A Beginners Guide to Fitness
The number of people that are overweight or obese is increasing in the UK, so it is clear from this that people are not eating the right things, or the right sized portions, or simply not doing the right amount of exercise.
Knowing where to start with exercising can be tough. If you are overweight, going to a gym can often be intimidating, but really this should not be the case. Just bear in mind and remember that it is never too late to get in shape, so whether you want to embark on a fitness plan to lose weight, improve your stamina, or up your strength and suppleness, we have the perfect tips for beginners, which will help you to get in shape properly, safely, and more importantly, enjoyable.
Start by recognising that this will be a start of a new chapter. Getting fit is a lifestyle change. It might be that you have previously tried to get in shape and not succeeded, so think back to what went wrong, to help you learn what mistakes to avoid this time. Get excited about this change though, and instead of focusing on what you will miss; for example certain foods, or the fact that you will have to dedicate time to this new plan, instead focus on the positives – what you will gain; whether this is fitness or a change in your appearance.
Always try and keep three things in the back of your mind at all times, to help keep you on track and to succeed at changing your life; educate yourself properly, and know the best way to get in shape. The more you know, the less likely you will feel self-conscious when you embark on this exciting change; know why you’re getting in shape. Ensure you have goals and your own personal reasons for starting this plan. Make sure they are realistic but ensure you keep this in your head at all times. Finally, make sure you have a good support system around you. Having people to support you in your lifestyle change, can help to keep you motivated and on track.
We have previously mentioned the importance of educating yourself on what you should be doing, and how to create the best fitness plan for you.
Start by picking realistic and smart goals. Make sure that these are very specific, as this helps you to plan more effectively. Know what steps you need to do in order to achieve these plans, whether it is going to the gym a certain number of times a week, or eating more vegetables each week than you had before.
If you have tried doing this a number of times before, and have yet to complete a goal, try setting small achievable ones, which can be changed every 30 days. This will prevent you from losings sight of your end goal, and will actually allow you to achieve more.
However you decide to go about it, you need to ensure that you are deliberate your actions. So, if you are setting goals for yourself, be very specific, and write them down. Add any new activities to your calendar and set alarms to ensure that you are doing them every day. It is so important to bear in mind though that you are embarking on a lifestyle change, and you will not see changes overnight. You have to keep this in your mind though to stay motivated, and you will begin to see and feel changes soon enough.
If you have tried before to get fit, and it has not worked, try and identify the reasons that this happened. By learning and educating yourself on what made you fail previously, will ensure that you do not make the same mistakes again, or if you do face the same hurdles, you can develop ways to overcome them.
Get to know what it means to have a healthy diet. If you are eating healthily, you will far more likely to succeed. There is the age-old saying that you cannot out train a bad diet, but there is a lot of truth in this. 80% of your success will come from your diet – if you are eating badly, you will struggle to do anywhere near enough exercise to try and cater to this.
So, get reading on what makes a healthy diet. Start from the very beginning, and learn why you are eating what you are, as opposed to just eating it because you are told that you should. Discover what the best diet will be for you as well. Whether cutting out a food group will work better, or whether you think that you could benefit more by adding more vegetables to your diet, or simply eating what you are doing, but actually just cutting down on your portion size.
Don’t make the mistake that many people make is to try and make too many changes to their diet all at one time. Your stomach will instantly start craving your comfort food, and you simply will not stick to it. There is an easy way to prevent this. Start initially, by picking one food change every few weeks. All these small changes will soon add up to a big success, often without you even realising it!
Educate yourself on the activities that make you happy and that you enjoy. If you have running, don’t include it on your workout schedule, as it will be all too easy to miss these workouts because you do not find it fun. For all of those people who claim not to like exercise, they just have not found the best one for them yet, as there will be something out there for everyone.
Our bodies have been designed to be active, so if you do not know what you like to do exercise wise, sign up to a few taster classes to help you find something that you enjoy, and then just keep on doing this!
Great exercise choices for beginners
Walking is a fantastic form of exercise and should not be underestimated at all. These days, people rely on their own transport far too much, and very few people actually do the number of steps that they should do in the day.
Instead of driving short distances, begin walking them instead. It will give you a good idea of your fitness level. Don’t push yourself too far too soon. Start off with short walks on easy roads, before building this up. Or get off the bus a stop or two earlier than you normally would and walk the remainder of the journey.
If you are starting right from scratch, walking is a really good starting point. Don’t become disheartened if after your first walk you feel out of breath and your heart is racing because each day, this will improve a little, and before you know it, your fitness would have been improved.
It is also completely free, which is great. Aside from shoes it requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
Yoga is another great beginning point. There is often a lot of misconceptions surrounding yoga, and many people believe that you have to be both super fit and super flexible to get anything out of it, but this is not the truth. Everybody has to start somewhere, and the more you do it, the more flexible and fit you will become.
There are difficult poses that require more knowledge and practise than others, so it is important to find a yoga class for beginners if you choose to join one. Another option is to YouTube beginners yoga, and you can learn some really basic stretches and standing poses, which will initially help you to loosen up and improve your flexibility slightly, all in the comfort of your own home. This might then give you the confidence to move on to a more advanced class, or even to try a new exercise.
As with any exercise though, it is so important to ensure that you are getting into these positions safely and that you are doing them well; so, once you have mastered the really basic stretches, and you have decided if you enjoy it or not, it is really worth joining a yoga class, where a teacher can then guide you through the more complicated poses.
Have a bit of fun with your games console. Wii Fit is an excellent way of building up your fitness in the privacy of your own home without having to worry about people watching you, or not being able to keep up with the class.
There are a lot of fun games on the Wii Fit, which will distract you from the fact that you are actually doing exercise. You can get a friend round and play for 30 minutes, and you would have actually have completed a pretty good workout!
If you are overweight or obese, swimming is a great way to get exercise in without it putting too much pressure on you or your joints. A lot of people get put off going swimming if they are not particularly comfortable with how they look because they have to brave wearing a swimsuit. The truth is though, once you have got through the first couple of times, you will stop caring about this worry, and really, no one will be looking at you – they’re probably all feeling exactly the same as you!
Swimming is a really great way of building fitness – everything is harder in water, even walking, so if you are not the strongest swimmer, start with walking lengths and gradually start adding a bit of swimming when you feel more confident.
It is a great low impact form of exercise; so if you are carrying some extra weight, which has taken its toll on your knees and you are worried about completing exercise; swimming is a really fantastic option.
Buy some weights
Having a set of weights that you can use at your own leisure at home, is a really great idea for anyone who is trying to get into shape. A lot of people – women in particular; get put off using weights for fear that they are going to bulk out too much. In reality, you really would have to be lifting a LOT of weights and to be following a specialist training programme designed to build muscle.
Adding smaller weights to your exercise routine will instead help to make you lean. Dumbbells or resistance bands are great options to keep at home, and you can use them when you are watching the television. For an even cheaper option, you can just use food cans or water bottles as an alternative to weights.
Exercise DVDs are actually a really great, low-cost option, which still allows you to get a great workout in at home. There are so many DVDs out there that you will more than likely find one that really suits your needs and abilities.
You don’t even have to spend any money if you don’t want to. There is a great amount of access to a lot of free workout videos on YouTube, so you can follow them. You can try anything from Zumba to kickboxing, improving your fitness, without even leaving the house.