So, you’ve finally gathered the courage to make the commitment to start working out and getting some exercise!
You’ve been thinking about this for weeks or even months and now you are going to use that membership, try that home workout, or sign up for a bootcamp. You’re ready. You also have no idea what you’re doing… then again comes the doubt, fear, and discouragement.
This post will cover all you need to know for beginner workout tips. I’ve put together the strategies and tips I use to help get the best out of my workouts and, more importantly, make me want to do it again.
Just to let you know…
To start, I’m going to be honest and say, that this is going to be hard. Also, it’s not going to get any easier. Unfortunately, the act of “working out” doesn’t get much easier, not if you’re looking for progress and results. However, the feeling after exercise gets better, and the benefits start to become very noticeable in your daily life. Once you start to see results and feel the results it does get easier to keep exercising, and make it a part of your daily routine. You might even eventually enjoy it!
Get the most out of your workouts.
Now, there are a few things you can do to help get to most out of your workouts. First you want to start before you actual workout. Pre-workout I suggest eating something small, having a small snack, or shake to give you energy throughout your workout. Don’t eat too much that you will be sick though.
I like to eat a hard boiled egg on my way to the gym, or just before I leave the house. Another good option for a pre-workout snack is an apple or banana.
Some people chose to take a pre-workout shake, which is a supplement you can buy and mix with water to help give you energy for your workout. I don’t use pre-workout supplements only because I don’t feel like I need them, so I haven’t experimented with them. The point is to make sure you’ve got something in your stomach so that you will have energy to complete your workout without getting overly fatigued throughout or light headed.
Get your blood flowing!
Now, you’ve had your pre-workout snack or fuel and, you are ready to actually exercise. The next thing you need to think about is prevention. Prevention from injury that is.
Before you start your workout, whether you are working legs, arms, or whole body, you need to be warmed up. When warming up you should be targeting the muscle that you will be planning to work out that day. I usually warm up for about 3-5 minutes, getting my heart rate up, and those muscles activated.
I often use bands to activate muscles in my arms (you can find different resistance band exercises here), and I might walk/jog on the treadmill for 5 minutes for legs, or skip for 3-4 minutes for full body.
Depending on your fitness level and muscle or joint pain you also might want to stretch your muscles after you warm up, to continue to activate your muscles. This will help prevent tightness and lactic acid build up. I usually save my stretching until the end of my workouts (you can do both!).
I recommend once you get to know your body utilizing stretching after warm ups for certain areas. For example, I know when I work my hamstrings they can be sore for over a week! And super tight, so if I know that my workout will be hamstring dominant, then I will throw in some extra stretching after my warm up.
During your workout you should be focusing on form and feeling. Therefore, don’t lift super heavy if you don’t have the form down pack. This can lead to injury. Start off with lower weight to ensure that you can perform the exercise correctly. If you are unsure of what type of workout to do, find my workouts here.
If you are new and unsure about your form, ask a trainer or instructor at your gym and I’m sure they would be happy to help you! When exercising you should not be in pain. The muscle you are trying to target will be in pain, however nothing else should be. So if you find that a certain movement or exercise is hurting your knees, or back, or shoulder, or anything that doesn’t feel right, then stop.
Exercising is meant to be good for the body, you’re not doing your body any good by putting it through pain, causing damage, or further damage from a previous injury. You most likely need to lower the weight/resistance, or tweak the movement, or you might not be able to do that particular movement at all. There are so many types of exercises, you should be able to find what works for your body and how to target the muscles your looking to strengthen.
I have certain exercises I literally cannot do because of lower back pain. One movement I can’t seem to do is hip thrusts without lower back pain. So I simply don’t do them, I do alternative exercises to target the booty. I also have to be careful about certain ab exercises, doesn’t mean I don’t workout my abs though! I find alternative ways that work with my body, and you should too. It takes some practice, but you’ll get there!
Sweaty and ready to go home, but there’s more.
Once you’ve finished your workout, you should be stretching again. Take about 10 minutes to allow time to stretch your entire body. This will help prevent tightness and lactic acid build up. Focus more on the muscles that you targeted during your workout, however continue to stretch the whole body out. Stretching also feels really good after your workout, and allows for time for your heart rate to come back down to normal.
Post workout decisions.
After you have finished your workout, your stretching, I recommend having a post workout snack, meal, or shake. Something with a good source of protein in it. I often have a smoothie with protein, or try and have a meal within half an hour of my workout.
The reason you should be eating protein after your workout is because protein provides your body with the essential amino acids that help repair and build muscle growth. Having it post-workout ensures that your body won’t be pulling from the protein already in your body to restore and use as energy, however you will be fueling it right when your body needs it most. To help you build bigger muscles and keep your energy levels up its important that you be getting enough protein, not just after your workout but throughout the day.
One more thing!
My last tip for you is, get up and do it again tomorrow! And continue to do it at least 3 times a week to feel good, 5+ times a week to see results. It’s hard, but it’s worth it, you and your body are worth it, and I feel like there’s nothing better than the feeling a good workout gives you.