The Beginner's Guide to starting a Fitness Journey
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If you’re at that point where you are ready to make some serious lifestyle changes but “Don’t know where or how do I begin?”. Beginning any journey is intimidating; with the right motivational tips you can be your own coach.Most people want to start working out, but few are able to maintain this new habit. Not because they lack "motivation", but simply because they lack guidance. So instead of leaving you in the dark, we will give you tips that will help progress much faster and help you maintain this lifestyle.
1. Make a commitment to yourself
It’s up to you to decide that you are ready for change. If you are not fully committed to the process (and all the unknowns), you won’t reach your goals. You have to tell yourself that no matter what emotions come up, what hard times might come – you WILL succeed. Basically it’s about balance, and you have to be 100% committed to finding your balance.
2. SMART Fitness Goals
Having a solid fitness goal is an amazing way to power you towards success, but not all goals are created equal. While it's great to have an end-game in mind, there are some best practices when it comes to goal setting. Whether you want to lose weight, improve your fitness level, or train for an event, putting the SMART method into action can help you achieve what you set out to do.
Follow these guidelines to setting SMART goals :
Specific. Your goal should be clear and easy to understand.
A common goal, “get healthy,” is too general. There are so many ways to get healthy. How do you want to do it? Is it losing weight? Start exercising? Stop smoking? Break it down and it will be easier to manage.
Let’s pick weight loss and make a SMART goal out of it together. For example, “I will lose weight.”
Measurable. A goal to “lose weight” is not enough. How will you track your progress and how you will know when you have reached your goal? Making your goal measurable means adding a number.
Achievable. While it can be helpful to set big-picture goals in the long-term, you need a more achievable goal to keep you on track. You want to start small and see early wins, which encourages long-term consistency,
Let’s take our goal above. What percentage is achievable for you? Research suggests that a 5-10% weight loss is achievable for most overweight people.
A measurable, attainable goal could be, “I will lose 7% of my body weight.”
Realistic. Set goals that are important to where you are in your life right now. Don’t set a goal that someone else is pressuring you to attain-that isn’t very motivating.
Examine our goal so far. Does it seem realistic to you? If so, let’s keep going. If you are not concerned about weight loss or this is not a good time in your life to focus on that, choose something that IS motivating to you.
Time-bound. Include an end-point. Knowing that you have a deadline motivates you to get started.
Since healthy weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week, set your deadline accordingly. For our example we can use 3 months. “I will lose 7% of my body weight in 3 months.”
Becoming a better version of you starts by being SMART!
3. Create a workout plan
Designing a workout plan doesn't have to be complicated. Let's break down the principles for creating one that makes sense for your personal goals.
Consider your fitness goals. Are you starting a fitness program to help lose weight? Or do you have another motivation, such as preparing for a marathon? Having clear goals can help you gauge your progress and stay motivated.
Create a balanced routine. Even small amounts of physical activity are helpful. Being active for short periods of time throughout the day can add up to provide health benefits. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.
Start low and progress slowly. If you're just beginning to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly. If you have an injury or a medical condition, consult your doctor or an exercise therapist for help designing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength and endurance.
Build activity into your daily routine. Finding time to exercise can be a challenge. To make it easier, schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment. Plan to watch your favorite show while walking on the treadmill, read while riding a stationary bike, or take a break to go on a walk at work.
Plan to include different activities. Different activities (cross-training) can keep exercise boredom at bay. Cross-training using low-impact forms of activity, such as biking or water exercise, also reduces your chances of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint. Plan to alternate among activities that emphasize different parts of your body, such as walking, swimming and strength training.
Try high-interval intensity training. In high-interval intensity training, you perform short bursts of high-intensity activity separated by recovery periods of low-intensity activity.
Allow time for recovery. Rest. Recover. Sleep. Whatever you want to call it. It's as important as working out. If you want you want to look and perform at your best, you will need to get some rest. It will help your muscles to grow and will let your central nervous system to get back to its optimal state.
4. Mind what you eat
Do you know true fitness isn’t built in the gym but in the kitchen? Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand, the food we eat plays a vital role in how we look and feel. Regular exercise is important but according to research, nutrition has the largest impact on our fitness.
Using food as our medicine has become a popular theme for health improvement.
A person can change one's body composition through diet alone without exercise. However it's the combination of both that provides a complete healthy package. Applying the 80 percent nutrition-to-20 percent fitness.
Without the proper nutrition to support your active lifestyle, all those hours spent on the treadmill or lifting weights could be largely wasted! Here’s why: Even if you hit the gym every single day, even if you hire a trainer, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. But by adopting a diet centered on nutrient-dense food and targeted meal timing, you can fuel your workouts and lose body fat while also building muscle.
5. Consistency is the Key
I have noticed the one main ingredient that keeps people from reaching their fitness goals. That is consistency! People tend to be impatient when it comes to diet and exercise. Too many times people do not give their exercise and diet plans enough time to reap the benefits they are looking for.
No matter what we do in life we will not achieve the success we want unless we work at it day in and day out for months and months. The same goes for your exercise and diet programs. You can have the best trainer in the world, and the best diet to follow, but if you do not stick with it consistently, you will wind up spinning your wheels. This can be very frustrating for someone who is trying hitting a certain goal.
6. Remember to HAVE FUN! And don’t give up.
A fitness “journey” is just that: a journey. It is not a destination. Do workouts that uplift you (they don’t even have to feel like you’re working out!). Do you like to dance? Take a dance class! Like outdoor sports? Try surfing, volleyball, tennis—anything that your heart desires! You can even count it for that day’s workout or cardio if you want to. The most important thing to remember in your fitness journey is to do what feels right for you. Fitness is not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. Everyone gets healthy in their own way. In addition to that, you fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up for it or give up. Get started and try again.
Hope this post was helpful for those who are just starting to hit the gym! Keep an eye out for future posts on health, wellbeing, and fitness.