Whenever you first begin to look into exercises it can be overwhelming to look at the 1000’s of available workout routines online, and this abundance of options can make choosing the “correct” one seem impossible and even push some people away from beginning. However, starting to exercise shouldn’t be a daunting task that you dread doing, instead it should be something you enjoy and only brings benefits to your life. So today I’m going to be breaking down how to start your journey in the best possible way for YOU!
Identify your goals
Firstly you’re going to want to identify what you want out of exercising, is it fat loss, build cardiovascular endurance, build muscle, or maybe you just want to generally be healthier? Not all exercises are equal in their results, and what I mean by that is If your goal is to lose weight then weight lifting won’t be your best option, and if you goal is to build muscle then you won’t want to focus on distance running. So first begin by assessing what it is that you want to be working on in the very beginning, this will be the first step to being less overwhelmed so you don’t have to focus on multiple different exercises at once.
The next step in identifying your goal is to make a clear benchmark you want to hit, if you want to lose weight set your target weight now, if you want to be able to run for a certain distance identify that distance now. Having clarity in your goals is extremely important because blanket statements such as “I want to lose weight” doesn’t mean much because you could lose 1 pound and have met your goal of losing weight. Always make your goals as clear as possible even outside of fitness to make sure you always have something to push towards.
Find exercises you enjoy that fit you goal
Here’s the key to making this whole process easier, and that’s finding out how to hit your goal in a way you enjoy. When searching online for routines to follow you are usually following either that individuals favorite routine, or one that is based out of research. Although these routines are likely effective, they are probably more geared towards individuals experienced in fitness and if you do not enjoy what is required in that routine or believe its to advances for you then the likelihood that you stick with it long term drastically decreases. I want to set some examples to make it clear what I mean when stating you should find exercises that you enjoy. To do so in these examples I will be talking about losing weight, and gaining muscle but this strategy applies to all goals not just these two.
When losing weight you are going to want to focus on cardio and your diet, and I plan to write about how to start begin dieting in a better more effective way but for today we will just be talking about the exercises.
When looking at cardio most people will think of running or walking, but if you do not enjoy those activities how do you expect to force yourself to do them daily? The answer is you won’t, so you want to find cardio activities that really put you in a better mood and something you enjoy doing, luckily, the options are plentiful. To give some examples of cardio exercises; Sports such as basketball, football, volleyball, baseball, gymnastics or even “extreme sports” such as skateboarding, and snowboarding. These all require lots of cardio but they take your attention away from the exercise and let you focus on the game which for many people can make this an enjoyable activity which will make it much easier for you to dedicate time to consistently.
You can also look into different classes that provide a fun way to do cardio such as Dancing, Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, roller/ice skating or even self defense practices like Karate, Kickboxing, or Jiu Jitsu.
Cardio doesn’t have to be this mentally taxing activity where you are just in your head wanting to quit. Turning exercise into a fun activity is the best and most effective way to begin and stay consistent, and with all the options out there anybody can find one they enjoy as long as they are willing to put in the work to try out new things if they don’t already have one in mind.
Very similarly to losing weight, gaining muscle is something that can be done in many different ways to appeal to a wide variety of individuals. If the idea of going to the gym and just working on machines, doing bench presses and squats doesn’t appeal to you then the best option is for you to look upon different avenues to hit your goal.
You could consider activities such as calisthenics (body weight exercises) which can take form in simple ways such as push ups, pull ups, and burpees, or you can make it more fun with activities like rock climbing, white water rafting, gymnastics ,or BMX to name a few. All of these activities will require the use of large portions of your body training many different sections of your body which will not only help you gain muscle but also give you a hobby to get better at. You can also try alternative weight training methods such as cross fit or the type of heavy lifting seen in the worlds strongest man competitions.
Once again, whatever activity you wish to choose, make sure your goals are clear so you have something to work towards and don’t just plateau after a little progress has been made. As an example I enjoy working out at the gym but I also recently started falling in love with calisthenics and have set myself a goal this year to be able to do 50 pull ups and 50 pushups in a single set without breaks. Now I’m nowhere close to this goal right now but it’s only January and I will be working towards this clearly defined goal all year and be able to watch myself slowly get stronger and closer to this goal.
Now I just made examples for those two types of training to give you some clear examples on how to go about making exercise fun and effective but no matter what your goal is you can find ways to gamify it and make working out something that you look forward to doing so you can start feeling the innumerable benefits exercise brings. Don’t feel the need to follow these strict regimens found online as they will likely burn you out and push you away from them. Getting any amount of exercise in any form is infinitely better than doing nothing and as you get more fit you will be able to upgrade your workouts to harder routines but when starting out the #1 key is to just do something you can stick to and enjoy!
Lastly I want to say that you shouldn’t stay with the same routine you started with for long. If you choose now to play a sport for 30 minutes a day for 3-4 days a week that is amazing but, a year down the line after doing this consistently you won’t be getting the same results you got in the beginning as it will become too easy for your newly trained body. You should slowly progress your routine from 30 minutes a day 3-4 days a week to let’s say 45 minutes a day 4-5 days a week. Or if you start lifting you shouldn’t be lifting the same amount of weight week 1 and week 40 since at this point it will be too easy for you to move that amount of weight. As you get more into exercising and feeling its benefits I implore you to begin doing further research on how to better your fitness and always be pushing yourself to get better!
Remember there’s no shame in bettering your life and there are many people out there who will support you on your journey to fulfilling your goals! Just keep going and never quit because you are capable of whatever you put your mind to!
“Exercise is important not only to physical health but mental health as well because when your body moves your brain grooves” – Jim Kwik
Thank you so much for reading today’s article! I hope this was able to bring you true value and get you 1% better today than yesterday! If you enjoyed please consider following my Instagram @MichaelFladungFitness!