How to Start Exercising and Change Your Life in the Process
At the time of writing this article, it's just past the holiday season into January 2013. People are getting back to work, college, university, school or whatever they do on a daily basis, carrying with them the extra weight they've put on from indulging in tons of food during Christmas, as you do.
But, how many people have made the new years resolution to start exercising? Get a gym membership? Start lifting weights? As usual, many have, and just as many quit within the first few months...but that's not going to be YOU!
In this article I hope to help you get a good running start into exercise whether this is your first time exercising seriously or whether you've just been letting yourself go for a while.
Let's do it!
Setting a Goal
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Goals help us feel that we have achieved something which in turn boosts our motivation, more motivation means it is more likely you will continue to see your fitness journey continue.
What I want you to do it set 2 goals, a short-term goals and a long-term goal.
You should already know what your long-term goal will be, why do you want to start exercising?
To lose weight? To gain muscle? To become more healthy? To look more attractive?
This is your long term goal, keep this one in mind every time you exercise, the reason you are doing this, and look forward to it. With enough effort, it will become a reality, believe it.
Next is your short term goal which should change every few weeks or months. This could be to lose a certain amount of weight, to see your abs in the mirror, to last longer on the treadmill, to be able to manage a certain amount of reps at a certain weight. Anything you can achieve which brings you closer to your long term goal.
For example, taking the bodybuilder approach, I wanted to gain muscle and notice the difference. So my goal was to see a difference in the mirror every month or so. Seeing this difference every month made me think "Wow look what I've managed this month, imagine what it will be life another month down the line!"
Achieving these short term goals are healthy for the body and mind and will increase motivation, bringing you closer to your long-term goal.
Believe you can do it, because you can, you will, only you can make it happen, so do it!
Depending on what your long-term goal is, you are going to need equipment in which to achieve it most of the time. The easiest way to gain access to cardio equipment, weights and sometimes a swimming pool is to join a local gym. I recommend you visit all the gyms in your area and ask if you could have a look around the place to view the equipment. Usually this isn't a problem and the staff will let you survey the place.
If you're looking to lose weight as your long-term goal you want to focus mostly and cardio so you should be looking out for Treadmills, Rowing Machines, Step Machines, Stationary Bikes, Elliptical Machines etc. If you don't know what some of these machines are, just give them a google and have a look out for them when you visit your gym. You'll also want to do a little weightlifting to tone your muscles, so make sure the gym has free weights like dumbbells and barbells!
Bodybuilders will want a bench to work with dumbbells and barbells. They will also want to have a host of weight machines such as Smith Machine, Cable Machine, Squat Rack, Leg Press, Chest Press, Shoulder Press and such. Once again a quick google will show what each of these look like, or you could ask a member of staff to list the machines they have. You will also have to do some cardio so a couple of the machines listed in the previous paragraph will do the trick.
Going to your gym or place of exercise 3-5 times a week is all well and good but you're gonna need a plan to follow every time you are there.
A website I always refer to when looking for a workout plan is: www.MuscleandStrength.com
Their Workouts section has over a thousand different workouts for all levels of fitness and for all different kinds of development. I suggest browsing their website and finding a workout to suit your needs and giving it a try for at least a few weeks, it might be just right for you.
Alternatively some gyms will help you make a workout plan with an experienced instructor. This can be great too, I recommend trying both to see what suits you best.
Once you've decided on a plan, keep at it for about a month and if it yields results, great! If not, go ahead and try another, we're all different, there isn't a one size fits all, but there are plenty of effective workouts to try!
Diet is as important as working out, a lot of people don't realise this and don't get the results they want so please do take diet seriously.
The main thing about diet is controlling calories. You need to be consuming less calories than you are burning to lose weight and vice versa. So with this in mind, those trying to lose weight should eat less calorie high foods and bodybuilders should consume more calories than burned so muscle can be developed.
Those trying to lose weight should aim to eat less ready/frozen meals and more fruit, veg, and lean meats. Don't even touch fast food, that stuff is not only fatty, it's just generally unhealthy for you.
Those trying to gain muscle should do the same as above, though try to consume a fair amount of protein for muscle growth through meat, nuts and even protein shakes if you can afford them.
I recommend doing a bit of internet research on dieting to learn more about what kinds of substances in your food that you want to maximise and minimise.
Motivation from Others!
So you see it can be done, anyone can achieve the body they want, but only YOU can make it happen.
It will change your life, you will live longer, you will look better, you will feel better and I think you will find fitness fun whether that be from the get go, or after you achieve your long-term goal.
What have you got to lose? Get to it!!