5 Exercise Tips For Beginners

5 Exercise Tips for Beginners | Jennifer Diaz | Photo by  Q Avenue

5 Exercise Tips for Beginners | Jennifer Diaz | Photo by Q Avenue

Today is the day gyms and studios everywhere have been preparing for, as "work out more" tops the list for many New Year's Resolutions! A large number of people will walk into the gym today with the best of intentions and motivation levels running high. While you definitely want to capitalize on this strong sense of motivation, the last thing you want to do is go from 0 to 100 mph in the gym. I know high intensity workouts are glamorized these days and it's tempting to push yourself as hard as you can, but if it's long-term change you're seeking, gradually moving into this newer exercise habit is a must! Beginning with a workout intensity level that is disproportionate to your current fitness level can actually lower your motivation and deter you from making exercise a healthy habit! So, how should you begin? Below, I'm sharing 5 tips that will help you ease into your new workout routine wisely, and hopefully permanently!

1. Ask Questions

And lots of them if you need to! If you go to a local gym and aren't sure how to utilize the equipment, ask someone who is working the floor. That is why they are there. Not only will this help you avoid seriously injuring yourself, but it will also help you avoid becoming the next YouTube #workoutfail sensation!

2. Hire a Certified Trainer

I'm obviously a little biased on this one, but in all seriousness, one of the main (and few) risks of exercise is injury. There are a lot of moving pieces to even seemingly basic exercises, and it is very important that you're aware of each one so you can perform it safely and effectively. Working with someone who is properly trained can really help you get started on the right track to long-term success. Treat the initial meeting like you would an interview. You are hiring them and making an investment in your body, an invaluable and personal asset. The good ones aren't cheap, but having someone who knows what they're doing, watches your body mechanics, and teaches you the proper techniques is worth every cent to ensure your physical health. Not to mention, it's also their job to motivate and keep you accountable, two major factors that support success!

3. Wear the Appropriate Attire

It doesn't matter if you run, lift weights, swim, bike, etc. Whatever the activity, make sure you have the proper clothes, shoes, and accessories for that particular activity. It does not need to be the most expensive/trendy brand on the market, but quality is extremely important (especially shoes)! Exercise is already uncomfortable, so there's no need to make matters worse by working out in the wrong gear. It can make all the difference in how much you enjoy an activity, and more importantly, save you from potential injuries and frustrations.

4. Find an Accountability Partner

Strength in numbers. I believe we were created for community! If you're not working out with a certified trainer, having a friend or group of people to be active with can make getting to the gym much more likely and a lot more fun! I love being active with my friends. It's a great way to include a social aspect, another very important part of your wellness, into your regular routine! 

Side note: This is also really fun to do with your nutrition goals. Instead of going out to eat, have everyone come over to help cook a healthy meal. You may find that wonderful conversations often happen when sharing a well-prepared meal around the table together!

5. Start Gradually

Muscle soreness is not always the best gauge for determining the effectiveness of a workout, especially in the beginning. In fact, while some muscle soreness is typical, experiencing too much can deter you from continuing to consistently work out. When you're beginning an exercise program, many of your initial strength gains are actually neurological. Your body does its best to be as efficient as possible during the day, meaning it only exerts as much effort as it absolutely has to. So when you begin to resistance train, stressing the body more than it's used to, your brain begins to better connect with more of the muscle fibers you have. In the first 6 weeks, you will be able to see strength gains by performing 1-2 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise with a moderate amount of weight! Same goes for running. If running is your new activity, start by  running intervals: run for a minute, then walk for a minute. It's ok for you to begin slowly, especially if this is the first time you've worked out in a long time (or ever)! I recommend gradually increasing your intensity every two weeks in the beginning! There are so many variations of exercises and workouts you can do! Make sure your body is ready to handle a higher intensity before amping it up!

Here's to your fittest year yet! What workouts will you be trying this month?