Are you trying to lose weight? Whether you’re aiming to drop pounds for the sake of your health, your looks or your confidence, you’re probably aware that regular exercise can help. If you’ve got weight to lose and you’ve set yourself targets, you may be wondering where to begin with working out. If you’re new to exercise and you’ve never been into sports or training, embarking on a fitness regime may be a daunting prospect. Hopefully, this guide will help to ease you in gently, encourage you to get the best out of your sessions and make sure you see results on the scale.
Getting started: taking that first step
If you’ve never exercised before, it pays to adopt a gentle approach to getting started. If you try and lift heavy weights or run for miles straight off the bat, you may end up with an injury. You need to build your strength and endurance gradually. Start with low-impact exercises such as brisk walking, jogging and swimming and increase the intensity as you get fitter. If you’ve got a lot of weight to lose and you struggle to get around, start by aiming to increase the number of steps you take per day by using an activity tracker. Making simple changes like taking the stairs or going for a longer walk with the dog each day will have an instant impact, and you should notice your general fitness improving day by day. Increase that daily target as you become more confident and mobile, and start embracing more intense exercise once you find it easier to achieve the goals you set. Go from walking to jogging or increase the number of lengths you swim.
If you want to join a gym and you have no experience of using machines or lifting weights, it’s a good idea to seek advice before you begin your training regime. Book an induction so that you can learn how each machine works or hire a personal trainer. If you have a trainer, they can design plans for you based on your current fitness levels and your aims. If you want to lose weight, for example, they can create sessions that are focused on burning fat and using calories.
Finding a place you feel comfortable
For many people, a lack of confidence is a barrier to exercise. Gyms are traditionally filled with people who are in good shape. If you’re not feeling great about the way you look, the thought of being surrounded by incredibly toned gym-goers dressed in lycra may make you feel anxious. To combat this, you could opt for one-to-one sessions or find a different place where you feel more comfortable. Perhaps you’d rather work out at home, for example. Home workouts are brilliant, not just because the setting is familiar, but also because they give you more control over your schedule. If you work full-time, for example, it’s much easier to fit in a session at home than it is to find a class at a gym or a swim session that is suitable. If you do choose to work out at home, you can either invest in equipment such as dumbells, mats and balance balls or you can follow online workouts or DVDs.
Do you feel anxious at the thought of walking into an exercise class or are you apprehensive about joining a gym, a tennis club or a soccer team? If you need a little moral support, and you want to have fun while you work out, why not recruit a training buddy? Find a friend who wants to shape up and get fit or go on the journey with your other half. It’s a lot less scary getting started when you have a familiar face beside you, and you can also push each other to get more out of every session.
Image taken from http://www.misawa.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2000867367/
Try different activities
We tend to focus all our attention on the gym, but going to the gym isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. Lifting weights and pumping iron works brilliantly for some, but it’s not the only way to get fit. As a beginner, there are all kinds of options and activities you can try from yoga and Pilates to Zumba and spinning and tennis and golf to military fitness and hockey. The world of exercise is your oyster, so give different sports and exercises a try. Check out classes at Club Fitness, research local teams online and see what kinds of sports you can try at your local leisure center. If you can find activities that you enjoy and vary your workouts, this will help to boost your motivation.
Hang in there
If you’ve tried to lose weight before, you’ll know that it’s not easy to drop pounds and keep them off. The trouble with fad diets, which have become very popular, is that they make you lose weight quickly, but it’s very easy to put that weight back on. The best way of achieving sustainable results is combining healthy eating with regular exercise. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t always produce rapid results. If you don’t drop 10 kg in the first week, don’t lose heart. Focus on a long-term goal and remember that you’re making changes that will benefit you for the rest of your life. It may take longer to reach that figure on the scale, but adapting your lifestyle will bring you long-term gains. Keep going with your regime and try and move the goalposts as you get fitter. Aim to progress all the time and work with a trainer if you’ve hit a plateau or you’re keen to push harder.
Are you hoping to use exercise to lose weight? If you’ve never worked out before, you may find the prospect of going to a gym or going for a run terrifying, but there are ways to get started with minimal stress. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Focus on your long-term goals, try new activities and sports, find a workout space that suits you, take a buddy with you and aim to increase your fitness gradually. Good luck!