While making the decision to begin working out can be difficult, sticking to it can be even more difficult. This is a simple and easy guide for people seeking beginner’s workout tips and for those who want to start exercising to live a healthier life.
The benefits of exercise are both well-known and well-documented. Exercise is that elixir of life that can enhance our physical and mental health and increase our life expectancy. And yet, many among us still wonder whether we should start working out or not.
The fear is understandable. There are simply too many fitness options out there. Most of the fitness language sounds strange, scary, and intimidating.
The filtered world of the internet and social media doesn’t help. Those health and fitness influencers make it seem like fitness isn’t meant for everyday people.
If you are a beginner or someone who is yet to begin working out regularly, Then you have landed at the right place. This article exclusively talks about “how to get fit for beginners”. Below is a list of at home/gym beginner workout tips and goals to start exercising now.
How should beginners workout?
Starting a regular, long-term fitness routine requires determination and commitment. Thankfully, it isn’t impossible to get your brain to commit to your new fitness choices. Follow these steps to start a beginner’s workout routine that will stick with you in the long run:
- Assess your goals: Assessing your goals beforehand can help you in successful achievement of goals as you progress. So before setting goals, think that why do you want to begin working out? What physical, mental, or other benefits do you hope to reap from this?
- Assess your life: Know yourself and your lifestyle before setting up a workout routine. Chart out your daily routine, your diet, your updated health profile. This will help you create a fitness plan that suits you.
- Design your workout plan: Don’t do this alone. Enlist the help of your doctor or your gym trainer. They will have a better perspective on what works for different lifestyles and body types.
- Write, Write, Write: One cannot overestimate the power of writing and verbalizing. Write down your goals, your plans, and your requirements. As you progress, chart out your milestones.
- Slow steps first: Make sure your initial workout is simple, easy, and not too demanding on your body or your time.
- Gather your gear: If you are planning to join a gym, you might not need to buy equipment. Invest in a good pair of shoes, depending on the type of workout you plan to pursue. Buy comfortable gym wear.
- Mix things up initially: When you begin working out it’d be a good idea to fit different workout styles into your weekly plan. This way, in a couple of weeks you will have a better idea of what exercise style works for you.
- START: Do not delay your plans. You risk giving up on the idea of beginning to work out.
What are the benefits of exercise?
There is no dearth of evidence to prove the benefits of exercise on the human body. You are probably aware of most of them already. Here is a broad division of the benefits of exercising:
Physical benefits of exercising
Exercise, coupled with a balanced diet is your best bet to shed those extra pounds. If you stick to your exercise routine you will find it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Not to mention, you will go about each day feeling light and energized.
Regular exercising is known to improve both muscle mass and bone density. If bulked-up, beefy muscles, or washboard abs and toned legs are your dreams, hit the gym now!
Research shows that exercising regularly can considerably reduce the risk of fatal heart diseases. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle have also been linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
Additionally, working out regularly is believed to enhance sexual health, as per a research National Library of Medicine: Exercise for Mental Health. This might have some connection to the impact of regular exercise on a person’s mood and mental health.
Mental benefits of exercising
When you start working out you will begin to feel its impact on your overall mental state. Several forms of exercise release endorphins and other good hormones in the body. This automatically results in better moods and reduced stress levels.
A few weeks into your new lifestyle, you will find yourself sleeping better and waking up refreshed. Exercise has a positive effect on sleep, thus ensuring the body has fully rested and recovered.
Certain types of exercise are known to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Research HelpGuide: The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise says that people with specific conditions like ADHD, Dementia, cognitive impairment, and so on can benefit from regular exercise.
Simply achieving a healthy and toned body alone provides most people a boost in self-confidence. This goes a long way in improving one’s overall mental state.
Different types of beginner’s workouts
Beginners who decide to work out need to figure out what kind of workouts suit them. It is important to pick out a fitness program according to one’s goals, lifestyle, and health conditions. Here is a broad division of the types of workouts beginners can pick from:
- Cardio: The cardio exercise list includes all kinds of continuous activities that can get your heart and breathing rate high. Ex: Jogging, hiking, swimming, dancing, and cycling.
- HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training involves alternating high-intensity exercises with low-intensity exercises or a resting period.
- Strength training: Exercises designed to improve strength and endurance. Ex: Weight training, Isometrics, or Calisthenics.
- Flexibility workouts: These include exercises that are aimed at stretching and loosening up the body. Ex: Gymnastics, Yoga, Tai chi.
- Stability/Balance-oriented workouts: Workouts aimed at strengthening core muscles to strengthen the body and center it. Ex: Pilates and some forms of Tai chi and Yoga.
All the above workout types can be practiced separately or in some combinations. Speak to a doctor, or a trainer before choosing an exercise style for yourself.
Best exercises to start with
Beginners should put in a little time and effort to pick the right forms of workout to begin with. Consider your fitness goal, physical limits (yes, limits first), and your interests. Pick a workout that is easy enough, but also manages to excite you.
Make sure that the first exercises you pick do not demand too much of your time and money. Such exercises will be difficult to stick to in the long run, thus ruining your plan of living a fit lifestyle. Let’s consider a few examples of easy and effective forms of beginner exercises.
Walking is among the best exercises to start with. It is extremely easy to incorporate walking into your daily routine.
If you are the busier type, try substituting one commute with walking. You can walk to school, work or shopping. You might reach your destination sooner if you ditch your chauffeur-driven car stuck in traffic, and walk instead.
