Spring is officially here and the weather is ideal for exercising. Fitness isn’t just for dieters, body builders or athletes; fitness is for everyone. No matter how long it’s been since you last tried working out, it’s never too late to get yourself back on the right track. But between all the techniques, terminology and equipment, getting started can seem like the hardest part.
The good news? It doesn’t have to.
When you start exercising the right way and at the right pace, you can begin to take back control. You’ll experience a healthier, more powerful you. Get started with these easy-to-follow tips that you can put into action today!
Understand Your Body
Everyone has to start somewhere, right? Yours might not be the same as someone else’s. Before you plunge right in to Crossfit® or P90X™, it’s important to know your limits. If you push your body too far, you’ll risk injury. We don’t want that.
So, start slow. When you first start working out, building and maintaining positive habits needs to be your primary objective. Start out with conditioning exercises like jogging, yoga, crunches, or light weights and do them at least two days per week.
Listen to your body. Gradually adjust your routine in response to what your body is telling you.
By establishing the right foundation early on, long-term success becomes much more attainable. *
*Note: if you have a preexisting medical and/or heart condition, consult with your doctor to determine a safe routine.
Invest in the Right Equipment
With your goals and improvement areas well-established, you can start developing your full workout routine. While purchasing workout equipment is always a good step, it’s important to invest where your money could best benefit you. Don’t buy everything at the fitness store. Just the equipment that will truly help you meet your goals.
Let’s start with the equipment you’ll actually need:
- Adjustable Weights: For a solid beginner’s workout, you don’t need to buy a whole set of weights. For a workout that progresses at your pace, you only need a pair of adjustable dumbbells. While there are several options with different weight limits and adjustment increments, beginners will be best served by a set with lower adjustable increments (2.5 pounds) to suit your gradual progress.
- Proper Footwear: Few things can discourage working out like unnecessary injuries or undue pain following your routine. No matter how much experience you have, proper footwear is essential for a safe, productive workout. The demands of a full workout are different from the demands of the average day, meaning your regular sneakers probably won’t cut it. To get the pair of shoes that will meet your physical needs, go to a specialty retailer that will take specific measurements, and monitor how you walk and jog to help you choose the perfect shoes.
- Treadmill/Elliptical Machine: Regardless of your goals, cardio is an essential component of any well-rounded fitness routine. As you strive for consistency, it’s important to prevent weather and time restraints from getting in your way. To make sure that you can always get in some solid cardio consider a treadmill, an elliptical machine or a similar device once your goals and routine are more firmly established.
- A Personal Trainer: To maintain direction and motivation as a beginner, consider investing in a personal trainer- it may be a very wise decision. As you’re just starting out, having an expert devise and coach you through an optimal workout protects you from injuries, and puts you on a much clearer path to success.
When you’re just beginning to work out, there’s no need to stock up on protein shakes and supplements before you’ve even established a routine. Instead, make simple adjustments to your diet that will help you get the most out of your workouts.
While protein and carbohydrate loading will become increasingly important down the line, adjusting when and how much you eat is the most important step initially.
To raise your metabolism naturally, transition from eating 3 large meals a day to eating 5 smaller meals through out the day. Spacing your meals this way actually allows your body to burn calories more efficiently.
As you’re eating more frequently, make sure that you’re making smarter choices and eliminating junk in the process. Prepare food in advance so that it’s easier to make the right decisions, and phase out bad snacking by replacing them with health food bars as well as fruit and vegetables.
Challenge is a fact of working out. But no matter how many days you skip, or however long it takes you to make progress, never give up.
Each day that you get up and do something good for yourself is another HUGE step in the right direction. With the right routine, the right support network and a dedication to creating new habits, nothing can stand in the way of your new, healthier lifestyle!