Deciding to embark on your very own fitness journey is an accomplishment in itself and we commend you for that. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), while walking through the gym doors is the first step, the journey doesn’t stop there. In fact, it’s just the beginning. Getting to the gym is the first step, but figuring out HOW to start working out is not so simple.
As agreed on by most, starting your journey is, in fact, the hardest part. It can bring forth a mix of emotions, from overwhelm, fear, and uncertainty, to excitement and empowerment. It can also bring forth a myriad of questions, from ‘where do I start?’, to ‘how do I do this?’, ‘how do I do that?’, and ‘how long will it take to get results?’…
Depending on your fitness goals, whether it’s to lose weight, build muscle, or simply become a healthier individual — the training approach is also likely to vary.
With that said, you shouldn’t look at the following as a playbook of how to work out, but rather as a roadmap for how to get started. So, if you’re ready to start your journey on the right foot, this article is for YOU!
How Often Should You Exercise?
Depending on your goals aspirations, and experience level, both the duration of workout and volume of weekly activity will vary.
As a general rule of thumb, however, and as recommended by the CDC, a beginner should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity five times per week. Another option is 150 minutes of total activity weekly, of which the majority should be moderately intense by nature.
This, of course, won’t suffice as a long-term approach for those seeking noticeable improvements and progress, both with how they look and feel. Instead, a progressive overload strategy is required.
With that said, as a beginner simply looking to begin their fitness journey, it’s a great place to start!
Tips to Get Started!
For those who succeed in their first steps, walking through the door for the first time, ultimately pushing forth and finding their rhythm during the good and bad, congrats! As mentioned, the first step is often the hardest part…
This doesn’t imply, however, that the journey gets any easier. Instead, you just get tougher, more resilient, and more disciplined in the process.
Once you get past the fear and find your footing in routine, it’s then time to polish your perspective, avoid common mistakes, and improve upon your mechanics.
Below are several beginner’s tips for helping you do so!
Seek Professional Guidance
Many beginners fail to make any such progress because they make the same mistakes most beginners make —they over-lift. They try complex exercises that they shouldn’t be trying, and they lack the knowledge on why they should prioritize form over weight lifted.
Whether because of a lack of education or a sheer unwillingness to improve on the tedious but necessary components of fitness, the end result is either burnout, injury, or at the very least, a lack of substantial progress…
That’s where seeking professional guidance on day one becomes valuable. Not only will they provide guidance on what exercises you should be doing but they’ll ensure that you’re performing those exercises safely and properly.
Not to mention they’ll be sure to hold you accountable!
Begin with the Basics
By committing first to the basics and avoiding the most common mistakes made by beginners, you put yourself on a long-term trajectory to success.
Fitness is a lifetime endeavour, not a short-term bandaid. As such, you should be approach it with patience and a desire to learn. Conversely, it shouldn’t be approached with urgency and impatience as this only results in an undesirable outcome.
With that said, whether on your own or with the help of a professional, consider first beginning with basic movements using just your body weight. Not only will this teach you the proper form but it will also allow you to remain safe in the process.
Ease into It
Another common mistake most beginners make is doing too much too soon. Again, this only results in burnout or injury, not to mention the building of poor habits. Instead, it’s important as a beginner to ease into it, learning to control those initial stages of excitement and extreme motivation.
Not only does easing into it allow your body to recover much more efficiently but it allows you the time to properly learn the basics before jumping too soon into the next phase of fitness.
Once you’re ready, and preferably with the guidance of a program based on strategic progressive overload, you can begin to slowly ramp up the intensity and duration/volume of exercise you do. Remember, your fitness journey is about longevity, NOT rapid, short-lived progress.
Enjoy the Journey
No matter your goals and aspirations, whether or not you go it alone or with a trainer, or withstanding the type of program you opt to follow, embarking on your fitness journey requires you to understand just that; it’s a journey!
Too often, those who are just getting started are too caught up in the destination or the desired result. They fail to enjoy the journey that leads there. After all, as mentioned earlier, fitness is a lifetime endeavor, not a phase.
In order to avoid burnout, consistently improve, and remain committed to your goal, you must learn first to enjoy the journey. Good luck!