Fitness tips for total beginners: Couch potato to crunches
When you look up “tips for getting fit” as a total beginner in the workout space, it’s likely that the first results you’re bombarded with, are pictures of uber-in-shape gym bodies, jargon, acronyms and brand-new phrases (what even is a ‘super circuit’?), all of which certainly doesn’t feel beginner-friendly.
So, if the first step you have to climb is way too tall for you to reach, it stands to reason that you’re going to abandon the whole stairway altogether. If you don’t know where to begin, but you want to get moving from the comfort of your own home, these are the tips you REALLY need – and not being told which tubs of bulk whey protein you must immediately spend a significant amount of your groceries budget on.
Everyone starts somewhere, and Trojan Health and Fitness is incredibly excited to accompany you at the start of this journey.
1. Make sure you’re starting with a healthy foundation
If you’ve never really been active before, you won’t be aware of the particular demands and strains this whole “getting fit” thing places on your body. It’s imperative that before you exercise, specifically vigorous workouts, that you get a clean bill of health from your general medical practitioner. This will help you decide how to structure your exercise routine and what level you should be starting at; your practitioner will be able to advise you on the right heart rates and durations to aim for.
You should also ask your doctor to help you check for susceptibility to certain types of injuries, and ask what activities you could do to strengthen the areas that might be at risk. The night before your first attempt at a workout, make sure you go to bed hydrated, don’t consume any alcohol, and you get a sufficient amount of sleep, you’ll be out the gates strong!
2. Plan ahead and set short-term goals
Though it may feel like a great start, just saying “I’m gonna get fit” without a plan to make that happen, might as well do as much good as never having the epiphany at all! There’s some mental groundwork involved in the fitness process, and you should lay that down on a pen and paper before you get going.
To kickstart the process, we recommend asking yourself the following questions and building your “fitness intention”:
- What training do I want to do?
- How much time per week do I want to allocate to this?
- What are the costs involved?
- Where will I do this training?
- What differences do I want to see in three months?
- Does my chosen training plan align with those differences?
- Is there a milestone I am working towards and when will that be taking place?
Say you’re taking up jogging for the first time to look good for a wedding in July. Your “fitness intention” might read:
“I want to take up jogging on the treadmill and in the park on weekends. I can do this for 30 minutes, 3 x a week, and for an hour once on the weekends. I need to get myself a pair of beginner running shoes, and I need access to a treadmill. I can get hold of a Trojan treadmill, to conveniently do this in my lounge before I go to work. In 3 months, I want to have lost 6 kgs, and I want my calves to look more toned. Running frequently will burn excess calories to make this happen, but I should also be mindful of my diet. In 6 months, I would love to be able to run 5 km without needing to stop.”
See? It’s so much less daunting and so much more achievable when your strategy is right in front of you!
3. Purposefully add your workouts to your established daily routine
No matter how fun and spontaneous you are, human beings are generally acknowledged to be creatures of habit. We are much more psychologically inclined to form a habit when the desired behaviour is repeated in a pattern. This means that, if you want working out to become a habit, you should start out by doing the same activity at the same time for the first little while.
Whether you choose a morning, afternoon, or evening workout, try to stick to that where possible. You can start mixing it up when you’re feeling comfortable in your routine. It may also help you to replace another, less healthy habit with working out. Maybe you watch an hour of television a day. On workout days, try to replace that hour with light exercise while listening to a podcast.
It may be beneficial for you to write down a schedule, as we tend to commit more to the goals we’ve set on paper. You can even ask a close friend or family member to check in periodically to see if you’re on track, as motivation.
4. Stay hydrated
The number one reason new athletes feel awful after their first few attempts at working out isn’t stiffness. It’s actually dehydration! Even if you’re a usually well-hydrated person, exercising uses up a significant amount of your body’s H20 content. So, it’s crucial that you drink more water than you might think you need in order to keep your levels balanced.
It can cool you down and refresh you during a sweaty workout; give you the motivation to complete one more set of your chosen exercise; and help aid in recovery, which is what will build your fitness faster, and get you flying towards your goals.
5. Find a warm-up that works for you and stick to doing it
We know – exercising before exercising sounds kinda counterintuitive, right? Wrong! A gradual warm-up will help your muscles loosen up for greater athletic performance, allowing you to push harder and do more. A good warm-up will make you much less susceptible to getting a sports injury, which can be quite common for beginners.
You’ll also be significantly more mobile and flexible as you move, which might make the workout itself feel much better. Warming up makes you more excited for your workout, too! Don’t know how to warm up? Start by doing “easy versions” of the workout you have planned. For example, if you plan to run, start with a 500 m walk, or if you plan to do weighted squats, start by doing them unweighted.
Everybody’s exercise journey starts somewhere. Even the fittest, strongest athletes were once beginners. We know it can be daunting throwing yourself into something new, especially when everyone around you seems to know what they’re doing.
That’s why we think the best way to start exercising and build up the momentum to keep it part of your lifestyle is by choosing products and equipment from Trojan Health and Fitness. Our products combine efficiency, durability and affordability with top-quality craftsmanship and service.
See what we have on offer when you view our product catalogue or stop in at your nearest Game or Makro to see our range in person. You can also create and visualise a digital replica of your home gym with our Virtual Gym Builder, so you can plan your future in fitness way ahead!