There’s no better time to start your personal fitness journey than right now. Whether you want to shed some body fat by losing a few pounds, go to the gym more often, or simply feel healthier in your day-to-day life by creating a workout routine, striving to make your health a priority is one of the best things you can do for your wellbeing.
If you’re ready to begin your fitness training but don’t know where or how to start, what exercises are best for you and your fitness level, or if you’re merely curious about how much exercise you should be getting, then this article is for you. Keep reading to learn some fitness tips for beginners.
Make A Workout Routine And Set Realistic Fitness Goals
Before you even think about lacing up those sneakers, it’s time to break out the pen and paper. What do you want to accomplish? Are you looking to lose some weight before your wedding day? Build more arm or leg muscle in the gym? Whatever your goals may be, make sure that they’re realistic and achievable. It’s okay to start out small with weight loss and then build your way up to more challenging goals in the future, like gaining more muscle mass through weight training.
Next, create a workout routine. Many personal trainers who help gym beginners recommend that you start out with at least three, 30-minute workouts per week in order to pace yourself. 1 It’s also important to note that starting out small like this prevents you from overcommitting or over-performing, where you can potentially injure yourself before you even get started.
No matter your personal fitness goals, you’ll be much better off doing smaller, incremental workouts than you would be going all out in a, say, two-hour, high-intensity cardio workout that leaves your muscles too sore to function. It’s also important to keep in mind that some days, you might not be up for waking up at the crack of dawn for a gym workout (especially as a beginner). However, even getting in a quick walk at the beginning or end of your day can make all the difference when you’re first starting out.
Regular Exercises To Know
Before you dive headfirst into heavyweights and dumbbells and exercise programs, here’s a good, thorough list of exercise categories to familiarize yourself with: 2
- Aerobic: This is typically the core of most fitness programs and includes periods of continuous movement. Things like swimming, running, dancing, and walking are all great examples of aerobic activity that will get your heart rate pumping and calories burning in no time. In fact, aerobics are some of the best exercises when it comes to fat loss, so adjust your fitness goals accordingly.
- Strength: These kinds of exercises are great if you’re looking to build muscle power and strength, either in a certain muscle group or in overall strength. You’ve probably seen the weight room at the gym with the squat racks and bench press. This is the place you’ll want to head to for all things strength training, including weight lifting, resistance training, plyometrics, and more.
- Calisthenics: These include any kind of basic body movements that don’t require gym equipment (lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, squats, etc.).
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT): These are repetitious, high-intensity bursts of exercise followed by low-intensity exercises or rest periods. Quick sprints and some sets of calisthenics are great examples of HIIT workouts, as are various cardio workouts.
- Boot camps: Typically, these time-based, high-intensity exercise circuits combine aerobic and resistance exercise techniques (like bodyweight exercises) for a great workout that will leave you feeling as if you’ve exercised every part of your body. Boot camps also utilize various exercise equipment, like an exercise ball or free weights, and are usually conducted as a group fitness class.
- Balance/stability: Pilates, yoga, and tai chi are all great examples of balance and stability exercises. These are great for growing and strengthening your core muscles and improving your body coordination.
- Flexibility: Yoga is also included in this category, as it aids in muscle recovery and contributes to motion range maintenance in order to prevent injury. This can be a great starting point for fitness beginners who are looking to build up to more intense exercises, as well as any beginners who find themselves working through any joint pain or minor injuries.
Understanding these types of exercise can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to knowing what your fitness level is, creating your fitness goals, and listening to your body’s needs after a particularly grueling session. Talk to your doctor about what type of exercises are right for you. They may be able to help you put together some goals and a plan of action.
Fitness Tips For Beginners: A Few Things To Consider Before You Start
There a few additional workout tips that are essential to consider before you get to stretching, including:
- Listen to your body: You may find that your body gets sore fairly quickly after a grueling workout, especially if you’re just starting out with a new exercise routine. Listen to what your body is telling you. If muscle soreness is impacting your ability to move around, maybe skip the morning run or gym class and opt for some yoga or stretching instead. Don’t let a knee ache from too many bodyweight squats inhibit you from future workouts – try a different exercise instead.
- Try a few different things: You won’t know what you like until you try it. If you have a gym membership or personal trainer, try signing up for a few different classes or sessions to figure out which exercises you like best or want to work toward.
- Buddy up: Everything’s better with a friend! Research even suggests that there are plenty of benefits to finding a great workout buddy. 3Not only can they help exercise feel easier, but they’re also a great way to make sure you stay accountable when that 6 AM alarm doesn’t feel all that great.
- Don’t break the bank: If you don’t have a gym membership, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of online resources that allow you to sample various exercises or classes (like yoga, Pilates, etc.). Or, you can even venture into the great outdoors to walk, bike, run, or swim – the possibilities are endless.
How Much Exercise Is Enough?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, physical activity recommendations include at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. 4As previously discussed in this article, it’s important to start slowly and give your body rest when it needs it, especially when it comes to sore muscles. When creating your schedule and fitness goals, be sure to incorporate a few resting days away from the gym in order to give your body a break.
However, even as you build up more muscle, rest days are still just as important. Repeated, high-intensity exercise without rest can make your body more prone to injury, and too much exercise even has the potential to weaken your immune system and contribute to chronic fatigue. 5
When it comes down to it, you know your body best. Find what exercises work best for you, create your goals, gym, or fitness routine, then get to work. With a little bit of effort and drive, your fitness goals can become a reality in no time. And of course, make sure to get your doctor’s approval before beginning any new exercise regimen.