Women's Fitness For Beginners
Many women desire to begin exercising. They may have different motives; to get healthy, lose weight, have fun, get stronger and so on. Unfortunately, many of these women simply don't know where to start and this prevents them from reaching their fitness goals.
Join A Gym!
While a gym is not required to work out or get in shape, it is ideal. Not only is there a wide variety of equipment and machines, but most gyms also offer trainers, group and private lessons, or at the very least have staff members who can show you how to properly use a piece of exercise equipment. Often you will find that even other gym goers are willing to give advice if you just ask them.
If you aren’t sure which gym to join visit several in the area, ask for a tour, and read reviews online. If you still can’t reach a decision then buy a few day passes and try each one out a few times. (Some facilities do cater specifically to women, and while they are becoming more common they are still quite hard to find).
Have A Plan...
One of the biggest mistake people make is going to the gym without a plan. They end up wandering around, wasting time, and not reaping the full benefits of their work out. Until you feel comfortable coming up with your own routine, I suggest finding a plan on the internet. Some great plans include: Jamie Eason's Live Fit 12 Week Trainer and The Ultimate Beginner's Machine Workout (For Women). Always make sure to record your sets/reps/etc. so you can keep track of your progress.
...And Stick To It.
According to Statistic Brain, 67% of people with gym memberships don't use them. Even if you decide a gym is not right for you and choose to exercise in another form, do not give up! Find ways to motivate yourself. Try working out with a friend or rewarding yourself when you reach a certain goal. If you start to get bored with your routine, switch it up! Everyone has off days, but don't let an off day turn into an off week into an off month and so on. Find out which time of day you feel the best at the gym and consistently go at that time. Exercise is addictive and once you get into the routine you can't imagine life without it!
Don't Forget About Nutrition
Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym...you can't out exercise a bad diet...you get the idea. Nutrition is absolutely crucial no matter what you are trying to achieve, whether it be fat loss, muscle building, or increasing stamina. There are many schools of thought and countless diets out there, but here are some tips I try to follow:
- Eat a small meal every 2-3 hours. Some claim that this boosts your metabolism, but even if that is not true it does prevent you from overeating by preventing you from getting to a ravenous state.
- Drink at least 8 cups of water a day. If you are exercising and sweating a lot then increase this number.
- Get enough protein. The recommended amount for an active person is one gram of protein per pound of body weight.
- Take in enough calories. If you have ever looked around the internet at diets, you have probably seen the number 1,200 as an "ideal" net calorie goal (net calories are the number of calories you consume minus the number of calories you burn). Personally I feel that this it too low. I advise a minimum net of 1,500 calories. This number varies from person to person. To find your net goal, calculate your Basic Metabolic Rate (how many calories you burn when sedentary) then subtract 300-500 calories from that number.
- Record what you eat. This is more of a personal preference. Personally I think it is very useful when trying to lose weight to record your calories, protein, fats, etc.
- Fat isn't always bad! Please, please don't attempt to cut out too many fats! Your body needs fat to function. Avoid too much saturated and trans fat, but be sure to eat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (in moderation). Excellent sources of healthy fats include: avocados, nuts, olive oil, soy, fatty fish (tuna, salmon).
- Treat yourself! If you never indulge in a treat you are much more likely to binge, so feel free to have that ice cream once or twice a week! As long as you measure your portion and are within your calorie range you will not gain weight! (I have a sweet tooth for dark chocolate so I usually have one square each night! It actually contains flavonoids and antioxidants as well as tasting amazing!)
It's A Lifestyle
Ultimately, to be successful you have to be willing to embrace a lifestyle change. Don't think of it as losing weight or toning up for summer, think of it as a start to a happier, healthier, longer life!