Starting a fitness program? Great! You are on your way to a healthier more enjoyable life. That said, the next step is to hit the gym and get some big results, right? Slow down. Jumping headlong into a fitness program can leave you physically exhausted and injured. Before you head out there and tear it up, consider the following.
Starting A Fitness Program: Get Fit, Not Hurt
Start Slow: The last thing you want to do is go in with an “I’m going to lose this weight TODAY” mentality. This is a good way to get so burned out and sore that the gym becomes a torture chamber. Start with a low intensity and low impact workout. For the first few weeks, consider walking 10-15 minutes on the treadmill followed by 15-20 minutes of light weight training.
Err on the Light Side: Now is the time to swallow your pride. Attempting to lift more weight than you can is a recipe for disaster. Swinging weights, arching your back, twisting and jerking are all ways to get hurt. In addition, you are not working the intended muscle group and placing strain on smaller, more injury prone, stabilizing muscles. Proper form is the key to staying injury free!
Try the Machines: The weight training machines are great for beginners. They have instructions, show you which muscles are trained, and you change the weight with a little pin. Not only that, but they stabilize your body and isolate the desired muscle group(s). This is a great way to gain some base strength before you graduate to free weights or other higher intensity workouts.
Keep A Record: This can be as comprehensive as a workout journal or as simple as tracking your attendance. For some, it is motivating to keep a journal of their complete workout. Exercises performed, weights lifted, number of sets, and repetitions. It is motivating to look back and see your progress. However, if this seems like too much extra work, many gyms have apps that will track your attendance. Looking back at all of the days you worked out that month can be just as motivating.
Starting a fitness program is a great way to live a healthier more enjoyable life, but it is important to keep safety in mind. Start slow, this is a way of life and not an end result. Don’t lift too heavy and use proper form. The machines are a great way to ensure proper form and to gain base strength before moving on to more intense workouts. And keep a record, you just might amaze yourself!