When you first get ready to start a new lifestyle, where you’re going to work out and build your fitness and tone, it’s great that you are enthusiastic.
However, if you don’t prepare, plan, and have the right mindset then you will struggle. This will be even worse if you don’t build a workout routine that is tailored to your abilities and keep you interested.
So what I’m going to do here is talk you through the 10 easy ways that you can ensure you hit the ground running. When you begin your journey into a healthy lifestyle, these 10 easy to follow tips will help you to make better progress and stand more chance of sticking with it for the long term to embed it as a permanent lifestyle change.
1. Why? What? How?
If you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to achieve then you won’t get there.
So you need to have clear goals for what you want to achieve physically. You’ll also need clear goals on the lifestyle change you want to achieve.
Once you understand where you want to get to, you have to plan the journey. That means building a routine that starts you off by building stamina and endurance, and fixes you into this new lifestyle.
Then, you’ll need it to develop as you do, allowing you to push yourself harder incrementally both in terms of reps, variations on the core exercises, and if you are using weights how much you lift, so that you have a plan your first few months at least.
2. Get Consistent Before You Get Intense
In the beginning, before you even do your first workout, make sure that you fully understand the routine you are going to do. Practice the exercises one at a time, so you get them in your mind just a few reps will be fine.
Write everything down to know how to smoothly move between the exercises without having to refer to videos or other instructions. That will be less frustrating and get you into the groove quicker.
In the beginning, focus on consistency rather than intensity. Make sure each exercise, every single rep, is done with proper form, and has the maximum squeezed out of it.
3. Start With Shorter Workouts
It may be tempting to hit the ground running with 90 minute workouts, hitting all areas of your body, building your stamina, everything at the same time.
That’s the way to quickly exhaust yourself, and cause injuries because you aren’t being safe with the proper form.
It’s better to do four 30 minute workouts in a week, giving yourself a day off between each, and focusing on completing those 30 minute routines than to try and blast your way through longer ones and failing.
4. Target Exercises You Enjoy Doing
Especially in the beginning, exercises you can enjoy, or at least tolerate. That way you are more likely to do them and stick with them.
If you like jogging, do a lot of jogging. If you like barbell exercises and upper body ones specifically, do those more. Just build your stamina, endurance, and embed the habit of doing the sessions, of making the time and putting in the effort.
Then, you can swap things out one at a time so that you continue to target all of your body, and develop slightly more difficult exercises, without overwhelming yourself with the grinding workout you simply don’t enjoy and stand more chance of not completing.
5. Build A Routine Around Strength And Endurance In The Beginning
In the beginning, for the first few weeks, forget building muscle, forget shedding fat, forget everything other than building your strength and endurance.
If you don’t build your core strength and endurance, you won’t able to do the proper form for the right number of reps, and you won’t be able to power through the work out to work every area of your body.
So as well as constructing all round body routine, and cardio on top of that, you need to focus on exercise that build strength and endurance rather than toning or shedding. That will give you the core you need to move things up to the next level more quickly, while struggling less and risking giving up.
6. Don’t Ignore The Cardio Work
As I just said, you have to build cardio in from the beginning. Especially if you want to lose weight and build cardiovascular fitness, it’s essential.
I wouldn’t make cardio work a full workout session, I would have it as an additional session, maybe two, in the week.
So say 3×30 minute strength and endurance sessions with body weight and weights, and a couple of short cardio sessions which could be jogging, some sort of body for exercises, or even really brisk walking.
7. Don’t Beat Yourself Up If You Have Setbacks
Next on the list of top 10 tips for hitting the ground running with your new exercise regime is to not beat yourself up if you have setbacks.
Especially in the beginning, you’ll never hit all your goals. You’ll get exhausted, even if you are taking good breaks between sets, and between workouts.
Also, life gets in the way. Injuries, illnesses, families, and work. If you can’t get the time, or you are too tired, don’t get angry, it’s not your fault. Just plan another time and go again.
So don’t beat yourself up. If you do fail, then analyze to see if it’s because you haven’t given yourself enough rest, or if you’re trying to lift too heavy, or your expectations are too high. Remember what I said earlier, focus on strength and endurance in the beginning, even if that means lifting light and focusing on less glamorous exercises.
If you are continually failing then you need to stop and analyze. Are you fed up with the exercises, do struggle with them, are you not leaving enough gaps between sets and workout days, or is it something else?
If you are struggling, make sure you look at your nutrition. If you don’t have the energy before your workout then you will struggle. See some of my other content the tips on simple supplements you can use pre-and post workout to help boost your stamina and recovery.
8. Avoid Injuries By Always Warming Up And Cooling Down
In the beginning you are going to get injured. Not badly if you are sensible, but you will get muscle strain and you will struggle to recover quickly.
You can minimize the problems by always warming up and cooling down. By doing those thoroughly, you will be more ready to work out, and more confident in pushing yourself.
Also, the gentle aerobic nature of many warming up and cooling down exercises prepare your mind and body and can be relaxing.
9. This Is A Marathon Not A Sprint
An important tip that you must not overlook is that it’s a marathon not a sprint. You’re never going to lose the weight, build strength and endurance, and improve your muscle tone in a few weeks, or even months.
It’s incremental, and it’s going to be tough. So by setting the ground work, building strength and endurance, learning to do things the best way, and allowing your body to recover, you will ensure that you are building a steady platform.
As you get stronger, as you get more confident, as you get more experience, you can then push yourself longer and harder, and set yourself more specific goals around cutting fat, building muscle, or increasing your endurance.
10. Monitor Your Progress & Celebrate Success
My last tip here is probably the most important. It’s the one that is overlooked, and it’s the one that makes the most people give up.
Always monitor your progress. If you don’t know what you are achieving, how can you know if it’s working?
That means preparation. Understand where you are physically, and set yourself goals. Learn, educate yourself, practice, and improve your immersion.
Then monitor your progress, so you understand how far away from your baseline levels you are, and know how far you have come.
In the final point around this is to always celebrate success. If you are doing this with other people, celebrate with them, but always appreciate the effort you put in the results you achieve.
If you don’t, then what is the point? If you constantly feel you have to achieve more, if you constantly feel we just have to push yourself, work harder, work longer, then where are you going? How will you know when you’ve got to where you want to be?
So prepare, evaluate, and then celebrate. That doesn’t mean giving up by stuffing a load of food, that doesn’t mean easing up on what you are doing, but it means recognizing that you have reached a milestone and are ready to move things up another gear.