Happy New Year!!
Are you sick of hearing that yet? Sometimes the New Year can be overwhelming….new goals, the desire or pressure to challenge yourself, hoping you can stick to your routine at least through February…oof…it can be so hard! Setting goals, no matter what they are (fitness related, spiritual, or personal goals) is the easy part…actually accomplishing those goals is a whole other story. It’s hard to find a routine and stick to it. Especially if your goal is fitness related and that fitness goal is new to you and you’re new the idea of even starting a fitness routine. Where do I begin? What movements do I do? How do I use any of the machines in the gym? Will everyone be judging me? What do I even wear? These are all valid questions and they certainly went through my mind the first time I entered a gym setting! I answer those questions today in this post…
1.) Where do I begin?
It can be intimidating going after a fitness goal, when you’re new to the ‘fitness world’ or if it’s been a while since you’ve picked up a weight. I get it. I still feel like a newbie on occasion and I’ve been in the fitness environment for almost 4 years! There are always new and better workout styles, diets, fads, etc that it’s hard to know where to begin. Start by looking at your goal…is it specific? Attainable? Realistic? Your goal needs to be those things in order for you to go after it and achieve it. If your goal is not specific, you will not have a good ‘ending’ point and therefore, will not have a clear start point. If it’s not realistic and attainable, you’ll be chasing it for a long time and become discouraged from not achieving it. If you have a fitness-related specific, realistic goal that you’re going after, here are a few ‘rules’ to implement to get you started.
- Build. Lean. Muscle.
- Lean muscle will help increase your metabolism and further fat loss. So no matter what your fitness goal is, building lean muscle will help. Lift those weights!
- Focus on protein intake
- In order to fuel your muscles and increase your metabolism you need ample amount of protein. Most people, women in particular, do not get enough protein in their diet which cause their muscles to not develop as much. A higher protein intake will help better heal your muscles after a workout and help increase lean muscle mass.
- Focus on vegetable intake
- Most people know they ‘should’ get 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but everyone seems to ignore that advice and slip by with only 2-5 servings. Our bodies are like cars, they need the gas (macronutrients, protein, carbs, and fat) and oil (micronurtients from fruits and vegetables) to run. If a car has gas but no oil, it won’t run well. Same goes for our bodies. If we have good protein, carb, and fat intake but no micronutrients, we’re going to be a slow running car. Get those veggies in, and you’ll see how amazing your body operates and feels when you’r providing it with proper nutrition!
- Focus on hydration
- Many trainers harp on protein and vegetable intake but they forget a crucial element of a healthy lifestyle…HYDRATION! Your body NEEDS consistent water intake. Dehydration can lead to lower metabolism, fatigue, increased heart rate, and a slew of other symptoms you don’t want hanging around. Focus on getting AT LEAST your body weight in ounces of water. For example, a 140-lb female should be drinking AT LEAST 140 ounces of water everyday, and even more if they workout.
- Shoot for 3 lifting sessions a week
- When building lean muscle mass you need to lift weights. However, making a goal of ‘working out every day’ is a lot to start with. Begin by just lifting 3 times a week. Very attainable and manageable and it’ll get you into a routine without you feeling overwhelmed. Once you’re used to working out 3 times a week, you can start adding a day or two depending on how you feel.
2.) What movements do I do as a beginner?
Now that you know your starting pointers (build lean muscle, focus on hydration and good nutrition), it’s hard to know what specific movements will be effective for your goals. Here are a few movements that will target several muscles, but are simple and straightforward.
Squat thrusters…I like these because they are a great total body movement, and adding weight can really up the challenge as you get stronger.
Kettlebell swings…These are also a great total body movement, but they add an extra cardiovascular element that’ll leave you huffing and puffing afterwards…in a good way.
Pushups….A classic. Works chest, arms, core, and quads when done properly. Also will increase the cardiovascular challenge when done in a superset (2 movements done in rapid succession).
If you start with those movements, you’ll get a solid, total body workout.
3.) How do I use any of the machines in the gym?
I personally prefer to work with free weights when going to a gym. I like the challenge to stability that free weights provide. It forces my core to work harder and makes me focus on my form more. However, the machines are a great tool for people who are new to the gym (or haven’t been in a while). They help keep your form more on point if you don’t quite have the strength to maintain proper form with heavier weights. If you want to start on the machines, almost any trainer who works at the gym will gladly show you how to use a certain machine. I know that can be intimidating approaching a trainer in a new environment, but that first step will open you up to more knowledge and understanding that will take you further towards achieving your goals.
4.) What do I even wear?
This may seem like a silly question, but I remember going to the gym for the first time, not really sure what I should wear! I had a few old gym shorts from high school and a couple cotton t-shirts. Was that ok? I quickly learned when you wear cotton, you sweat like a mother…and everyone will see it. Oh the sweat stains in awkward places. I also wasn’t very comfortable since cotton sticks when it gets wet. I felt constricted and tight. I recommend polyester, so when you sweat you can still move comfortably. Target has some good pieces at a reasonable price on their C9 line that have held up for me for several years. And they don’t break the bank! You don’t need to spend $150 to get a decent pair of leggings.
5.) I’m nervous about being judged. How do I get past that?
I remember the first time I walked into a gym. I was SO nervous. I didn’t know how to use any of the machines, didn’t know proper squat form, wasn’t even sure what ‘free weights’ meant (weights that weren’t chained to the wall??), talk about a newbie! All I could think about was everyone seeing my vulnerability and thinking ‘why is she here, she’s not even in shape?’. That first day, I only had the courage to hop on the treadmill and run 2 miles. Then I was out of there. I felt so intimidated at the thought of picking up a weight (cuz I really didn’t know what to do with it). After that, I decided I really needed to get over my ‘fear’ of the gym. By doing that, I hired a trainer. Hiring a trainer helped me get the introduction I needed to the machines, the free weights, classes that I didn’t even know existed. Don’t be afraid to hire a trainer. The investment is invaluable and will set you up for the success the rest of the year! Also, after I became more comfortable in the gym I realized no one was even looking at me, so how could they be judging me?! Everyone is focused on their own goals, and you should be too. Stop worrying about what other people think and focus on your own space and workout.
I hope these tips will help lead you in the right direction this year. No matter what your goals are, work at them each and every day! Tell me below in the comments some of your goals for this year, fitness-related or otherwise! I’d love to hear them!
Until next time,
If you have fitness related goals for this year and want to accomplish your those goals all from the comfort of your own home, sign up for my HIIT Training Program! All you need is a set of dumbbells, your living room, and 20-30 minutes for each workout. Sign up HERE!