that leaves you tired in a positive sense because you feel satisfied that you’ve accomplished something good. If you’re bored by going to the gym, try boxing or rock climbing, and if you hate running, try swimming or hiking. There is an exercise routine out there that will have you looking forward to it rather than dreading it – you just have to find it.