As a fitness centre, we often see exercise beginners plunge head first into an intense exercise program vowing to get fit and make a change. That’s always wonderful to see. However, without proper guidance, we also see them stopping soon after when the initial enthusiasm inevitably wanes, or when the initial muscle soreness sets in, or worse, when the first injuries happen.
We so want you to know the following 10 things, before starting your fitness journey because they will make the journey easier, more effective, and more enjoyable for you.
1. Set realistic expectations. If your goal is to drop 2 dress sizes, it’s probably unrealistic and unhealthy to expect to achieve that in 3 weeks! Similarly, if you’re new to Yoga, it’ll take you more than several weeks to attempt a hand stand.
2. Be pragmatic about your time. It’s better to do 15 minutes daily and gradually build up on that, than to go for 90 minutes only to give up 2 days later.
3. Plan your exercise. Optimise the time for exercise by planning ahead your program. If you’re unfamiliar with exercise programs, then group classes or personal trainers are great!
4. Know your ability. For beginners, start with exercises and an intensity level that won’t burn you out, and help you learn the fundamentals of each exercise to prevent injuries. Back-to-Basics programs are great for beginners!
5. Find exercises you enjoy. To build a habit, exercise has to be enjoyable. If you don’t like running, it’s ok to do something else instead! There’re plenty of exercises that are just as effective and will get you the results.
6. Find alternative ways to stay active. Think incidental exercises, and what you do in your down-time. Aim to be on your feet more, as opposed to sitting. If you have to catch public transport, there’re simple exercises you can do that are discreet and effective
7. Find a ‘why’ that’s beyond you! We tend to let ourselves down before we let someone else down, so find a reason to stay active that’s beyond you! Are you exercising to keep up with the kids, or to be a good role model for them?
8. Stay accountable. Set fitness goals, add deadlines to each goals, and track your progress. And go beyond the scales when tracking your progress! Exercise gives you benefits other than a number on the scale. So start to look at measures like the waist measurement, fat vs lean muscle %, your strength (how many push-ups you can do now vs 2 months ago, how long you could hold a plank), mindfulness (how long can you focus before catching your mind drifting?), give yourself a daily energy rating, a mood rating, and a contentment rating.
9. Build a habit. An 8-week exercise program may be what got you started, but it’s the habit that keeps you going. Like brushing teeth, make exercise a non-negotiable part of life!
10. Partner up with a professional! If you’re serious about getting results and staying on track, there’s no better way than to find a professional fitness coach or join a small group training. They’ll give you the guidance, the program, all the motivation and encouragement you need to hit your goals. Sometimes all we need to achieve great things is a gentle push from someone we trust.