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How to get Started Working Out: A Success Guide for Beginners

Updated on April 16, 2013

Simple Steps to Success

There are so many workout options out there and so much information available that the person who is new to working out can get easily overwhelmed and discouraged. I have some ideas and recommendations that should get you off on the right foot, find something that works for you and how you can ultimately be successful on your health, fitness or weight loss journey.

To start with, many of us aren't born natural athletes. This does not mean that you can't find a workout or fitness activity that you will love and morph into an athlete. I've seen it done over and over, and I know it can be true for you as well.

Try different workouts

First, try different workouts before settling on one or two that you enjoy and look forward to. Just like dating to find a partner, you should "date" a few workouts first to find your "soulmate workout". Find a yoga, Zumba, Body Pump, swimming, TurboKick or other classes that you think you might enjoy.

And keep in mind that different teachers have different techniques and personalities, so if you don't bond with one workout or instructor, try it at least once more with another teacher and see if it's a better fit. And take a friend with you too; working out with a buddy makes it more fun and less stressful. There are classes at local Y's, gyms, free Fit Clubs, even Parks and Rec programs, that could really be a good match for you.

Use your free orientation at the gym, or hire a personal trainer

Second, if classes really aren't your thing, but you do want to workout in a gym, many have a complimentary introduction to the machines and equipment, and maybe even a free personal training session. And if they don't, then it would be in your best interest to pay for a session or two to get you on the right track. Walking up to a treadmill or elliptical for the first time can be really intimidating if you don't know how to use them. And let's not even get started on the weight room! Definitely going in with a plan and guidance is the best course of action.

Use At-Home Workouts

My third suggestion is at-home workouts. It's best to find one that has a whole fitness and nutrition element to it, as well as a schedule when to do what workouts. Getting a friend or two to do it with you adds another layer of accountability and motivation, and finding an online support group works wonders too.

Setting SMART Goals

Now, regardless of what form of workout you choose, remember to start off slow. Whether you are starting out as a complete newbie, or once upon a time you were fit and healthy, then life got in the way, starting out slow is a necessity. Many of us get so excited when starting something new, like a workout program or plan, that we tend to overdo it, both physically and mentally. You need to have SMART goals:

  • Specific: what is your short term and long term goals for getting fit and healthy? Make it something that will motivate you to keep going, even when you are sore, tired, bored, or just don't want to. Saying you any to lose weight isn't enough; it has to be something that really tugs at your heart to be meaningful enough to get you moving.
  • Measurable: Your goal has to be measurable. You want to lose 50lbs in 6 months, what are the steps you need to do on a monthly, weekly and daily basis? I would recommend not setting a certain weight loss number a week, because this will fluctuate and you could get discouraged. But you can say you will workout 5 times a week, follow your meal plan, and check in with your coach or accountability partner 3 times a week. Those are good, measurable goals!
  • Active: You need to be actively involved to reach your weight loss and fitness goals. If you want to run a 5K, and you've never been a runner, you can't start running a week before and expect a good outcome. You will need to start weeks or even months ahead and actively work towards that goal every day and week.
  • Realistic: If you want to lose 50lbs, it's not realistic or healthy to try to do it in a months time. You will need to be realistic about the time it will take to lose that weight and set your goals based on what will be a good, long term goal.
  • Timely: Using the 5K as an example again, that is your end goal. Now, you must work backwards from where you are today and make your plan based on where you are today and when you plan to run. I always like to have some sort of a "deadline", or else I end to lose focus. So something like a race, a vacation, or other reason why I need to be in my best shape will get me moving more than anything, and I know lots of others that are the same way.

At-Home Workout Recommendations

Here are some suggestions on great workouts to start with, if you are a beginner:

Slim in 6:

Slim in 6 is an at-home workout and is excellent for anyone that is just getting started working out, or getting back into working out. I love that it is something that is only 6 weeks, incorporates cardio, strength and flexibility in it, and I've seen some truly miraculous transformations from it. And, Debbie Siebers, the trainer, as once overweight herself, so she's walked in the shoes of anyone that is working on losing weight. Also, minimal equipment is needed, and you even get a resistance band as part of the program!

Power 90:

Power 90 is one of the first workouts by Tony Horton, who went on to create P90X. I recommend Power 90 to anyone that wants to do P90X but is just getting into working out and might need to not start with something that extreme. This is a 90 day program and also comes with a fantastic nutrition guide and a resistance band.

Hip Hop Abs and Rockin' Body:

If you need something a little faster paced, you might want to check out Shaun T's "Hip Hop Abs" or "Rockin' Body"; you can get both together now too. Again, both come with a nutrition guide and schedule, super fun workouts and best of all, the only equipment you need is your own body!

Turbo Jam:

Turbo Jam, besides yoga, is my true "soulmate workout". Turbo Jam is the creation of Chalene Johnson, and she is so fun and motivating! It is a little dance, a little kickboxing, with some strength training and abs thrown in too. Every time I get into a fitness rut, I pop in a Turbo Jam workout and not only does the time fly by, but I'm in such a good mood afterwards! Includes nutrition guide, schedule, and sculpting gloves (I would wait a week or two before you start using those though. They aren't as innocent as they look!).

Tai Cheng:

Tai Cheng is one that I don't have much experience with personally (yet), but I have people who have used it and give it rave reviews. It is based on Tai Chi, and is created by Dr. Mark Cheng. It is great for older people, for golfers, for people recovering from injuries, or anyone that wants a slower paced workout. Includes nutrition guide, schedule, foam roller and resistance bands.

This a list to get you started on workouts you can do at home, and there are lots more out there that you might like just as much.

Remember, wherever you are is your starting point and you only can go up from here. Start slow, be consistent, challenge yourself but don't overdo it. Make sure you are being realistic with the time you have to workout, then stick to it. Carve out time for yourself each and every day, because you deserve it. You deserve to be healthy and fit, and those around you deserve to have you healthy and fit too.

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About the author:

Rebecca was once a junk food junkie, couch potato party girl. The idea of eating healthy and working out was completely foreign and ridiculous to her, until the time her father had to have quintuple bypass surgery. At that time she realized if she didn't make changes, that would be her future, and putting her two sons through that was the last thing she wanted to do.

She made changes and decided to pay it forward by becoming a yoga instructor, personal trainer and online health and fitness coach. She lost weight, quit smoking, drinking and junk food, and is totally in love with life.

She would love to be your free coach..... Go here to get her free coaching tips and advice!

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      Nalle 2 years ago

      I appreciate your kind and geernous advice a lot!. I have been trying it hardly and did not get those amazing results!. It is nice to see that you got my comment in a good way!God bless you!VA:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait VA:F [1.9.10_1130](from 0 votes)

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      Jacki 2 years ago

      Big help, big help. And suiavletpre news of course.

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