Starting a physical activity routine can be very daunting, especially if it is new to you and you’re unsure where to begin. If you are a bit unfamiliar with how your body moves, and how to use different fitness equipment, it’s easy to feel lost when you start off. Below are some tips for beginning a fitness routine for the very first time:
Having a partner can make things a little less overwhelming. Have a friend or a loved one join you in exploring different activities, learning how to do various forms of physical activity, and ultimately finding something you enjoy!
Find your “why” and set some goals
Many people go into starting a fitness routine with goals of weight loss and changing their body. These goals can be fleeting, and if you don’t see changes fast enough you may want to stop before you’ve even gotten started. Try to think of some reasons why you want to become more active unrelated to altering your appearance. For example: “I want to do pilates because it clears my mind and makes me feel good.”
Goal setting should be individualized to you. It can be as simple as beginning with 5 minutes of exercise and increasing that by 5 minute intervals until you are able to sustain 30 minutes without stopping. It can also be aimed towards a specific skill such as holding a plank for one minute or doing ten push-ups. Find what motivates you!
Try different activities
Try out a variety of different ways to move your body. Don’t like going to the gym? Don’t do it! There are so many different forms of exercise out there! Try different classes, going to the gym, walking, or even at home workouts. Don’t settle for something you don’t enjoy.
Find a time that works for you
Do you like to move in the morning? The afternoon? The evening? Find a time that works best for you and schedule it in! Some of us are early risers, some of us are night owls, so make it work for you. The best time to exercise is the time that you want to and are most likely to stick to your routine.
Doing too much too soon is a great way to burn yourself out, cause injury, or trick yourself into thinking you don’t like physical activity. Start small, set realistic goals, and build from there. Master your form and your movements first - once you start to feel stronger add on!
Take care of your body!!
If you want to really reap the benefits of movement and feel your best, you need to take care of your body! That means staying hydrated and fueling yourself before and after any type of exercise. Make sure you’re always taking small sips of water throughout the day, including while you’re exercising, to stay hydrated.
Don’t skimp on nutrition! Our body needs energy to perform well and that comes from carbs, protein, and dietary fat. Have a small meal or snack 30-60 minutes prior to physical activity (or a regular meal 2-4 hours prior) consisting of protein and carbohydrates. Fuel up afterwards with all three macronutrients. Protein helps to repair microtears in the muscle after exercise and carbs help muscle cells absorb protein. Work on listening to your body more – eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. It sounds so simple, but it’s a challenging task to master. The better you feel, the more motivated you’ll be to move your body!