You’ve made the decision to start exercising, and you’re ready to hit the ground running. But as a fitness newbie, where do you start? While many people beginning a new workout routine have good intentions, they often make mistakes that can hinder their progress. If you’re just starting out, consider these dos and don’ts to ensure success on your fitness journey.
1. Do – Find a gym or workout studio that is right for you.
Start by researching facilities – visit websites to learn more about their offerings and check out reviews to see what people are saying. You can always ask for a free trial membership or class to test it out before making a commitment. Once you’ve made a decision, make sure you’re both physically and mentally ready. For example, if you haven’t exercised in years (or ever), jumping into a CrossFit may not be the best place to start. Find a program you know you can stick with, and enjoy yourself.
2. Do – Take advantage of free personal training sessions.
If you join a gym and they offer a free training session, sign up! This is especially important if you are new to a gym. Even just a couple of sessions can help give you a good feel for the space and take away anxieties you may be experiencing.
3. Don’t – Feel obligated to sign up for more training sessions.
While hiring a personal trainer has many benefits, you should never feel pressured to sign a personal training contract. This is a big commitment, and you may not be ready for it (and that is OK!). lso, if someone in the gym offers to train you on the side, don’t do it. Gyms don’t allow this, and you both may be asked to terminate your memberships. Gyms take this very seriously as they hire certified instructors that are responsible for your safety and well-being.
4. Do – Set realistic goals.
Start on a positive note and set yourself up for success! Begin your exercise program at a slower pace (for example, two to three days a week vs. five to seven days). When you’re comfortable with (and sticking to) this cadence, you can add another day or two. Spend 30 minutes on your workouts . When it becomes easier, increase your time. Remember that setbacks, at times, will be normal. Everyone – even the most seasoned athletes – experience them. The important thing is to get back on track as quickly as possible.
5. Don’t – Overdo it.
Nothing is worse than being excited to begin a new exercise program, but then pushing yourself so hard that you can barely get out of bed the next morning. Sore muscles can cause a newbie to never want to go back to the gym again. Worse than sore muscles is the possibility of injury, like pulling a muscle or twisting and spraining something. Be safe and take it slow – there’s no rush!
6. Don’t – Make your fitness regimen all about weight loss.
If all you’re thinking about is losing weight and numbers on the scale, you could be disappointed. Instead, focus on improving your overall health and fitness level. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat. Working out may increase lean muscle, so you may not notice fat/weight loss occurring. Try to gauge your success by gained strength, inches lost, increased energy and a feeling of well-being.
7. Do – Find a program you will enjoy.
This may be one of the most important things you do. Finding an exercise/fitness program you are happy with and can look forward to will lead to success. The latest fad or trend may not be right for you! Instead, choose an activity that brings you joy and exercise, whether it’s tennis, yoga, dance, lifting weights, swimming, hiking, running, walking, martial arts – the options are endless!