Fitness 101: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Exercise

Are you finally ready to shed some weight? Or maybe you want to bulk up and feel stronger? It doesn’t matter what your goals are, you must start exercising if you want to achieve good and quick results. So, if you’re an absolute newbie when it comes to working out, here are a few things you must do and know before you start your transformation.

Take a selfie

No, not for Instagram, but for your workout diary! If you want to follow your progress with accuracy, make sure to employ your selfie skills and take a few photos of your body (in your underwear or bathing suit) from all angles. You can also take measurements of your body parts and step on a scale. Down the line, you’ll be doing this every two to three weeks, just to see if any changes are present. If there are, it will be super motivational!

Start small

If you didn’t exercise since high school PE classes, make sure not to get carried away and hit the gym hard. For the first week don’t even go to the gym, but try establishing some new and healthy behaviors like waking up earlier in time for exercise, cleaning out your home of temptations (sweets, junk food) and walking more.

Pick a good fitness plan

Here’s something to keep in mind: Never start working out without a plan. Otherwise, you’ll be walking around your gym like a lost puppy. Knowing you want to lift weights isn’t enough. You need a good workout program that will bring you results no question. If you’re a total beginner, it’s best to try practical personal training before you take over. Working with professionals will definitely bring you closer to your fitness goals while teaching you more about form, exercises, muscle groups and diet. Once your personal trainer puts you on the right path, you can continue on your own.

Learn the proper form

Just grabbing a barbell and going all in is a recipe for disaster. If you’re new to weightlifting, make sure to either hire a good personal trainer or watch a lot of tutorials on basic movements first. For instance, it’s great to start with just your bodyweight or use something light like just a bar, a broomstick or PVC pipe. With squats, deadlifts, bench presses and other similar exercises, good form is crucial for results and for your health.

Prepare for week three

Week three is where most people give up their workouts. So, knowing this will allow you to prep for that dreaded weak and push through it. For instance, you can invest in new workout gear or clothes, spice up your workouts, try a new class, renew your playlist or go get a massage.

Pack like a boss

While your gym isn’t a runway, you still want to be dressed properly. Multipurpose shoes with proper support for your joints and feet (soft soles if you’re running or hard soles if you’re lifting) should be your best friend. Sweat-wicking t-shirt, shorts and socks will also help you stay more comfortable during your workout. And don’t forget to pack a water bottle, your headphones and a notebook for keeping track of your exercises, sets and reps.

Don’t forget about your diet

While exercise is very important for building and toning your muscles and getting that sexy body, it will really not do much for your progress if you’re not following a good diet plan. Actually, only 20% of your progress depends on your workouts—the rest you can owe to healthy eating! What does that mean? Well, it’s best if you start with small changes like ditching liquid calories (sugary Starbucks drinks, Coke and alcohol), ditching fast food and anything overly-processed while concentrating on real food. Also, download a good calorie counting app and try to note everything that you eat in a day, then reduce the number of calories you consume by 500. Usually, if you want to lose one pound of fat in a week, reducing your calorie intake by 500 per day will get you there!

No matter how inexperienced you are in exercising, you will make progress if you follow pointers on this list. Don’t think you’re one of those miracle people who can’t lose weight or put on muscles—you can, as long as you stick to your workout and diet plan. So, stay focused and watch as you slowly reach your goal!

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