Starting out on a fitness journey can be intimidating. But the more knowledgeable you are about what you’re doing, the more successful your journey will be.
These expert fitness tips are perfect for beginners and will help you get the most out of your workouts. Remember, it’s a journey, not a sprint!
1. Warm Up and Cool Down
Warming up and cooling down may take some extra time out of your workout, but it can reduce the stress on your muscles and prevent injuries. According to Tyrone Brennand, personal trainer and author of Be The Fittest, a proper warm-up and cool down are essential to your fitness journey.
He says that beginners should spend about five to 10 minutes warming up and should choose exercises that are lower-intensity than the actual workout they’re about to do, such as a light jog. This should help increase the blood flow to the muscles and raise their temperature, which will make them more flexible and able to handle the exercise and stretches that are coming up later in your workout.
Then, it’s a good idea to incorporate a few rounds of simple mobility drills, such as a quick set of squat jumps and a few rotational movements with your hips or shoulders. These movements will help prepare the body for more advanced moves that may come later in your workout and help you avoid injury. You should also spend about ten minutes cooling down with a series of slow movements that will help the body slowly return to its normal state and minimize the risk of muscle soreness.
2. Don’t Skip the Gym
If you are a beginner, it can be easy to skip the gym. After all, you’ve got work deadlines, calls to make, laundry to do, and more. However, skipping workouts can have a negative impact on your fitness goals. If you can, try to get into a habit of hitting the gym daily.
If that’s not possible, set aside one day a week as your “gym” time. You can even sign up for a group class, which will help you stick to your plan and build community.
Beginners often lift weights in front of more experienced gym-goers. This isn’t a bad thing, but it can cause beginners to copy their form, which can lead to injury. You should always lift weights under the supervision of a trainer, or at least someone who knows what they’re doing.
Finally, don’t exercise when your body is telling you to rest. If you’re aching from your workout, take the day off and rest. If you aren’t able to relax, find other ways to release stress, like taking a relaxing bath or just sitting in the sun for a while. If you listen to your body, you’ll know when it is time to hit the gym again.
3. Don’t Lift Too Much
While it’s true that muscle growth happens when the muscles are damaged and then recover, lifting too much can cause the opposite effect. It can make you feel weaker instead of stronger, and it can also lead to injuries and fatigue.
Beginners can start by using weights that are around 40% to 80% of their one rep maximum, Gozo says. That’s enough to challenge them, but not so heavy that it’s hard to complete a set of 10 or more reps with good form. It’s also important to focus on the lowering portion of each lift rather than lifting too quickly and letting the weight drop without control, she adds.
Beginners should also track their progress by writing down the number of reps they do and what weight they used for each exercise, Gozo says. They should also take body measurements, track their heart rate before and after workouts, and keep a food journal to see how their diet is impacting their performance at the gym. This will help beginners stay on track with their goals and stay motivated, she adds. It’s also important for beginners to get plenty of rest and eat a balanced diet.
4. Don’t Skip the Weights
It is a myth that you have to skip the weights in order to lose fat. In fact, lifting heavy is one of the best things you can do to burn fat and build muscle. However, when you’re new to the gym it is best to work on basic lifts and exercises until you feel confident with them. This way you can make sure you’re executing them properly and avoid injury.
It’s also important to track your progress as you train. This could include taking photos, tracking your heart rate, weighing yourself (not more than once per week and only if weight loss is a goal), and measuring your body composition. This will help you keep on track with your goals and stay motivated.
It’s also important to remember that fitness is a journey. We all have our good and bad days, but the most important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can. It’s also important to remember that it is much harder to lose fitness than it is to gain it back, so don’t be discouraged if you miss a few workouts here and there. Just be consistent and make it a habit.
5. Don’t Skip the Stretches
Ever since your first PE class, you’ve heard that stretching is essential for proper circulation and preventing injuries. Many beginners skip stretching in an effort to log more minutes on the treadmill or hit the weights, but it’s important to treat your stretches as non-negotiable parts of your workout.
You should do a dynamic warm-up to increase your blood flow and internal temperature before you stretch, and static stretches are better left for the cool down period. Avoid bouncing during your stretches, which can cause injuries, and only stretch to the point of tension, not pain.
Whether you’re a newbie at the gym, trying your first barre or hot yoga class, or just getting into the habit of regular workouts, it can feel overwhelming to start a fitness routine. Don’t let the enormity of what you’re taking on discourage you – just take it one day at a time, and make sure you have fun while you’re doing it. The more you enjoy your workouts, the more likely you are to stick with them and see long-term benefits. You’ll be a healthy, fit person before you know it! The Polar Community is here to support you on your fitness journey.
6. Don’t Skip the Water
The human body is 60-70% water, so it is important to drink enough throughout the day. When training, hydration is especially important. The more water you drink, the less fatigued you’ll feel and the better your performance will be.
Remember to hydrate before and after every workout, as well as during your workout. Staying hydrated will help you train longer and harder while also helping to remove waste and reduce the chance of injury. Having high-protein snacks on hand can also help fuel your workout and meet your nutrient requirements. A few of these include nuts, yogurt, deli meat, and hummus.
Finally, it’s important not to give up if you don’t see immediate results. Gaining strength, building endurance and burning fat all take time. It is best to track your progress and work toward short-term goals such as adding five pounds to your bench press or shaving ten seconds off of your mile run time.
Being healthy requires consistent dedication to diet, sleep, exercise, hydration and emotional regulation. If you can incorporate these 101 fitness tips for beginners into your daily routine, you’ll be well on your way to becoming fit! The most important thing to remember is that change takes time, but with consistency and congruency you’ll get there.
7. Be Patient
Lastly, it is important to remember that progress in any fitness journey takes time. Those first few workouts may feel incredibly challenging, but as you continue to go to the gym and stick with your routine you will see results in your physical fitness and strength. Remember that everyone at the gym was once a beginner, and they all started off in the same place as you.
You will also need to be patient with your diet and rest. As a beginner, it is best to have a day of rest in between your weight training sessions and to not work the same muscles on two days in a row. However, this is not always practical and depends on your lifestyle and goals. For example, if you have a demanding job or family commitments it may be difficult to take several hours per week to dedicate to a training regimen.
In such a case, try to find other ways that you can incorporate exercise into your daily life. For example, use your lunch break to go for a walk or try to park farther away from your destination when driving. These are small changes that can add up to a big difference in the long run!