So you are decided to change your unhealthy habits and get fit? Congratulations! We are proud of you and we know you will see yourself better and, most importantly, will feel stronger and more confident in no time. However, this is easier said than done, especially if you have never, ever put a foot on a gym before.
Starting a fitness routine and get into the gym when you are a total beginner can be intimidating. But honestly, there’s nothing to be afraid of! Follow these simple tips and give a great start to your fitness journey.
Identify your why, what and how.
This is something you can do for yourself, which will help you get up from the couch and hit the gym or the road when you are feeling a bit lethargic.
Once you know your main motivation and have chosen your goals, you’ll need to prepare a strategy or action plan to achieve them in a natural way.
Why is this important? Well, if you started working out without a plan or an objective, you could feel unmotivated, confused about the machinery and exercises, and would probably not see an improvement in your body and mindset.
Take some time to prepare a plan and be ready to modify it if circumstances change.
Get mentally prepared to make fitness a habit. Working out once a month is always better than not working out at all, but you will not see any kind of change until you start exercising at least three times a week during a long period of time.
After 21 days of consistent training (this is the time experts say it takes to create a new habit), you will start feeling the need of exercise when you miss one of your days at the gym.
This is the sign that you have created a new habit. Congratulations! From now on, finding the time and motivation to go to the gym will be easier.
Start slow but consistent.
If you have never worked out or haven’t done it in a long time, your body will need to get used to the new movements, stress and routine. You should start with shorter workouts to pace yourself (from 30 minutes to an hour will be enough at the beginning), but try not to skip any. During your fitness journey you should prioritise consistency over intensity, to avoid a quick burnout and prevent injuries.
Take diet seriously and keep yourself hydrated.
Just because you started a tough training routine doesn’t mean you can binge eating. A fun fact: when you start exercising you also start feeling really, really hungry pretty much all the time. Exercise stimulates your appetite, and if you don’t drink enough water during and after your workout it could get even worse.
Whether you started training to lose weight or to gain muscle, not being in control of your diet will only keep your goals away from you.Keep your hunger under control by eating a good pre-workout meal (a bowl of porridge, eggs or a banana if you don’t have much time), staying hydrated and including complex carbs and lean proteins in every meal.
Avoid injuries by controlling your lifts and having good posture.
If you feel unsure about what you are doing, you will most probably try and learn from the people around you. While this is not a bad idea, if the person you are copying doesn’t perform a movement correctly, what you will learn won’t be right either.
Most injuries come from bad postures and trying to lift too much weight too soon. Always pay attention to what your doing, try to feel your muscles and, when possible, do your exercises in front of a mirror to check your posture.
If you are ever unsure about how you’re doing an exercise or where to start from, ask! You should never be ashamed to ask for help, especially when you have just started working out. When in doubt, Personal Trainer is the best person to turn to, but a gym fanatic friend could also be of good help.
Get yourself a nice outfit… and a good pair of trainers!
Everybody knows it’s pretty hard to train in jeans and heels or shoes, but there are some aspects of a good workout outfit that you should pay special attention to.
One of them is the fabric your clothes are made of. It needs to be breathable and flexible (synthetic fabric, like polyester, will be the best), and fit you perfectly to prevent chafing and have full freedom of movement. It is also important you use sport underwear for a good support and comfort.
But even more important than this is having a high quality pair of sneakers. Running and working out with the wrong pair of shoes can cause hip and knee pain, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis and other injuries related to a bad footstep.
Never compare yourself.
We all have been beginners at some point, and we know how it feels being surrounded by Wolverine-like bodybuilders in our first weeks, but you should never compare yourself with others.
A little bit of competition is always healthy if it pushes you out of your comfort zone however, we are all different and for some getting fit takes longer than for others.
Remember everybody starts in the same place and those who look like professional wrestlers have just been training for longer than you. Try to learn from your peers (their passion and commitment could be inspiring), never underestimate yourself and start admiring your body for what it can do, not how it looks like.
Go with a friend
The gym can be a daunting place, going in with a friend will make the experience much less intimidating. Another option would be reaching out and taking a personal training session with a personal trainer. They know the ropes and their confidence will rub off on you pretty quick!