How To Start Exercising – 4 Ways To Get You Started
Lots of us want to start exercising. We all want to do it for different reasons too.
Some of us want to lose weight.
Others want to boost stamina.
Others want to boost strength.
Others just want ‘something to do’.
It doesn’t really matter what your reasons are. If you haven’t exercised for a while, you are still going to be wondering ‘where do I start?’, and that is hopefully what I am going to help you with on this page.
Just to give you a little nudge in the right direction.
#1 Assess How Fit You Are
Before you do anything, you are going to need to work out how fit you actually are. There are a few different reasons for this:
- It enables you to see your current fitness levels
- It enables you to see what needs to be worked on
- It enables you to see what you should be aiming for
Let’s say you are looking to start losing weight through cardiovascular exercise. You may want to see how long it takes you to walk or run a mile.
If you can, you may even want to check your pulse after this. There are plenty of apps that you can download for your smartphone if you need a push in the right direction here. You may want to start with something like Runkeeper which you can use throughout your fitness journey.
You may also want to work out how many sit-ups you can do, or the heaviest weights you can lift are. Make a note of all of this information, because it will give you guidelines when it comes to your goals and the fitness routines that you need to follow.
Finally; if you are looking to lose weight, then you will want to check your BMI. You may also want to check how wide you are at the waist.
The latter is actually quite important. If you are losing weight, there will be a point where the scale will seemingly stop. It will appear as if you are not losing weight.
That isn’t what is happening. Your fat is actually converting into muscle. If you measure your waist regularly, you will be able to see your weight loss progress even if the scale stops.
It really does help with motivation.
A lot of the information that you get here will probably provide you with all the motivation that you need to start your fitness regime.
Remember; monitor your progress throughout your fitness journey.
#2 Come Up With A Routine
The key to exercising ‘successfully’ is to make it a habit.
If you are just exercising ad-hoc, then you aren’t going to make much progress. You are simply telling your brain ‘You know what? Some days you can take a break’.
That isn’t how exercise works. If you want to lose weight or boost your stamina and strength, then you need to do it multiple times a week.
If you are just getting started with exercise, you don’t need to be some sort of fitness freak who is pumping iron for hours a day.
You only need to set aside a good 30-minutes each day for some exercise. I know there are some people out there who will tell you that you need a ‘rest day’ or something like that.
However, I genuinely do not believe that you need that if you are exercising 30 minutes a day. It isn’t that strenuous, and if you focus on something different each day, your body is still getting a little bit of rest.
Now, you need to tell yourself ‘when’ you are doing those exercises.
Make it the same time each and every day. As I said, it needs to be part of your daily routine.
In my opinion, you should try and wake up a little bit earlier and get your 30-minutes in. If you can’t do that, then do it right after work.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter when you are doing it. It just matters that you are doing it. If you lack the motivation, getting help from a personal trainer might do the trick. A PT will hold you responsible and might help to tackle the motivation part.
It probably is going to take a while to get into the swing of things, but I promise you, scheduling exercise will make it a whole lot easier.
#3 Set Realistic Goals
For many, one of the biggest issues they have with starting exercise is that they do not come up with ‘realistic goals’.
If you have never run before, then don’t tell yourself ‘alright, within a couple of months I will run a marathon’.
You can’t do that.
You may be able to do in a year or two, but you will not be able to do it in the immediate future. This means that by the time a couple of months roll around, you will realize you can’t reach your goals and boom. Demotivation.
So how do we make goals? Let’s take running, for example.
As I said, you won’t be able to run a marathon in a couple of months if you have never trained in your life.
Instead, you need to make small goals. I see no reason why, if you have daily training, you will not be able to run a solid 5km in a couple of months. In fact, you will probably be able to do it far, far quicker than that.
Same with losing weight. Unless you are close to it already, you need to set smaller goals along the way. Losing a few pounds every few weeks is a great start. Aim for the smaller goals.
I am not saying that you can’t have those big long-term goals from your exercising. I am saying that you need to have lots of little goals along the way.
#4 Design Your Fitness Regime
You are lucky to live in the age of the Internet. You have a wealth of information at your fingertips, which will make designing your fitness regime dreadfully easy.
Now, I have no idea what your fitness goals are. This means that I am not going to be able to design a fitness regime for you.
You do know that I have already suggested that you exercise at least 30-minutes a day, however if you are trying to lose weight then you may want to do a little bit more than that.
I suggest that you try and exercise every single day (if you are only doing 30-minutes), although some people may benefit from a rest day for motivational reasons.
Try to mix up your exercises. I like to do a few days cardiovascular training each week, with at least two days dedicated to strength training.
However, if you are looking to build up your strength, then you may want to do a bit more work with weights and the like.
All that really matters is that you have a good mix of exercises. You do the same exercises repeatedly, you are only ever going to be working on one part of your fitness which is not beneficial in the slightest.
However you design your fitness regime, you will need to plan for it to get more intense over time.
As you build up your stamina levels, you will notice that exercises start to become easier. If they are too easy, you are not getting benefit from them.
Push yourself further.
You could be doing sets of 10 weight lifting exercises today, but in a couple of weeks you may need to bump that up to sets of 15 (or increase the weight).
If you aren’t sweating and your heart isn’t pumping, you aren’t working hard enough.
To Sum It Up
I know. I know. Getting started with exercising is not going to be easy.
If you haven’t done it for a while, then it is probably going to be one of the hardest things you could possibly do.
However, I promise you, if you follow the tips on this page, you are going to be making your life that little bit easier.
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.