There are so many avenues one can take when beginning an exercise program. Gyms of all interests and skill levels can lead to confusion. There are traditional gyms, group fitness gyms, CrossFit, Zumba, Boot Camps, and on and on. Break them down further and there is strength training and bodybuilding, there are high-intensity programs, machine specific and cardio specific. On top of all these, there are tons of home DVD programs, YouTube videos, and apps. I’m getting confused myself just writing about it.
How do you know if you are doing the right workout program?
On one hand, maybe you don’t. On the other, if you enjoy the program you are doing, having some fun and feeling some results, this is a program to stick with. It doesn’t mean that you can’t try something different.
My Top Exercise Tips for Beginners:
- Start slowly at first. You don’t want to get too soar at first. However, this is a time when you could get soar easily since you haven’t done much ever or in a long while. Take it easy at first and work your way into it. If you get too sore at first, you might get discouraged.
- Always warm up before you begin your exercise program. Warm up on the bike or treadmill or if you are at home, you can do jumping jacks. Ideally, you want to work up a light sweat so you know your muscles and joints are warm. This not as important if you have worked all day versus if you workout first thing in the morning. Light stretching after warming up is recommended.
- Make sure you perform each exercise or movement slowly and under control. I’ve seen too many people lift a weight and then practically drop it at lightning speed. Your muscles work more on the way down than on the way up. (Exercises aren’t always up and down). Think of it also as the return part of the movement that brings it to completion.
- Even though you are a beginner, don’t be afraid to break a sweat. It is very important that you feel yourself working and feeling the resistance. A friend of mine gets on the treadmill every morning, goes at a snail’s pace and never breaks a sweat. You guessed it, never even remotely improves her fitness. That’s a huge waste of time and effort. Sure it’s easier than working harder, but what is the point? You do want to improve your fitness right?
- Know that even though you are a beginner, you must be consistent. Do Not miss just because you are tired or get lazy.
- Don’t buy into the 3 days per week idea that has been the “gold standard” for decades. Five days a week even as a beginner is key to your success and seeing results. Getting fit as a beginner is much easier if you don’t skip workouts.
- If a weight or resistance level seems too easy, just stick with it for now and see how your body reacts tomorrow and the next day. I once did Kettlebell swings and was feeling so good that I did approximately 300 front swings. I felt great! The next day and the day after, I was so sore I could hardly move. What should I have done? I should have done maybe 40-50 swings and been done. Then, monitored my recovery and soreness levels. Three or four days later, do it again by adding 10-15 swings and monitor it again. After a progression of this and getting used to it, then you can do more, go heavier, do it more frequently etc.
- Remember the Rule of 2’s: Don’t do 2 many, go 2 heavy or workout 2 frequently until you have tested and monitored your soreness and recovery. Then you will have a baseline for progression. This one is a very important exercise tip for beginners.
- Always start slowly and work your way into more; whether it be more weight, more reps or both, you must progress slowly and in an intelligent manner if you are a beginner or if you have been off for an extended period of time.
- Be consistent. I know, I’ve already mentioned this one. It’s the most important factor assuming you are being safe and following good exercise technique.
- Learn the proper techniques. There are many videos out there.
- Soreness is OK. Popping, stiffness, grinding, sharp pain or anything that just doesn’t feel right should be closely monitored.
- Don’t believe that you have to do just cardio machines and you’ll get fit. In fact, if you do only cardio machines, without any resistance training, you’ll never get fit. You’ll get somewhat in shape, but not fit. If you’re in shape, you can go for a decent amount of time on the cardio machine. If you are fit, you have gotten stronger, you can lift and carry things, you can bend over and pick things up, you don’t fatigue easily, you can do at least one pull-up and several push-ups, You can do several exercises back to back to back. If you’re fit, you can do more around the house such as yard work or furniture moving. You can do more at work if you are fit.
- Exercise does not work nearly as effectively as it can unless you have a very good eating plan.
These are just some considerations to keep in mind. This is not meant to be a comprehensive how-to guide or workout tips guide relating to program design and exercise demonstrations. Hopefully, this has given you a few exercise tips for beginners to think about and work on.
Click here for a great beginner program if you don’t have one.