With the end of the year upon us, now is the time that everyone starts making their New Year’s resolutions. This probably goes without saying, but the most popular New Year’s resolutions are related to health and fitness. It’s not surprising, as the new year is the perfect time to kick start a new fitness routine.
No matter how excited you, there will probably come a time when you start feeling a bit nervous (and intimidated) about your new adventure. Maybe it’s been a decade since you’ve been to the gym, or maybe you’re just intimidated about trying something you’ve never done before. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.
1. Don’t forget about your nutrition
If you want to get in the best shape of your life, don’t forget about your nutrition. Experts say that nutrition is 75-80% of the weight loss battle. As the saying goes, “you can’t out-train a bad diet.” Your transformation starts in the kitchen, so fuel your body with veggies, fruit, protein, healthy carbs, and healthy fats.
2. Start slow
Everyone has different opinions about this, but my advice is to start slow. If you haven’t worked out in five years, trying to find the time to workout six or seven days a week may be overwhelming. Instead, start with two or three days a week, and then gradually work your way up. Build the habit over time instead of going all in at first.
3. Don’t limit yourself to the gym
Can’t afford a gym membership? Not a big deal. There are plenty of workouts that can be done outside of the gym including yoga, swimming, crossfit, zumba, running, or at-home fitness programs such as 21 Day Fix, Insanity, and P90X from Beachbody.
4. Think about your form
One thing I never really thought about when I started working out was proper form. Hell, I was just happy to be working out, why did form matter? Truth is, form is everything. Proper form prevents injuries, but it also ensures that you get the most out of an exercise. Proper form should always come first – even if it means your range of motion is limited. If you aren’t sure if you’re doing something right, ask a trainer or turn to Google or YouTube for help.
5. Drink water – lots of it
Proper hydration is essential before, during, and after workouts. As a rule of thumb, drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, drink at least 70 ounces of water every day. If you find yourself nauseous or dizzy during or after workouts, it’s likely because you’re losing a lot of water (and in turn, electrolytes). Try adding in a hydration drink (not Gatorade) such as Nuun Active Hydration (my personal favorite) or Beachbody Hydrate.
6. Don’t stick to one type of exercise
Beginners tend to stick to what they know best, and often times, it’s the treadmill or elliptical. And while these machines may be familiar to you, it’s important that you change it up.Doing a workout too frequently means your body will become accustomed to it, meaning at some point, you’ll hit a plateau. Try adding in weights, yoga, pilates, or a group fitness class a few times a week.
7. Get the right shoes
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for fitness shoes, and the type of shoe you’ll need depends on the type of workout you’re doing. For example, the shoes you wear on a run are not the same as those you’d wear for crossfit. The wrong type of shoe can lead to injuries, so make sure you do your research and invest in the proper footwear.
8. Listen to your body
Pain and soreness are completely normal when you start a new workout routine, and it’s a sign that your muscles are growing. However, it’s important to recognize the difference between normal soreness and an injury. It’s different to tell at first, but if the pain is debilitating, you should probably take a few rest days or see a doctor.
9. Take rest days
The more you work out, the more weight you’ll lose – right? Not quite. Rest days are an important part of any workout routine because they give your body time to recover. Overworking your muscles can lead to burn out and injury. If you aren’t comfortable taking full rest days, consider doing an active recovery day where you do a light workout such as yoga, pilates, or walking.
10. Don’t be a slave to the scale
This was one of the hardest things for me to do when I started working out, and there are times I still struggle with it today. The scale isn’t always a clear indicator of your success when it comes to health and fitness. When I did Insanity Max 30, I only lost 2 pounds – but I lost a total of 8 inches on my body, 5 of those were on my waist and chest. Not to mention, I weigh a little less than 10lbs more today than I did in high school, but I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. Forget about the scale. Instead, focus on how you look and feel.