So you just started working out? Read this

It’s very exciting when you start exercising. You get a gym membership, buy some new gear, and maybe even look up some exercises on youtube.

I know the feeling all too well. I also know that people tend to jump feet first and make a bunch of mistakes right off the bat. The same thing tends to happen with people who are getting back to exercising after a long break.

Think of this blog post as a short guide to help you get into the groove of an exercise routine without hurting yourself or losing motivation. Here are 6 things you should do before and immediately after you start working out.

Define your goals

The first thing I always advise is that people should identify their goals. Keeping your goals at the top of your mind makes it easier to stick to your commitment without losing motivation.

You may just be working out to support a friend, or looking to get a summer body. Whatever your goals are, defining them ensures that you begin your journey the right way.

As you’ll see, defining your goals will also help you find the best workout routines. If you’re looking to become more athletic, you’ll need different exercises than someone looking to gain muscle bulk.

Even if your goals are as simple as passing the time, getting that clarity will help you pass time more effectively. 

Get a routine

The next logical step is to develop or research some kind of routine. You don’t want to walk into the gym and do whatever looks good.

Sticking to a workout plan makes you more likely to achieve your goals. Without some sort of guide, you’re very likely to ignore some parts of your fitness and stick to only a few exercises. Unfortunately, that only hurts your fitness journey.

You don’t have to hire a personal trainer to get the best routines either. Apps like Freeletics and Gymshark Training have great routines tailored to various goals, and they can help you achieve amazing results.

If you love running, consider getting an app like Runkeeper. It can help you prepare for races, become faster, or just develop a running habit.

Whatever you do, be sure to get some kind of structure for your training and stick with it.

[bctt tweet=”When you first start working out, it’s important to get a routine either through a personal trainer or any one of many free apps. If you don’t, it will take much longer for you to achieve your goals.”]

Ease into it

This is very tempting for people who have worked out in the past. You assume that you can jump back in and pick up where you left off.

But as most people realize, the body doesn’t work that way. The cardiopulmonary endurance or physical strength you’ve built in the past is gone. If you don’t take it easy with your first few sessions, you’re very likely to hurt yourself.

You may also be sore for days, robbing yourself of the motivation or strength to continue with the regime.

That’s why you have to resist the temptation to do everything on your first day, regardless of how strong the urge may be.

More isn’t always better

Spending more time in the gym doesn’t make you stronger, more flexible, or more durable. On the contrary, overtraining can actually slow your progress or render your workout completely ineffective.

Some studies have even shown that overtraining can have a negative effect on health, making you sicker instead of healthier. 

Verywellfit has a very detailed post on the optimal duration for various kinds of exercise. I recommend you check it out if you’re designing your own exercise regime. If you’re using any of the apps I recommended earlier, they will usually have time recommendations for you.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re spending as much time resting as you are exercising, it may be time to pack it up and go home.

[bctt tweet=”More time in the gym doesn’t always equal better gains. On the contrary, overtraining can actually slow your progress or render your workout completely ineffective.”]

Gear does make a difference

Sometimes, we make excuses for why we can’t get started on our goals. One excuse I hear quite often is, I don’t have the right shoes or clothes.

That’s why I always encourage people to work out with whatever gear they have, just so they can get started. But once you get into the groove, the perfect gear can make all the difference. 

Running shoes are lighter, more comfortable, and believe it or not, will help you get faster times. A sports bra gives you extra support, especially with high-impact activities. A tank top will give guys more mobility, good ventilation, and may even give you a confidence boost.

Plus, there’s something about buying a brand new phone holder for running or a Fitbit that feels great. It’s like health shopping!

Keep showing up

[bctt tweet=”Staying consistent with your exercises helps you build a habit. Once formed, you’re more likely to stay the course until you achieve your goals.”]

Most personal trainers will tell you that the one thing keeping clients from achieving their goals is consistency. The very definition of exercise is a structured and repetitive activity that’s aimed at conditioning your body.

You can have the best routine in the world, be supervised by the best trainer, and eat the best possible diet. But if you don’t stay consistent, all that goes out the window.

We all know this but life gets in the way and we eventually abandon our fitness goals. That’s why it helps to develop systems that can keep you accountable. 

One of them is to do exercises you enjoy. If you love the mindfulness and control that comes with yoga, have as many sessions as you possibly can.

Another strategy is to find a workout buddy because having someone committed to the same goal as you can be a powerful motivator.

I’ve found that it’s also helpful to have a workout time. Find a permanent space within your calendar where you can exercise without making a mess of your schedule. The end of the workday and Saturday mornings work best for me.

The bottom line

I’m glad you’re taking these steps towards a healthier you. Hopefully, this blog guide has given you enough information to get started and stay the course. 

Good luck!

Read: 10 reasons why everyone should run a 10k

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