Is 2018 finally set to be the year that you take charge of your health and fitness, and build the fit and healthy body that you’ve always wanted? If so, then you’d better act fast, because before you know it, summer will be upon us. They say that a summer body is built during the winter, and if your summer body prep has, shall we say, suffered a few setbacks over the last few weeks, now is the time to get your health and fitness in order.
If you’re committed to getting fitter and healthier, starting a new exercise regime as a beginner can be a daunting experience.
You’ll probably not know where to begin, what to eat, or what to do, and that’s where we come into the picture. If you don’t know a Burpee from a Cadbury’s Crunchy, make sure you read on, because all will soon become abundantly clear. Here are 7 Easy, Beginner Exercise Tips to help you get fit for 2018. Take a look for yourself and see what you think.
1. Don’t Fear the Weights
If your goal is fat loss, or if you’re simply trying to improve your fitness and endurance, you’ve probably been focusing much of your attention on cardio.
Don’t get us wrong, cardiovascular exercise (CV) is hugely beneficial (more on that later) but it isn’t the only form of physical exercise out there. People seem to think that weightlifting is an activity which caters exclusively for bodybuilders looking to pack on as much muscle mass as possible – it’s not.
Sure, you can build plenty of muscle by lifting weights, but you can also simply tone up, burn fat, and improve your cardiovascular conditioning by lifting weights as well. By using a set of dumbbells, or using a few weights machines in the gym, you aren’t suddenly going to transform into the Incredible Hulk. What will happen however, is that you’ll burn calories, become a little fitter and stronger, burn a little fat, and build lean muscle mass, yay!
2. Make Exercise a Habit
If you’re truly serious about making 2018 the year that you finally get in shape, you’ll need to be seriously committed. You can’t just head to the gym, or workout whenever you’re in the mood, you will need to exercise at regular intervals, even on days when you’re tired, annoyed, and simply cannot be bothered.
When you head to the gym as a beginner, you need to ensure you make exercise a habit, and force yourself to workout 3 to 4 times per week, at least. You may think that your schedule is too full to allow you to train, but if you are committed to getting fit and healthy, you’ll move some things around and will do whatever it takes to get your workouts in, even if that means waking up one hour earlier, or heading to bed one hour later.
It takes time to build lifelong habits, but as the saying goes ‘the more you do it, the easier it becomes’. Give yourself a workout schedule, and be sure to stick to it, religiously, even if you can’t be bothered.
3. Find Activities that You Enjoy
When it comes to health and fitness, one of the most important things you need to remember, is that you must have fun and enjoy what you’re doing. You wouldn’t believe the amount of beginners there are out there, that head to the gym and hop on a treadmill for hours on end, despite the fact that they hate gyms and they are literally hating every minute of their workout.
Despite hating what they are doing, they power through, head home, and repeat the exact same miserable process all over again the next time they train. Exercise and fitness should be fun and it certainly shouldn’t feel like a chore.
If you hate gyms, and hate doing cardio on treadmills, then don’t work out in the gym, and don’t do your cardio on a treadmill.
There are plenty of viable alternatives to doing cardio on a treadmill out there, so find something you do enjoy. If for example, you’re a fan of cycling, why not get the majority of your cardio in the form of cycling instead? That way not only are you burning calories and enhancing your fitness, but you are also having fun at the same time. If you’re having fun and are enjoying yourself, your motivation will increase, meaning you’ll be more likely to give your workouts 100%.
4. Try New Things
Another very effective method of getting more from your workouts and exercise routines is to force yourself out of your comfort zone and to try new things.
As we touched upon previously, there are plenty of ways of exercising and getting fit out there, so please do not think that you need to be doing the same thing over and over in order to get in shape. Say for example, you normally go jogging in the park for cardio, but are growing bored of the same route over and over again, try going somewhere new.
By changing your surroundings, you are giving your workouts a whole new look and feel. Try playing games with buddies or family members, try hiking instead of jogging, or simply try switching up your workout routine in the gym. By trying new ways of exercising you are broadening your horizons and are helping to ensure you stay motivated and interested in getting in shape.
In truth, you probably won’t enjoy some of the activities you take part in, but at the same time, there will probably be plenty of activities you do enjoy.
5. Switch up Your Routine
Whether you lift weights and follow more of a resistance-based routine, or if perhaps you are more of a circuit training kinda’ guy or gal, eventually, you will hit a plateau.
When you’re working out and are making progress, life seems wonderful. Eventually however, you will reach that dreaded plateau, when your progress stalls, your energy levels plummet, and your motivation seemingly couldn’t drop any lower if it tried. In order to break through a training plateau, you need to ensure that you switch up your training routine every few weeks.
If you’re trying to build lean muscle mass, and have noticed that your gains have stalled lately, you may wish to consider following a new routine. You could give your training a complete overhaul and start a brand-new workout program, or you could simply make some subtle tweaks.
If for example, you ordinarily perform 10 reps per working set, aim for 12 -14 reps instead, or go with a heavier weight and aim for 10 reps. Switch up your weights, rep ranges, working sets, and exercises, to help break through a plateau.
The human body has a wonderful knack for adapting to certain stressors. That’s why switching up your training routine is such a good idea, because it keeps the body guessing so that it doesn’t know whether it is coming or going. Accordingly, it will respond favourably to the stimuli you are placing it under, meaning more gains and progress for you. Hooray!
6. Train With a Buddy
If you can, to help get more from your workouts, try training with a friend or family member.
As a beginner, working out, whether at the gym, or anywhere else, can be a little daunting, which is why it’s great to have a friend with you. By training with a friend, you can motivate and encourage each other, plus you can spot one another on certain exercises, to help keep one another safe.
When you workout with a buddy, you have somebody to speak to between sets, plus you have somebody to hold you accountable.
You see, if you trained alone, or if you decided you’d rather spend your evening glued to the sofa eating junk food rather than working out at the gym, ultimately you only have yourself to answer to. If you’ve arranged to train with a friend however, you’d be far less-likely to text them and tell them you’re cancelling the gym in favour of being a fat slob, as you know they’d tell you to get a grip and to come workout instead.
Training with a buddy also helps motivate you, because whether you both admit it or not, there will be a competitive element there, as you will both want to best each other, so you’ll be more likely to dig deeper and work that little bit harder.
7. Try HIIT Workouts for Cardio
Whether you’re training to lose weight, get fit, or anything else, cardio will almost certainly play a big role in your weekly training regime one way or another.
If your cardio workouts are long, boring, tedious affairs, or if they simply aren’t giving you the results you were hoping for, why not try HIIT workouts instead? HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and it is one of the most effective forms of exercise currently in existence.
The basic concept behind HIIT, is that the person switches between fast-paced exercise performed at a high intensity, and slow-paced exercise performed at a low intensity for several rounds. As an example, a basic HIIT workout performed on a treadmill would begin by the person walking at a slow and steady pace for 40 seconds, before cranking up the speed and sprinting as fast as they can for 30 seconds.
They then walk for 40 seconds and repeat this process over and over again for a pre-determined number of rounds. A typical HIIT workout lasts just 20 minutes, yet during this time you can potentially burn upwards of 400 calories. HIIT is great because it’s incredibly effective, and it is over in a fraction of the time of a regular slow and steady cardio workout.
For those of you who don’t have much time to train, or for those of you who hate boring and monotonous cardio sessions that seemingly never end, HIIT is perfect.
Have a go, and tell us how you got on?
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