Fitness 101: Rookies Guide to Exercise
If you have finally decided to start working out, good for you! The only thing to keep in mind is that, being a beginner, it will be a challenge to form a habit of exercising. That's why it's necessary to make all the necessary steps to be well-prepared and not to feel discouraged and give up after a week or so.
1. Be realistic - start with 2 workouts a week
Don't get carried away and promise to yourself you'll exercise 4 times a week - you will be in for a disappointment. Your starting goal should be to work out twice a week. It doesn't have to last for more than 30 minutes and it will allow your muscles enough time to recover (you will DEFINITELY be sore). Slowly increase the length and intensity of the exercises and add one more day after a month of a regular workout. Lastly, pick a time of day that really suits you - don't force yourself to get up at 6 a.m. if you're not a morning person.
2. Sign up for beginner classes
If you choose to join a gym, do yoga or aerobics, make sure you sign up for the intro classes. You will have lower intensity classes, the ones you can keep up with. The point is for the exercise to be challenging enough, but not too challenging to make you feel frustrated and discouraged. In case you can't find a beginner class for the activity you're interested in, have a private talk with the instructor and explain to them you're a complete beginner. That way, you'll get modified exercises and longer breaks when you need them. Have in mind that you don't have to force yourself to keep up with the others - follow your own body rhythm.
3. Have a backup plan for less motivating days
No matter how dedicated you are to exercising regularly, there will still be days when you aren't feeling motivated to go to class or exercise. This is why need to have an "insurance policy". Find a friend that also works out and let them know your schedule. Whenever you need a boost, they will encourage you. Also, make sure you always have your gym bag packed and ready. Even if you feel grumpy and lazy 30 minutes before the workout, it will be much easier to push through when you know you just need to put on your shoes and get out with the bag.
4. Invest in good and comfortable clothes and equipment
Finding quality, comfortable clothes is very important - if you don't feel well in your clothes while sweating and working out hard, you won't be very motivated to go on. Supportive athletic shoes are the first step, and don't hesitate to ask the shop assistant for help to find the right size and model. A supportive bra is also extremely important for women, as well as a few sweat-absorbing tops and pants. Many active people find their thighs rubbing very discomforting and even painful, but there will be no chafing if you wear clothing that protects your thighs and skin. Keep in mind that there are products such as No More Chafe that will provide you with the necessary comfort during your training session.
5. Try out different types of workouts to find the best one for you
Don't expect to immediately discover the type of physical activity that suits you. Flirt with different activities in the beginning to determine what really gets you going and what suits your personal taste and abilities. Just don't start with the type of exercise you hate just because others say it's good for beginners or simple. Allow yourself some time to explore. In the end, the best physical activity for you is the one you will keep on doing.
6. Always keep your goal in mind
Identify why exactly you are ready to commit your time to working out. Everybody has some goal they want to achieve, so make sure your goal and your reasons are very clear to you. It's what will help you stay focused and consistent. Whether it's losing weight, gaining strength for physical challenges that are ahead of you or fighting bad mood, your goal is what will keep you on track when a bad day comes.
Working out regularly is all about you and your feelings. Don't be too strict on yourself and never fail to realize that you do it for yourself, not for anybody else. And celebrate every little improvement along the way.
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