Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Everything surrounding fitness, exercises, working out, and the GYM, can be very daunting, especially if you are a beginner! You maybe aren't sure where to start, what exercises to do, how to properly do the exercises, and especially at the gym... this can all be overwhelming and it's normal to feel this way at first. I've put together some tips and information that will help get you on track, give you some basic knowledge to get started, and give you the motivation and confidence to continue your healthy lifestyle!
1. Set meaningful goals & intentions. It's common to have a burst of motivation to start working out and to just jump right into the first YouTube video or Pinterest workout we see. But what I think is most important is to know what your personal fitness/health goals are. Is cardio and fat burning a main goal? Getting stronger? Getting more toned? Just feeling better and healthier in general? All of the above? Great! That's a start. When you are setting some goals and knowing your intention for WHY you want to workout, this will be a significant part of your motivation. Now, I'm not here to tell you what your goals are, but I can recommend to make them not only realistic, but also true to you and your lifestyle. I think it's also extremely important to make the goal for you. What benefit are YOU getting? Try not to think of other people. Also, make the goal surrounding how you want to FEEL, rather than how you want to LOOK. Now, of course we all want to exercise to look good, but it's important to know that this will come as an additional benefit automatically when you get into a healthy lifestyle. If you make your goal around something such as "I want to exercise to feel better", "to improve my mental health", "to feel more confident", "to feel stronger and able to do more activities in my daily life"... then you have already set a positive goal and outcome.
The physical aspect will just come with it. Let me show you the flip side. If you set goals around the way you want to look, such as "I want to exercise to look hot", "to attract more people", "to look skinny", "to get abs", "to get a bigger butt", etc, etc... what happens when it takes time to get there? Of course, everyone has different body types, genes, and metabolisms, and that is why every fitness journey is different. Your body might take longer or faster to get to those physical goals in comparison to another person. So let's say your goal was "to get abs"... this isn't something that just happens quickly for everyone, so you will need a more motivational goal and intention for why you are working out. You can only think "I want those abs" so many times during your ab and cardio workouts. So, if you have the intention of "I'm doing this workout to feel good, to feel better, and more confident", then that is a much more positive, motivational and meaningful goal that will help you sustain your fitness journey for longer and make it become a healthy lifestyle.
2. Know your fitness level & don't worry about what others think!
Think of what your current fitness level is. If you don't think it's that great, that's fine! You have to start somewhere. If you are completely lost as to where to start, there is always the option of getting advice from a trainer or health care provider to give you guidance. Pick workouts that are appropriate for your level, or else you will find yourself possibly giving up during the workout, feeling less motivated and like you aren't really enjoying the workout. Instead of thinking "I have to do a really hard cardio workout to burn the most fat!", start with a beginner level cardio workout, and make sure you check out the exercises or moves in the workout prior, to see if this is something appropriate for you. If you are at a gym, don't worry about what others think of you. For the most part, no one is looking at you or studying your every move. Most people are there to do their workout, and if someone is staring or you're uncomfortable in a busy area, find a more quiet area of the gym to set up your workout! Most importantly, be patient with yourself and the results. 3. Pick the type of exercise you ENJOY!
This is SO important!!! You cannot sustain a fitness journey if you are doing workouts that you absolutely hate. Why torture yourself through a 45 minute workout where you are bored and hate the exercises? You need to pick something that feels good for your body, and that you actually enjoy doing! Yes- of course workouts can be tough sometimes, when we are feeling the burn, we are out of breathe... but trust me, it is not nearly as bad when you actually are enjoying what you are doing. For example, maybe like me, you LOVE to dance (and it doesn't mean you have to be good at it!), but you have fun doing it and it makes you feel good to move your body to music. Pick some Zumba workouts or classes, start going to dance classes and actually learn steps! Maybe you love bike riding, so try out some spin classes! Maybe you enjoy walking outside and being in nature, so start with brisk walking or jogging outdoors. When you enjoy the workouts you are doing, it is much easier to turn it into a habit within your lifestyle. Again, don't be afraid to get help or assistance from someone like a trainer if you need ideas as to what workouts are best for you. 4. Resistance training... NO, you won't get "bulky!"
