The world has seen an exponential increase in the number of people vouching for physical fitness in the past decade. If you look up the word “fitness” on Google, you will find around 4 billion search results and hundreds of thousands of equipment and gadgets for sale online. And if you ask around verbally, everyone will give you different advice on how to start working out.
If there are a thousand different diet plans, then there are triple the number of workouts. Now for someone who is just starting out, this can be really intimidating. Physical fitness is so hyped nowadays that if one isn’t careful, they will end up doing something completely different from what they intended to.
I am writing this article because I have personally experienced the enormity of the entire fitness trend. And believe me, an overwhelming amount of information as is available on the internet can do you more harm than good. So if you are a novice too, here are a few things to keep in mind before you start working out-
Have a goal in mind
It is important for you to identify the reason why you want to be fit. Be truthful to yourself as to why you want this. Maybe you want your body to look a certain way, or you want to impress someone. Or maybe you just want to be stronger, or more flexible. The reasons can also go beyond just your body. Maybe you just need a way to release the pent-up energy inside you or relieve yourself of stress.
Figure out YOUR personal reason to go down the fitness road. Even if you are just doing it because others are, admit it to yourself. Your goal will help you tailor your fitness regime. It will help you do exactly what is best suited for your needs. So have a clear picture of your end goal in mind.
Clear your schedule
If you’re committing to working out, then make sure to have no obstacles that stop you from doing so. Clear some space in your daily schedule for your workout session. Adjust your daily workout at some time in the day when you know you will be free. When you do this, you can’t make any excuse to yourself for not working out.
Find a time slot as per your daily routine, and dedicate it to your workout. If you have trouble remembering, put it on your calendar or set an alarm. The key is for you to make working out a habit, just like how you brush your teeth every day. When you do something consistently at the same time, it becomes a habit. And once it becomes a habit, you will never look back from your fitness journey.
Get help from the experienced
This is literally the best thing you can do. When in doubt, seek professional help. You can either seek help from a gym trainer, join a fitness class. There are also a lot of apps available on Play store and iTunes, but they may confuse you since you are just beginning. Ask someone who has been working out for a long time to help you out. Tell them about your goal in the minutest detail, and together tailor out a custom fitness plan for yourself.
The more experienced your advisor, the better it is for you. They will also tell you where you are going wrong and help you correct your techniques. You will not just be saved the trouble of doing the requisite research, but also achieve your goals faster.
This point is especially important if you aren’t seeking any professional help. It is important to know your fitness level before starting any workout. You shouldn’t assume that you can do 300-pound deadlifts like your favorite powerlifter on the first day. Take it slow and steady. You may feel bored and want to jump right away to the “cool” stuff, but trust me when I say, don’t. If you do, you will only end up injuring yourself.
Give yourself time to adjust to the workout. Once you are comfortable doing what you are, then go for something more challenging. Get the basic postures and techniques right before trying anything more advanced. The cool stuff that you see on Instagram is done by people who have been working out for years. Gauge your fitness level, and tailor your workouts accordingly to prevent injuries.
Don’t try to show-off
This point is kind of an extension of the above point. Don’t lift heavy weights if you have zero experience with the lighter ones. Similarly, don’t do fancy exercises like pistol squats if you haven’t even perfected your basic squats. Fancy exercises are only done by fitness models and people who need a bigger challenge.
If you have been working out long enough, then go ahead and show off the fancy exercises you can do. But if you are a beginner, just don’t try. You will only end up making a fool of yourself. Commit to your goal, practice the basics to perfection, and then show off.
Don’t neglect nutrition
Nutrition is an extremely important part of any fitness regime. You cannot, just CANNOT exercise away a bad diet. In every fitness regime, workouts account for only 30% of the output. Nutrition is what accounts for the remaining 70%. A common misconception that beginners have is that if they work out, they can eat anything they want. That is NOT true. You need to eat within a caloric range according to your height, weight, and activity level.
