If you are one of the many individuals who are looking to improve your physical well being, but don’t know how to get started, this is the article for you.
Step 1. Make a Written Commitment
Too many people decide they want to start working out and may begin to hit the gym on a Monday, but when Friday rolls around, you don’t see them anymore. Why? There is a serious lack of commitment. Its very important to know why you want to work out and to quantify your goals. The Dominican University conducted a study and found something astonishing:
“people who wrote down their goals, shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals.”
That’s right, its as simple as that. So if you are looking to get healthier but you have been putting it off, the time to act is now. Grab a piece of paper and write down your goal (ie: lose 25 pounds by the end of 2014, go to the gym 5 times/week, run 1Km in 8mins) and sign the paper. Pass on this information to a friend who will support you and keep them informed about your progress on a weekly basis.
TIP: If you can find a friend with the same fitness goal as you, it will provide you an added incentive to workout as you will be able to assist each other in achieving your fitness goals.
Step 2. Assess yourself
The vast majority of individuals should be able to take up walking with few side effects. However, if you are closer to your 40’s, the Harvard Health Department recommends that you speak to a doctor if you have dizzy spells, high blood pressure, diabetes, a history of heart disease and/or respiratory issues such as asthma.
Step 3. Watch your food
Exercising is about balance. Your input (food consumed) should be equal to your output (calories burned via exercise). A lot of us in the subcontinent consume a lot of rice and exercise less, which results in weight gain. The solution? Eat less, preferably brown rice which has more nutrients. Make it a point to eat ‘clean’, unprocessed food with a healthy serving of vegetables. Furthermore, watch your intake of sugary drinks and substitute them with water instead.
TIP: Its hard to eat healthy all the time, so give yourself ONE cheat day a week to reward yourself.
Step 4. Get Active
Depending on your level of fitness, take it easy on your first day. Here are specific tips on how to do so depending on your workout.
4.1 Weight loss
If you haven’t exercised in a long time, take it slow with a 10-15minute walk.The idea behind this is to build an aerobic base and warm up your body, while minimizing your risk of injury. If you are looking to lose weight, gradually increase your walking time to 25-30 minutes and if possible, a full hour. Small increases in the intensity of your workout will see you accomplish more than if you decided to start walking an hour from the outset.
TIP: For those who like their statistics with a dash of style, look into activity trackers. Find The Best has a helpful guide to help you select a tracker based on price, sleep quality, calories burned, heart rate, battery life, software compatibilities etc.
4.2 Weight training
If you are new to this, it’s always recommended to speak to a professional trainer. They will help you select a program based on your needs, assist in managing your workout time more efficiently and motivate you along the way. Some gyms will allow you to book a personal training session, make use of it at least once or twice a month to ensure you are staying in line with your goals and lifting weights with the proper technique.
TIP: Use weight lifting gloves if you intend to use weights often as they provide a better grip and leave fewer calluses on your hands.
4.3 Yoga/Flexibility training
If you are new to yoga, or haven’t been involved in classes for sometime, take it easy and join a yoga class. Yoga is an ancient art which improves flexibility, lowers blood pressure, improves posture and breathing to name a few of its benefits.
TIP: If you are new, try to make friends or persuade a friend to join you.
Note: Its imperative that you take part in an activity that you enjoy, as you will have more fun and improve your fitness. If none of these options work for you, look into alternatives like boxing, cycling, swimming, martial arts, zumba classes etc.
Step 5. Measure your progress and repeat
If you followed step 1, this becomes easier as you will have made tangible goals, so you should be able to check your progress. For example, if you are looking to build muscle, you can assess if you are on track by measuring your increase in muscle percentage or how much you can bench press (as compared to when you started). Similarly, if you are looking to lose weight, you can see if you are gradually progressing to your goal by monitoring your weight on a regular basis.
And there you have it, 5 ways to a fitter you. If you have any more tips, let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog!
Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing. The information contained in this article is only for educational purposes and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed health/fitness professional.