If you are stuck at home for some reason, you can still incorporate walking into your daily routine. If you can invest in a treadmill, try doing so. If you cannot do that, just look for a quite safe lane near your home and start walking.
Consider downloading an app to monitor your steps, your breath, pulse, and so on. Based on the data it provides you, try to increase your steps, speed, and challenge levels. Incorporate brisk walking and aim for at least 10,000 steps per week in the long run.
Walking is also a form of cardio exercise. If you wish to take it up a notch higher, try jogging, swimming, or dancing instead. It’s okay to start with an extremely small duration like 15-20 minutes. But make sure to increase your duration as the weeks progress.
Try the same slow progression technique if you have opted for gym-based cardio workouts like stair-climber, elliptical, and so on.
Strength training does not have to be either confusing or scary for the beginner. Ideally, a beginner should start with compound exercises that can work different muscle groups simultaneously. This way you can build up the strength required to try isolated exercises, focusing on separate parts of the body.
Choose a weight that you are fairly comfortable with. Start doing 10-12 reps in a single set. Do this at least twice a week for visible results.
Yoga is among the easiest and safest forms of exercise for beginners. It provides many physical and mental benefits. Most Yoga poses require you to stretch and breathe mindfully. The result is that, unlike other workout disciplines, Yoga will not leave you with sore muscles and beginner’s body aches.
Beginners usually prefer to try Hatha Yoga, or such other simpler yoga forms. It is slow-paced and well suited for beginners who haven’t tried any other forms of exercise.
If you wish to increase the intensity as you go on, you can opt for more vigorous formats such as Hot-Yoga, Power-Yoga, or Vinyasa Yoga.
Beginners workout – tips and tricks
Beginners usually have a lot to battle out within their minds before starting to exercise. Several fears like fear of failure, injury, or burnouts can come in the way of hitting the gym. Keep the below mentioned working out beginner tips in mind if you are a planning to start working out:
- Pre-prep your workout gear: if you prepare your clothes, shoes, equipment, and your meal, you will find it difficult to avoid working out.
- Warm-up and cool down: Do not jump straight into your workout. Do not snap out of it suddenly. Try mild stretches, jogs, and other easier exercises before and after your workout.
- Assess your body to avoid health issues: Your body can do some things and cannot do some others. Your body might need some exercises and might not need certain others. Don’t force it into anything.
- Go Slow: Especially, if you are using some equipment. Give yourself time to ease into it. Follow the same rule with your exercises
- Master the basics: It is important to understand the most basic moves like squats, jogs, and presses beforehand. Take time to do these flawlessly, so you can avoid injuries and balance issues in the future.
- Limit your expectations: Nothing works overnight. Exercise takes time to show those promised benefits. The time it takes might also depend on a combination of different things. Your physical conditions, lifestyle, and the type of exercise you have chosen will decide the benefits you reap.
- Eat Right: All that exercise will fail to turn that belly into washboard abs if you do not eat a healthy diet. Don’t stuff yourself with more loaded burgers than your workout sessions can burn.
- Don’t Compare: Whether it is your body, your health, or the results of your workouts, avoid comparisons. Everybody starts from the first step. A lot of failed steps lead up to the Instagrammer-levels of perfection you see on the internet.
Tips to stay motivated for exercise
Beginning a fitness routine is far easier than sticking to one for life. It is important to plan ahead on how to deal with the mental roadblocks that could destroy your resolve. Try these HelpGuide: How to Start Exercising and Stick to It tips and tricks to keep you hooked on to your fitness routine for life:
Work it into your everyday routine
Your workouts should be planned in such a way that they become a part of your daily or weekly schedule. If you have to struggle to make time for workouts every day, this process can exhaust you.
If you are a busy person, keep a monthly planner journal. Jot down every activity for each day. Leave enough space for work, workouts, leisure, and unforeseen developments. This way, your workout schedules will have been pre-planned.
Try positive reinforcement
Our minds respond naturally to positive reinforcements. Fear of bad health and out-of-shape bodies can go only so far in pushing you to sweat it out. Try to connect your workout sessions with a treat instead. Watch your favorite show or listen to your favorite music during a workout.
Lily Collins from ‘Emily in Paris’ speaks of how having a bunch of girlfriends join her at workout makes it fun. She loves to fill up on her morning cup of tea and conversations at the barista outside her gym. Try something similar to make workouts a happy time for you.
Make it a group activity
Get your closest buddies to join you in for your workouts. Make it a regular weekend meet-up thing for all of you. If you do not have buddies who can join you, try to find fitness communities that share your interests.
Team sports can be a great way to combine fitness with social bonding. Try to get outdoors and play sports like soccer, baseball, or basketball.
Keep a journal
Tracking your successes and failures is the best way to stay motivated. Keep an online or a physical journal and make a note of your workouts, your food, and your physical parameters like weight, BMI, blood pressure, and so on.
How much should you workout as a beginner?
A study Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: Physical Activity Guidelines recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75-minutes of vigorous activity per week. Beginners can target 30 minutes of moderate activity per day for 3-4 days a week.
What kind of diet should beginners have while working out?
If you are a beginner, it is as important to ensure that you don’t remain hungry, as it is to ensure a healthy diet. Working out is bound to make you hungry, so incorporate one source of protein in every meal.
Add fiber to your diet. It will make you feel full and reduce cravings. Invest time and money into choosing a healthy snack.
Stay hydrated with a lot of water and healthy juices, smoothies, and protein shakes.