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.
Also, I will most likely be wearing a non-slip headband to keep hair out of my face. The best brands I’ve found include Bic Bands, Sparkly Soul, and BradyBands.
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:
• How Activity Trackers Help Healthy Lifestyles
• How To Overcome Annoyances With Healthy, Active Living
• 5 Reasons You Need Rest Days
• Tips To Take To Your First Barre Class
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.
Erin @ Erin's Inside Job
I’m a big proponent of doing what you love. Find a workout that you love to do, otherwise it’s going to become a chore, you’ll hate it, and probably will stop doing it. Especially if you’re a beginner, try out various workouts and just get moving!
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Preach! I always tell friends who can’t seem to find something to just keep trying new classes and styles of workouts if they don’t like training at the gym themselves. Eventually, they’ll find something they love and get hooked!
I love that you mention to find something you love doing rather than something you have to do. I would start and stop my fitness routine so often and then one day realized it was because I didn’t like going to the gym. There was nothing wrong with the facility I went to it just plain wasn’t for me. I started doing at home based workouts since I have weight sets, yoga mat, and a treadmill and I have stuck with it ever since.
It’s so important to find a type of workout you really enjoy doing. I know that helps me get motivated to go! At-home workouts are a great way to stay fit if you aren’t into going to gyms or studios. I’m about to squeeze in a resistance band workout at home right now! 😉
These are such great tips! Finding workout classes that I truly love has really been the key to help me stick with things. Thanks for sharing!
toast the girl almighty
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Thanks Elainea! Some people prefer to work out on their own, but I’ve always loved group fitness classes.
I also find that paying a lot of money for a gym motivates me. I got serious about the gym in Iraq because there was NOTHING else to do, but I found a buddy who was comfortable in a gym and could show me the ropes. Also, when we were trying a new move that we found online, we had each other. It was a huge help so that I didn’t feel dumb. But when I got home, I was too shy still to go into a regular gym and work out. So I started paying for CrossFit (which way back then was only $85 a month) and that was big money for a college kid! Because I knew I was paying, I kept going. And then I fell in love with the community of it. After a few injuries, I stuck to LA Fitness but got bored with it and decided to try ClassPass. Since that is also not cheap AND you have to pay if you miss a class, I ended up really sticking to the classes I signed up for even when I didn’t want to go AT ALL! I know a lot of other boutique type gyms are the same with their cancellation fee, and really, paying money NOT to work out is a big motivator. So I would say that if you have never worked out before and have the available funds, try something like ClassPass if your area has it or another type of gym like that!
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Starting a fitness regimen can be tough so I appreciate these tips. While not totally a beginner, I’ve had to take some time off do to various injuries and I always make the mistake of jumping back in too quickly so love that you mentioned starting off slow and easing into a workout.
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Nice tips there Heather. I find them not only for beginners but they are also great for someone like me who loves changing workouts and trying new things. One of my workout breakthroughs was when I ganged up with my friends to workout together. I don’t drag and I am always on toes. Thanks a lot for the share.
Thanks Cindy! Working out with friends is always a great way to motivate yourself to get to the gym and then enjoy what you do once you’re in the swing of things. I find myself more accountable that way!
I’ve tried group fitness classes and they just weren’t for me. I love working with a personal trainer so I can get the extra push or working out on my own. Breaking your end goal up into mini goals is a good thing to do, so you will stick to it and feel more motivated to keep going. Great tips, thanks for sharing!
EVLUTION Nutrition BCAA energy
Do not abuse workout supplements though, it must always be paired with proper diet and exercise.
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Indeed, your diet is as important as working out. If you are eating unhealthily, no matter your workout, you will not be healthy and fit. Fitness is directly influenced by what you eat.
ENGN pre workout
Work out those muscles and trim those fats by using some diet supplements with your workout routine.
EVL Nutrition BCAA energy
Do not abuse workout supplements though, it must always be paired with proper diet and exercise.
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Fitness choices and proper workout is the way to a healthier you. Before i start, i normally have a clear goal in mind of what i want to accomplish.
Fitness choices and proper workout is the key to be healthier. Fitness is directly influenced by what you eat. If you are eating unhealthy, no matter your workout, you will not be healthy and fit. Great tips for beginners or experienced as well.
Now that spring is in the air, you’ll be heading outside more often in the fresh air. This means more sunshine, but it also means that your skin is exposed to harmful UV rays.
This blog is not only for beginners’ motivation but also for those who are daily doing workouts. Nice good work
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