- Exercise & Fitness
How to Start Working out
Starting an exercise program is quite simple but continuing an exercise program is a tough job. People tend to take a lot of wrong steps that eventually end up in them discontinuing their exercise routine. You might want to look at some of the major problems with starting an exercise plan where I have pointed out the most common problems faced by people when they decide to start working out. Here I have tried to give you enough tools to help you start and continue your exercise program. (Before starting any exercise program, consult your doctor).
Assess your fitness level:
The first and foremost step is to assess where you are on the fitness chart. Here are some fitness tests that you can try to assess how fit you are and what kind of workouts should you start with. If you don’t want to get into the fitness test thing, a very safe bet is to start off with low to medium pace (and low impact) cardio for 10 – 15 minutes. Mind you, this is for an absolute beginner. The idea is to access what is doable for YOU. If you start with too much or too tough too soon, you will probably give up very soon as you won’t really enjoy the workouts. Remember to take your time and get to the level that you want.
Realistic and measurable goals:
Make sure your goals are realistic, achievable and measurable. For example a goal – I need to lose a lot of weight isn’t a great one. It is not time bound, measurable or even realistic (depending on your definition of a lot). A good goal would be – I need to lose 10 lbs of body fat in 3 months. Another example would be to lose 2 inches off your waist in one month. Now these are just examples, but you get the idea. Come up with something that you know you can achieve in a specific time.
Write down everything:
Once everything is on paper, you get serious about it. If you just keep it in your mind, then it’s more of an idea than a plan. So, write everything down, your exercise plan, your diet plan, how you are going to get motivated etc. I would just add one more thing, try to write down everything that you do in a workout e.g. intensity, weights, reps, sets, time etc. As the famous Tony Horton (creator of P90X) says, ‘How will you know what to do, if you don’t know what you did.’ Basically, writing down stuff helps you keep a track of your progress so…DO IT. Alternatively, you may also use a fitness watch or an activity wristband to automatically record your progress, set goals, calculate calories burned and enter your daily diet plans.
Start with something you enjoy doing:
If you don’t enjoy lifting weights, then don’t start with that. The idea is that you first need to take time out of your busy schedule and allocate it to getting fit. The best way to do this is start with some physical activity that you enjoy. Start with a sport that you enjoy or don’t run on a treadmill if you enjoy running in a park. Once your routine is set, then start to experiment with the training programs. Take baby steps and eventually you will be running like an Olympic sprinter.
Tell your friends and family members:
This is a great way to keep you on track. If you tell your family and friends that you are working out an hour a day, people will expect change. You will try to keep doing what you are doing simply due to peer pressure. In most situations, it isn’t a great thing, but in this, it works wonders.
Watch pictures of people whose physiques you admire:
A great way to motivate yourself look at pictures of people whose physiques you want your physique to be like. Just add great motivation to your workouts.
Don't weigh yourself:
Regardless of what ones aim is, people tend to check their weight, before and after every workout. DON’T DO IT. Weight fluctuates very often and it is impossible to keep a track of your progress through you body weight. Plus, consider this. Before you started working out, you were 200 lbs. One month down the line, you feel better, have better stamina, energy and strength, but your weight is still 200lbs. This might be a de-motivating factor for you. You might get less and less motivated to work out because you would think ‘Hey, after all that hard work, I didn’t lose even one pound’. That is wrong. Chances are that you lost fat and gained a bit of muscle and we all know that muscle is denser and heavier than fat. Track your progress using body fat measurements instead of body weight measurements. The last and final advice would be to JUST GET STARTED. You can plan all you want, but if you never start, you will never see any benefits.