So you’ve decided you want to start exercising. First off, congratulations! You’ve made the decision to enrich your life and improve your health. To help you get started on the right foot, we’ve put together this list of seven tips to keep in mind when you start a new workout routine. At Ellis Athletic Club in Newtown Square, we’re passionate about giving people the tools, knowledge, and motivation they need to reach their fitness goals. Ready to get started? Well, let’s go then!
-Start off slow
When you’re first starting a new fitness regimen, it’s important to take it easy at first. Even if you were an athlete in high school or college, if you haven’t kept up with working out, you’re not going to be at the same fitness level you once were. While it is an admirable goal to want to bench what you did when you were 17, that’s not where you should start. Work up to your goal slowly. When we get older, there are a variety of factors that cause our body to lose strength and stamina, so it’s something you have to account for. If you ignore this, you’re putting yourself at greater risk of getting injured.
-Understand your limits
As you get started, you’ll start to learn what your limits are. The human body is exceptionally adaptable. You will get more out of a workout that challenges those limits, but it’s important you don’t push it too far. If you put yourself through a punishing regimen, you’re more likely to get hurt. What happens when you get hurt? You can’t exercise, which means you can’t make progress. This is what makes working with a professional trainer — either individually or in a class — so valuable. A trainer is able to guide you up to the edge of your limits, but help you reign it in when you need to. It’s good to find a middle ground in how intense your workout is. Are you able to read a book or make a phone call while you exercise? You might need to bump it up. Are you feeling aches and pains over a week after you last hit the gym? That’s a sign you should slow down.
-It’s not just about exercise
Something that can’t be understated when discussing fitness is that exercise isn’t the only factor to consider. In order to get the most out of your new exercise regimen, you have to take a three-pronged approach. The first of these prongs is, naturally, working out. The next, and maybe most important, is your nutrition. You have to give your body the right fuel in order for your hard work to actually take hold. Finally, the prong which is too often overlooked is getting enough sleep. Your body needs enough time to repair itself, rebuild, and burn fat. This requires ample rest. That burning sensation you get after a workout? That is caused by microscopic damage being done to your muscles as you use them in a way they aren’t used to. Sleep and rest help your body recover and repair that damage to make your muscles stronger.
-Practice proper form
The number one cause of exercise-related injuries is when an exercise is done with the incorrect form. In fact, doing an exercise with the wrong form is worse for you than not doing that exercise at all. This is another area where a professional trainer can be invaluable, as they’ll guide and spot you as you work out, giving you pointers for how to maintain your form and avoid getting hurt. When you exercise with improper form, you’ll put a strain on parts of your body you’re not intending to work, while not getting the results you’re actually hoping for. Not only does this lead you to get hurt, but it also puts your goals further away than when you started.
-Using a sauna can help with recovery
As we touched on earlier, rest and recovery is a vital part of any workout routine. You should always be doing cooldown exercises before you finish for the day. One way to recover that many people swear by is using a sauna or steam room. Through the use of heat therapy, your body is able to increase its production of growth hormones, which are valuable to the process of muscle repair, as well as speed up the metabolization of fat. This will help you recover from injuries while lowering your body’s oxidation levels. Heat can even detoxify your body.
-Nutrition helps with soreness
Many people who love to work out feel great when they’re sore after a day at the gym. It’s a sign that they worked hard. However, that muscle soreness (also referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS) shouldn’t hang around too long. You can help get rid of that soreness with the right diet. When you drink enough water, you are hydrated enough to give your muscles greater elasticity, which means they’ll be strained less when you exercise. If you’re on a weight loss program, eating a high-protein diet will help a great deal as well.
-It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Maybe the most important piece of advice we can provide is this little tip about your mindset. Fitness is not a quick process. There aren’t any get-ripped-quick schemes. It’s a process, and one that you have to understand takes time. While you might not see results right away, it’s vital you don’t get discouraged. Patience is a virtue, as they say, and that’s certainly true when it comes to working out. Give it time, keep moving forward, and you’ll get there.
Beginning your journey to a healthier you is one of the best decisions you could ever make, but it’s going to take work to make it happen. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Here in Newtown Square, you have Ellis Athletic Club to help you along the way. Whether you sign up for one of our many classes or you want to spend some quality one-on-one time with a personal trainer, we’ll help you set goals, learn proper form, and get motivated to put in the work. Call us today to learn how to get started!