Unless you are an athlete or insane, you will not burn more than 500 calories in your workout. So if you are working out and then relishing a couple donuts immediately after, you may just have ruined your workout. Again, if you are not getting enough protein to fuel your workouts, and the right amount of every vitamin and mineral, you may not see results fast enough. So just don’t neglect nutrition. At all.
The process of changing your body in any way is not an easy process. There are hundreds of internal mechanisms in play. It also depends on the amount of exertion you put on your body and your nutrition. Don’t think that you will start looking like a model after a few weeks of working out.
Body transformations happen over the course of many months or even years. So if you cannot see any visible progress, don’t be disheartened. It does NOT mean that you are doing something wrong. Just stay committed and be consistent. If you are doing the right workouts, you will surely start seeing progress after a month or two.
A beginner cardio workout
Cardio is generally resented by many because of the muscle loss it causes. However, cardio is your best option if you have a lot of weight to lose. So here are some cardio exercises you can do to shed that fat fast-
- Walking- When in doubt, walk. You can burn approximately 200 to 350 calories per hour just by walking. Many professional lifters and fitness trainers also walk a lot every day to burn calories and get their cardio of the day done.
- Skip rope– This is one of the most calorie-torching cardio exercises. Just 15 minutes of skipping can burn more than 200 calories. So do, DO give it a try.
- Running– If you feel like walking isn’t good enough, go for a run. It will burn twice the amount of calories and even strengthen your legs. However, be careful because running directly impacts your joints and can cause injury if you run too hard.
- HIIT– High-Intensity Interval Training is an all-time favorite with the fitness freaks of the world. It burns way more calories than regular cardio, and keeps them burning till after you stop working out. HIIT sessions are short but extremely effective, and they don’t cause muscle loss. So do give it a try.
- Sports– Take up any sport at a local stadium, club, or your school/college (if you are a student). Sports are fun, and they are a great way to burn calories without feeling bored. It will also boost your social life, so yay!
- Dancing– This is another fun way to burn calories. You can take a dance class, or just put some music on in your room and start moving. Make sure to really tire yourself out and really MOVE. The more you move, the more calories you burn.
A beginner workout for muscle tone
There are a few basic exercises that you will find in every body-sculpting and strengthening fitness regime. So if you just do these exercises with perfect form, you will see great results. Here goes the list-
- Pushups– This is, no question, one of the best exercises for upper body strength and muscle tone. They target your arms, your chest and your shoulders. And they look easy, but even people who have been working out longer than you have, find them difficult to do.
- Tricep dips- These are a seemingly easy yet tough to master exercise. Tricep dips, as the name suggests, target your triceps, and if done with the perfect form, your chest muscles. Everyone struggling with baggy arms, tricep dips are for you.
- Bicep curls– Want toned and lean arms? Do these. All you need is a pair of dumbbells or just two filled water bottles. Grab one in each hand, do a few sets, and you will be surprised at how effective such a simple exercise is.
- Hip thrusts– A strong, shapely pair of glutes isn’t just visually appealing but also essential for back health. And what better way to strengthen them than this awkward yet super effective exercise?
- Squats– This popular exercise targets your thighs and your glutes. It’s just like sitting in a chair, except well, there is no chair. Squats are great for lower body toning, and should definitely be included in every fitness regime.
- Lunges– They are another effective lower body exercise targeting your glutes and thighs. Combine a squat and a lunge, and you have the perfect move for amazingly toned legs.
- Planks– They are an extremely effective exercise for sculpting rock-hard abs. If you can hold a plank for more than a minute, it signifies insane ab strength. They also target your arms to some extent, especially if you introduce certain variations.
- Crunches– They are an amazing ab centric exercise if you are looking for a sculpted stomach. Pair them up with a calorie deficit high protein diet and a proper workout regime, and you have the perfect recipe for amazing ab definition.
I could go on and on, but these are the best exercises in the market, sufficient for muscle tone. You can make them more challenging by adding weights for greater resistance or doing some “fancy” variations.
Now that you have enough material, get off your couch and start working out!