9 Do’s And Don’ts Of Fitness For Beginners
It’s never too late to begin your fitness journey. If you’re brand new to working out or looking to change up your routine, consider these do’s and don’ts of fitness to guide you on a path to healthy living:
DO: Gauge your determination and dedication to reaching your fitness goal.
The first step to starting your fitness journey is to understand yourself and how dedicated you are to your fitness goals. Avoid selling yourself short and cutting yourself too much slack when considering your commitment levels to fitness.
Everyone’s determination and dedication look a little different—some people may need a very strict routine and plan, while others need flexibility and variety to reach their goals. If you can honestly understand yourself and how you would best achieve your fitness goal, then you will be more successful.
DON’T: Set unrealistic expectations.
Improving and maintaining healthy fitness levels doesn’t happen overnight. Therefore, setting unrealistic expectations for losing weight or seeing significant changes in your body can be detrimental to your progress. Change comes with time, so don’t be discouraged when you don’t see immediate results. Improving one’s health and fitness is a life-long journey, not a race. There’s always room for improvement and adjustments to your regimen.
DO: Set small achievable goals.
Once you have a clear understanding of how committed you are to getting healthier and what changes you are willing to make, you can begin to craft small, achievable goals. As outlined above, don’t be unrealistic. Instead, be SMART. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. If you can create goals that fit these five specifications, then you can better plan for how to achieve them.
DON’T: Go from 0 to 100 real quick.
In the words of master lyricist and rapper, Drake, don’t go from a “0 to 100 real quick.” What this means is don’t go from not working out at all to working out every single day for long periods of time. If you’ve been sedentary, slowly ease into working out regularly. Avoid diving head first into high-intensity and frequent workouts. It’s okay to ease into a new fitness regime, by beginning slow and simple. Then, as you become more accustomed to your new fitness schedule and level, you can begin to up the intensity or frequency of your workouts. It’s very important to note that radical life changes often aren’t long-lasting, and true improvement begins with moderation and consistency.
DO: Find an exercise you love.
You will be more likely to stick with exercising if you find a workout that you love. If you hate running, it’s probably not the best idea to make running a core element of your fitness routine—you’re going to be fighting to motivate yourself to workout every time. But, if you find a workout that’s fun and enjoyable, you’ll be more likely to stick with it, and maybe even look forward to exercising.
DON’T: Compare yourself to others.
We’ve all been there. You’re jogging on the treadmill, when someone hops onto the machine next to you and acts as though they’re trying to race Usain Bolt. You feel the urge to compete with this person, and measure your fitness ability against theirs. Don’t fall into this trap of comparing yourself to others! Remember, everyone is at different places in their fitness journeys. If you’re too concerned with what the person next to you is doing, then you’re distracting yourself from focusing on you. Fitness is a personal journey.
DO: Be consistent and resilient.
Since change and time go hand in hand, you must consistently put in the time and effort to see results. Consistency is fueled by your motivation. You can find motivation in a variety of ways. Reflecting on your original fitness goals and imagining where you want to be are strong motivators.
Some people need a little outside help to remain consistent and resilient. Enlist the help of a friend to whom you can update your progress, and who will check up on you. Or find a fitness buddy who will go to exercise classes with you. If you prefer to keep your fitness journey private, try fitness apps and trackers to help you mark your progress and find inspiration. There are many ways to encourage yourself to be consistent and resilient, but it all begins with YOU.
DON’T: Ignore nutrition and diet.
Nutrition and healthy eating is an essential element to improving your fitness. Solely focusing on exercising will yield some results, but pairing a good diet and exercise is the true, magical combination to a healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating doesn’t mean following the newest diet fad or depriving yourself of all your favorite things—a slice of pizza isn’t going to kill you, but moderation is key. The best way to find out what works for you and your body is to consult your doctor or a nutritionist.
DO: Switch up your routine.
In order to avoid hitting a fitness plateau, change up your fitness routine every other week. Not only will your body be challenged by becoming stronger and burn more calories, but you will also avoid boredom. This will help you stay on track and keep your focus on your fitness goals.
Author: Pono Suganuma, Utah State University.