When you decide to start working out, or just generally getting fitter, it’s great to have so much enthusiasm that you just want to get started quickly.
However, just jumping in can lead to physical injury, and problems with motivation and results very quickly.
So what I’m going to do here is talk you through 15 tips will help you to get better at working out faster, allowing you to make better early progress.
1. Identify Your Goals And Research What You Need To Do To Achieve Them
What exactly are your goals for working out? Everyone usually has something very specific in their mind. It could be better tone, bigger muscles, greater strength, more endurance, or generally just to feel better.
So make sure you are clear on what you want to achieve. Even if you want to do it all, what you want to do most. If it’s cutting fat, then you don’t need to be hammering huge weights. You need to be looking at burning the fat and balancing your diet.
If you want to just get fitter, then a lightweight routine, mixed with some high energy cardio exercises that doesn’t rely on large weights will also work wonders.
2. Pace Yourself With Manageable Workout Stress Loads And Durations
In the rush to hit the ground running, your enthusiasm can carry you through the first couple of weeks. But if you don’t do things in a structured manner it can lead to stress in your body, and exhaustion.
Remember that in the beginning, your muscles and cardiovascular system will be put under pressure and will have to adapt. That takes time.
As your stamina builds up, as your endurance grows, as your muscles and tone develop, so you can go for longer and develop your routine.
But in the beginning, less can be better. It’s better to do 30 minutes at a manageable level, just to develop all-round benefits, rather than pushing yourself too hard and not allowing enough time to recovery.
3. It’s Better To Be Consistent In The Beginning
Leading on from number two, is the key fact that being consistent in the beginning will help you for the long run.
Keep your routines manageable, keep them for length and intensity that doesn’t exhaust you.
Also, be consistent in what you do. Make sure your routines are completed, make sure they hit the muscle groups at least twice per week, and ensure that you get an even development.
4. Try To Surround Yourself With Motivating People
One of the things I learned years ago is that you should always surround yourself with positive people who are aligned with your goals.
If you’re trying to get fitter and healthier, and yet your entire social life and friendship base is people who don’t work out, don’t understand why you are, and whose social encounters are all around food and alcohol, then that’s going to hold you back.
Even if they are not doing exercising with you, people in a similar position, people who will encourage you, and people with healthier lifestyles, will always help you to produce higher levels of motivation to succeed with your own fitness goals.
5. Pick Exercises You Want To Do Rather Than Entire Routines Containing Things You Don’t
This is also something I learned very early. You pick a routine and you slog your way through it. If you don’t like some of the exercises, you start to struggle. That can really put you off, and even mean you cut those exercises out, not working certain groups of muscles at all.
It’s better to try exercises and then put together a routine that covers all the main muscle groups, and does good cardiovascular work, but that you find manageable and enjoyable. That way, you’re more likely to complete everything with good form, and make better progress. You’ll also feel more in control.
6. Spend A Little More On Gear Than You Would Like
Another mistake I made back in the beginning was not investing enough money in gear. I bought a barbell and some dumbbells, but not with enough flexibility in terms of the different weights.
Within two months I was spending extra money to get the smaller incremental changes in weights I needed on both barbells and dumbbells. That cost me a lot more.
So when it comes to trainers, weights, everything you need, spend a little more to get better quality and more options for the longer term.
7. Make Sure You Take Breaks Between Your Workouts (And During Them)
Especially in the beginning, taking proper breaks between workouts can be essential for your longer term development. A good break allows your body time to recover, and your muscle tissue to repair. This means you are stronger and more ready protect your next workout.
Also, you’ll also be told to only take short breaks during workouts. Like one minute, or even 30 seconds between groups. Don’t do that unless you really feel it’s long enough.
It’s far better to take a little longer, so that the exhaustion leaves your muscles and body, so that you can attack the next group of reps properly and with good form. Never be afraid to take a little longer to recover.
8. Be Kind To Yourself When You Don’t Achieve Every Single Time
Especially in the beginning you will fail. You will not complete everything you want to, and within certain exercises you will not be able to complete the number of reps you hoped for.
Be kind to yourself. You’re a beginner, you are learning, and your body is not where it should be. Don’t beat yourself up, lower your expectations slightly.
9. Always Warmup And Cooldown To Stop Muscle Damage And Aid Recovery
Always warm up properly. At least 10 minutes of stretching and movement to get your muscles warmed up to minimize injuries.
People often forget to warm down as well. Especially in the beginning, this is crucial because you can be at a higher risk of injury.
10. Master The Basics Even Before You Do Your First Routine
If you don’t understand the exercises you are going to do in the beginning, when you launch into your first workout it can take forever and be frustrating. You’re constantly referring to a video, or instructions, to get the form right.
Before you do your first workout go through each exercise over a few days. Just a few reps, to get the positions in your mind. Also, right the work out down, so you know the order you are going to do things in.
Then when you get to the actual workout, you can power through it with more efficiency, better form, and without feeling like you are stalling and taking forever.
11. Never Compare Yourself To Other People
No matter who you are, never compare yourself to other people when it comes to working out. Don’t compare your progress, how you look, or what you can do. Always just do the best that you can at that time.
12. Be Patient Because Real Results Will Take Several Weeks
It’s easy to get impatient when you struggle and don’t make any progress. Just be aware that real results take several weeks.
In the beginning, those results will mainly be stamina increases and a drop in body fat, or a slight increase in muscle tone. But don’t expect miracles straightaway. This is a long-term lifestyle change.
13. Monitor Your Progress
If you don’t monitor your progress then how do you know how well you are doing? Make sure you record the routine you are doing, and how many reps, so you know how to push things.
Also, make sure you are incrementally increasing the weight you are using. Even if it’s just a very small amount every two weeks, say half a kilo every two weeks, make sure you monitor your progression so you can see you are not stagnating.
14. Work Variations Into Your Basic Routine Increase Your Strength And Control
Once you’ve mastered your basic initial routine, before you start swapping out exercises, you can work in variations to improve the strength and control you have over the workout.
For example, if you’re doing planks, and also consider doing side planks. If you are doing push-ups, then consider doing variations on the push-up that are slightly harder.
15. Reward Yourself
The final tip I have for you is to always pat yourself on the back and reward yourself. Don’t just keep relentlessly pushing yourself forward and never taking a break or feeling good about what you have achieved.
You’ll know how best to do this, and I’m not suggesting you go out and have a huge meal, it could be buying some new clothes to wear out, but a better fitting and show off your progress. Or it could be something small and personal, whatever it is, always celebrate success.