How To Start Working Out – 5 Tips!
If you’ve fallen off the wagon, gotten off track, went off the rails, whatever saying you want to use – If it’s been a while, or forever, since you’ve stepped foot in a gym then this article is for you!
Getting back in the gym can be intimidating after taking time off. To ease your transition back to the iron, here are some tips…
1) Ease Into It
This may seem obvious but if you’ve spent much time in the gym before the tendency is to try and do what you were doing before.
If you were bench-pressing 200lbs back in your heyday and tried to do that right away, you could end up with the Olympic bar resting nicely on your jugular with your legs flailing in the air.
Remember, no one else cares how much weight you’re lifting, how fast you’re running, or how long you’re there – seriously! Do not worry about what others think because they likely have the same worries that you do and are concerned about getting through their own workout.
Don’t start off hitting the gym every day, or having 2-hour workouts. You don’t need an ass-kicking right out of the gates.
Your body will respond to much less!
Start out with just a few days per week – let’s say 3 – to get back into the swing of things. You can get familiar with the layout of the gym, figure out which machines will work for what you’re trying to accomplish, and get some blood flow into the muscles again.
The first few workouts will result in some significant soreness. If you push it really hard from day one then you’ll be so sore you likely won’t go back! Take it easy the first few weeks. Get some blood flow and don’t train to failure on your weight training movements.
*Bonus Tip: Motivation is a double-edged sword. It will be high at first and you rely on it to get your butt started, but it can also get you into trouble.
You can easily bite off more than you can chew (200lb bench press fiasco), and quickly get discouraged, or worse, get hurt!
Motivation WILL waver; so make sure you have good habits in place…read on!
2) Seek Out Help
If you are unfamiliar with what you should be doing and how you should be doing it, then the likelihood of you sticking to a routine over time is very low….because there is no routine and you’re just winging it!
We all know someone who has some knowledge about fitness. I’ve had so many old faces from high school and even junior high, which through the beauty of social media were able to see what I offered and hit me up. I am always willing to give advice to anyone that asks.
Us fitness people tend to post about being fitness people quite a bit…
Hey, could be a great way to reignite old friendships.
Getting help from experts can be the make or break point in all of this.
Most people have no idea what to do in the gym. A recent study showed that over 80% of those polled did not know what to do in the gym, and that’s what kept them out of it.
Many will wander around, look towards the weight training area, quickly turn around and walk out or settle for one of the cardio machines.
3) Don’t get caught up in the Details
Clear advice can be very difficult to find – especially when it comes to fitness and nutrition.
There are contradictions all over place! All with clinical studies to back them up.
Should you eat carbs or bag them all together? What’s with this Keto diet everyone is touting? Should I do HIIT training? Should I not do cardio? Should I do more cardio?
Will Crossfit tear my rotator cuffs, herniate a disc, blow out my knees, and break my wrists? Probably
Maybe none of that even makes sense and you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about!
Just breathe for a second and don’t make this a stressful thing.
The details do not matter at first. What matters is getting started. The details will come later and will be easier to understand and implement.
4) Set a consistent schedule
One of the best ways to make exercise a habit is to go at the same time every day.
Are you a morning person? A night owl? When are you most effective?
Maybe your schedule doesn’t really permit you to choose.
If your schedule is unpredictable and you plan on going to the gym when you can…then guess what? You’ll never go!
If you don’t work a 9-5 or similar fixed schedule then you should definitely go in the morning.
Hitting it first thing will allow you to stay consistent and get your workout done before the day gets started. No matter what happens, you got your workout done.
You’ll feel energized for the day and it will ignite your motivation. You will also be more likely to keep to your diet.
Set your alarm, get your ass out of bed and get it done!
If you can’t wake up early and your schedule allows then go after work. But don’t go home first! Bring your gym clothes with you and head straight to the gym after.
Don’t. Miss. Workouts.
You can skip one day, but not two days in a row!
Some of my best workouts have happened on days I really didn’t want to go. Go through the motions, if necessary. The energy will build and you can end up having a great workout and reversing the trajectory of your day.
5) Manage Expectations
Don’t expect perfection and don’t expect instant success.
Those two things are killers for your fitness goals!
Life happens and we all trip and fall from time to time, but this does not mean failure.
If your car gets a flat tire, what do you do? You don’t go and pop the other 3 and burn the car to the ground. You put on the spare and get back on the road.
Fitness is no different.
You have an unplanned cheat meal, or take a bite of cake at an office birthday party, or maybe you finish off your kids macaroni and cheese.
Years of bad habits are what got you here; you can’t expect to turn that around overnight. Give it time; focus on making good decisions and pretty soon those bad habits will be replaced with good ones.
Social media these days paints a pretty good picture. Everyone shows their highlight reel and boasts of all the positive things they have going on in their lives. Well at least most of the time…
Transformation pictures can be incredibly inspiring, but they can also be incredibly discouraging.
All you see is the before and after. What you don’t see is all the work that went into making that happen.
We all progress at a different pace, and a slow pace is not inferior to a fast pace. If someone got there quicker than you, so what!
It doesn’t mean they worked harder, sacrificed more, or are “lucky”.
It was just a different journey.
You’re on yours, focus on you.
If you need help getting started with any of this we’d be happy to help!