Raise your hand if getting fit was on your horizon for 2018. If it was, that’s great! If it wasn’t, that’s fine too – maybe I can give you some motivation to make it so.
In an age full of Fitspo Instagrammers and Fitness YouTubers, it can quickly become an information overload if you are new to the #fitlife. If you’re a newbie, you’ve likely been found asking yourself:
- Should I do cardio?
- How many crunches do I need to do before I get abs?
- What does this machine do?
- What do I do with these dumbbells?
… or some variation of these questions. Being new to the gym can be scary and overwhelming. I get it! I have put together SEVEN of my best tips to help you face your anxiety and get started on achieving your fitness goals.
1. Focus on You
The number one fear stopping people from starting their fitness journey (or anything new in life) is fear of judgement. Too often people say that their fear of other people watching them in the gym is what has prevented them from starting. You are probably thinking, “If I don’t know what I’m doing people are going to laugh at me”, and I am here to discredit that thought right now.
Most people in the gym are there for the same reason – to better themselves. Similar to how you may be obsessing over what people are thinking about you, these people are too busy focusing on themselves too be worried about what you are doing. Focus on your own mission, your own goals, and your own vision for how you want your fitness to progress. Worrying about other people’s hypothetical thoughts is only going to hinder your own progress.
2. Stick to the Basics
Despite the fancy techniques and you may see your favourite fitspo’s doing on instagram, at the end of the day it’s the simplest moves that are going to get you the results you want. Attempting “fancy” moves, especially when you are new and haven’t nailed down technique, is a recipe for injury. Focus on understanding the different muscle groups and exercises for each, to create a foundation upon which you can build later.
www.bodybuilding.com is a great resource for beginners!
3. Forget About Supplements
First things first, yes, I do believe that supplements can help you in your fitness regime, but no, I do not believe they are necessary. Particularly, as a beginner, supplements merely add to the confusion of establishing your bearings in the gym. Supplements are just that – meant to supplement your activity and diet. Until you know what you’re doing there is no sense in adding to the confusion.
Further to that, if you’re just someone recreationally approaching fitness, be weary of the supplements you buy into. Fitspo models are sponsored by supplement companies to tell you that you need supplements to be successful; in reality you do not. You will still be able to achieve the results you desire provided you follow a proper sleep schedule, hydrate, and practice good nutrition without paying hundreds of $$$ for some powders and pills.
4. Eat Well (But Treat Yourself)
“Abs are made in the kitchen” – cliche, but true. It is impossible to out train a bad diet. No matter how much effort you put into your training, eating poorly will hinder your potential. Focus on maintaining a balanced diet, with as many whole foods as possible, but fear not that slice of pizza or fancy pastry every now and then.
I do not encourage any extremes – low carb, gluten free, shake replacements, etc – as typically these don’t work in the long term. Instead focus on making individual swaps and over time it will get much easier. Remember that no diet or healthy lifestyle is worth it if it prevents you from living a life you love. The 80/20 rule (80% whole foods, 20% whatever) is king in finding a plan that works and reaching your fitness goals with ease.
5. Take Rest Days
As tempting it can be to train 6 to 7 days a week, don’t. Your body needs time to recover. Despite the fact you may have planned to go to the gym Monday through Friday – if you’re sore on Thursday, skip it! By over training, you are doing your body no favours. Your muscles need time to repair, recover, and rebuild so it’s important to listen. Not working out is better than a half-assed struggle of a workout.
6. Ditch the Scale
This might go without saying, but weight is not a measure of physical fitness. Sometimes the numbers on the scale do not reflect the progress you are making in the gym. Your self-worth should not be dependent on a number; the scale does not measure inches lost, muscle definition, etc.
What matters most is how you feel and how you look – the scale does not measure this. Progress pictures and actual physical measurements are the most accurate method for determining your progress.
7. Find What You Love
Weight lifting is not for everyone. Whether it be at home workouts, group classes, yoga, or weights – find what works for you. You need to experiment. If something isn’t working for you – be open to trying something else – just because your favourite fitness person isn’t into spin class doesn’t mean you can’t give it a try!