Okay, one point I wanted to make is a common misconception, especially for women who are starting a fitness journey. If you start lifting weights, you will not get bulky. Unless "bulky" is your goal, then no, you won't get bulky. Resistance training is actually essential to our health, and it is recommended to do it at least twice a week. If you're a beginner, you obviously aren't going to start by lifting heavy weights anyway... this is something that you slowly progress. There are so many great beginner resistance workouts, and you don't even need to use weights! You can use your body weight! Body weight exercises should be your starting point, especially to get the basics down and know how to properly do exercises. Then from there, you can add additional resistance. Like my last point, find ways to implement resistance training, but make sure they are workouts that you enjoy! 5. Keep it simple. Once you know what type of workouts are best for you, it's important to keep it simple- especially when you are starting off as a beginner! Don't fall in the trap of the fancy gym equipment and the complicated exercises you see on Instagram or YouTube. These are usually for people who might be a bit more experienced and are trying to change up their routine for variety (which is great!)- just not ideal if you don't yet have the basics down. Stick to some functional, basic exercises and stick with those until you are comfortable to move on to some new ones!
6. Tell people you are working out.
Now, when I say this, I don't mean you have to announce it to the world or to all of your Facebook friends. Tell a few people close to you who can hold you accountable, even if it's just them asking "How's your workouts going?!" This will not only remind you to keep up your workouts, but will also hold you accountable since you told the ones closest to you about your goal of working out! Maybe they might even want to join in with you, which is also a great way to stay motivated.
7. Schedule it in & visual reminders!
Another great way to keep you motivated and to know that you'll actually go workout, whether that's at home or the gym, is to SCHEDULE it in your day! Seriously. This works wonders. If you know when you're going to workout, you actually pack your gym clothes or lay them out, it will just encourage you even more to actually get up and do it. Sometimes just the thought "I'm going to workout tomorrow" isn't enough, because our brain loves to come up with a million and one excuses sometimes. Just like a meeting is scheduled during the day, you can schedule a time in your day that works for you to workout. Of course, I do believe in listening to your body, and sometimes that means you have to shift your workout. Maybe your body is exhausted, your mind is exhausted from an occurrence that day... sometimes it's a part of our health to take a break and practice self-care. But just know the difference of when you're listening to your body, and when your brain is just wanting to make excuses! You can also have motivational visual reminders, whether that's an alarm on your phone or a sticky note on your mirror! Try out a weekly or daily planner to visualize and plan out all of your workouts so you have no excuses!
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8. Don't worry about checking your weight all of the time.
Everyone works differently, but remember when I said to set goals about how you FEEL? This kind of comes back into play here... don't set your fitness goals based on the number on a scale. Weight is determined by so many factors, and can actually give you a warped perception depending on how you see the number on the scale. Your weight can fluctuate based on many factors, and can change especially when you start to build muscle. I don't encourage people to set goals based on a number, nor do I encourage to constantly be weighing yourself. I personally feel the same way about counting calories and macros, but this can totally depend on where you are at with fitness and nutrition. It's sometimes a good way for beginners or those trying to change their nutrition to see the proper amount of macros and what they are eating in a day. Which brings be to my next point! 9. What you EAT is a HUGE part of health!
Okay, I think we all know this... we have heard "80 percent diet, 20 percent exercise." What you put into your body will contribute so much to your health, not just exercising. If you are exercising at your hardest, but eating absolutely whatever junk food you want everyday... I don't see many gains or goals being achieved and it might be a tough road to get there.
10. Learn from your mistakes.
We've all done an exercise incorrectly, or been unsure at first if our technique and form is right... learn from mistakes you've made during workouts and don't be afraid to ask questions! Learn from others, ask a trainer, or even just ask a friend who works out regularly if you can join them! Not everyone wants to pay for a personal trainer or a gym membership, so if you're doing it at home, consider researching proper form of exercises, watch videos, try follow-along workout videos from an experienced trainer. This way, you'll slowly get used to the movements and how they should feel. I hope these tips were able to motivate you to MAKE A MOVE towards starting or continuing an active, healthy lifestyle!