Do you have a goal to finally start going to the gym but don’t know where do start? Have you enjoyed being fit in the past, but need a reintroduction to the basics to stay accountable?
I’ve received a few emails lately regarding fitness for beginners. Today I wanted to cover some of the tips I shared with them as well as what I advise to clients and friends diving into the wonderful world of fitness for the first time. Here we go!
• Get on a plan!
Don’t just say that you’re going to start going to the gym, plan out when it’s going to happen. Write your time for the gym into your planner and make it a priority to follow through, just as you would for an important work meeting. Once you get set in a routine, you’ll rely less on motivation and more on habit to get you there.
Take it slow and start out by going to the gym three to four times per week. A great example would be to plan to go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with a bonus option on the weekends.
• Nutrition is just as important as working out.
Try to stick to eating whole foods whenever possible and make sure to get a good amount of complex carbs, proteins, and healthy fats in your diet. Also, try to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables in every meal.
If your goal is to be healthy and even lose weight, you’re only doing yourself a disservice by turning to high fat, low nutrient-dense foods. You’re always going to feel like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back that way. To avoid the struggle, learn to make lightened up versions of recipes and avoid calorie traps when dining out.
Check out my Recipes page for healthy eating inspiration!
• Make attainable goals with baby steps.
Starting a new fitness program or plan can be intimidating. You want to challenge yourself, but you don’t want to be overly optimistic with numbers just to end up feeling like you can’t measure up.
Getting fit and losing weight doesn’t happen overnight, so concentrate on setting small, realistic goals week by week.
Maybe your goal is making it to the gym on a consistent basis. If five days a week isn’t realistic for you, start with three and kill it during those three sessions. If thirty minutes of cardio seems impossible, start with fifteen or twenty minutes. Day by day, you will get stronger and your endurance will build. Promise!
• Get your cardio on.
Cardio will not only increase your endurance and stamina, but it will also trim body fat. Even twenty minutes a day on your machine of choice (the treadmill, elliptical, StairMaster, stationary bike) can make a world of difference. If I can’t get my normal runs in, I try to incorporate more HIIT workouts, Tabatas, and plyometric cardio exercises into my strength circuits.
You can find some of my favorite cardio workouts here.
(Please use them at your discretion and modify when necessary.)
• Supplements are your friends.
No matter how strict your diet is, it’s almost impossible to get all of the necessary nutrients your body needs just from food. While you don’t have to go crazy have a collection of supplements to take on a daily basis, it’s extremely beneficial to at least take a multivitamin with your breakfast. There’s so many different brands out there, and I prefer a women’s daily gummy like these or these. I know it’s not as great as taking a pill form, but hey, it’s a treat that I look forward to every day.
Also, it would be a good idea to take a daily joint supplement to protect those joints and tissues! If you’re not sure which bottle or brand to go with, ask your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe employee to steer you in the right direction.
• Strength training is great for you.
Whether your goal is to build muscle mass or simply tone up, strength training is a great way to burn calories and speed up your metabolism. For the first six months or so, try to aim for upper and lower body workouts three times per week.
Here’s an example of a plan that I would recommend:
Monday – Upper Body & Cardio
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Lower Body & Abs
Thursday – Rest or Cardio
Friday – Total Body Workout (this workout featured below would be a great here!)
Saturday – Rest or Cardio
Sunday – Rest
• Start slow and ease into intense workouts.
While I have never featured a series of workouts for beginners, there are plenty of those types of plans out there.
Check out these great sources from one of my favorite fitness bloggers, Nicole:
• Find workouts that you actually enjoy doing.
Not a fan of spinning classes? Don’t feel like you have to take them just to get cardio in. Grab a partner and go for a run or challenge yourself with a kickboxing or Zumba class to get your heart pumping.
If you enjoy your workouts, you’re ten times more inclined to go. Different types of workouts aren’t for everyone, and eventually you will find something that you don’t dread going to. (Personally, I could take a barre-inspired class close to every day and be happy!)
• Refuel your body.
On days where you are extra active and complete a long run or activity that burns a lot of calories, it’s perfectly okay to refuel and intake more calories. In fact, I recommend refueling after your workouts and eating often (5 to 6 small meals and snacks a day versus 3 large meals alone) to clients.
It’s important to replenish those calories you burned from your workout with healthy carbs and protein! One of the best refueling drinks you can have is regular chocolate milk, and I usually prefer chocolate almond milk.
I like to mix in a couple servings of fruit like strawberries and bananas and throw it all into the blender with ice to make a healthy smoothie! Check out more of my favorite smoothies for ideas.
• Wear what you feel comfortable in.
It’s obvious from this blog title that my workout apparel of choice consists of a loose tank and leggings. That’s what I feel the most comfortable in, unless I’m running or working out in a hot or cold climate.
I prefer leggings that are thick and cropped with a high waistband, mostly because I know I won’t be flashing anyone. I will occasionally wear shorts, but only if there’s an inner lining to cover the goods. A supportive sports bra is always a must, and a decent pair of athletic socks and training shoes is key.
My favorite kinds of athletic socks are no show with the tabs on the end to prevent rubbing and blistering like Brooks and Bombas (<- affiliate link). See my latest gift guide for more of my favorite fitness go-tos and finds.
I hope this is a good start and helpful to anyone looking to get into working out for the first time. I could keep going with more tips, so I have a feeling that I’ll be back to share more in the near future.
If you have any specific questions I didn’t cover, feel free to ask anything in the comments section. Best of luck to you and your fitness endeavors!
More fitness-related posts for beginners:
Stop by the Fitness page for more workouts and fitness related posts!
Have a great rest of your day and I’ll see you back early in the morning with Friday Favorites!
Disclaimer: Although I am a certified personal trainer, I am not necessarily your personal trainer. The workouts I post are what work best for me, and might not be the right type of exercises for you. If you decide to give my workouts a try, I always suggest listening to your body and applying modifications and rest when needed.
Also, I am not a registered dietician or health professional and do NOT post everything I eat. All the content on this blog stems from my personal experience and knowledge. I always recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making any kind of changes to your diet or fitness routine.