Starting a fitness plan is easy, but sticking to it and actually seeing results is a whole other thing. Think about weight loss. Many of us focus on attaining a certain weight we think is ideal for us, and this isn’t the best approach. We tend to pick an arbitrary number, perhaps a weight we’ve always idealized, or a weight we used to be; and this leaves us frustrated when we fail.
If you’ve been doing this for a while, you know that weight loss isn’t a linear process, and the number on a scale doesn’t tell the entire story. If you don’t know how to get started on a fitness plan or are looking for specific instructions, this article will guide you through a few beginner’s strength training tips:
1. Set goals
If this isn’t your first time setting goals, then you probably know about the acronym ‘SMART’ goals. It stands for goals that are:
When you exercise without any specific goals, it makes it hard to gauge your progress. Similarly, if your goals are out of reach (like trying to get back to the weight you were 20 ago), then it’s very easy to get discouraged. Choose your goals carefully, and as for starting a workout, you could always start with a walking program.
2. Drink more water
The general guidelines are to drink between 17 and 20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before workouts, another 8 ounces during your warm-up (should be 30 minutes prior to exercising), 7-10 ounces during your workout (every 15 minutes), and finally, another 8 ounces after your workout.
Losing just 2% of your body weight in fluid can reduce performance by up to 25%. So whether you’re an athlete or are just starting out, hydration is important if you want to see good results and feel good while working out.
3. Do not resort to any ‘fad diets’
Even the most convincing fad diets tend to have major pitfalls. For starters, they don’t promote healthy eating; they are designed for short-term success and are therefore not ideal if your goal is to attain long-term fitness. When you give your body the nutrients it needs to function, you create an environment for losing weight.
Focus on eating healthy food at least 80% of the time. You need high-quality proteins, veggies, and healthy fat to improve your health. It’s okay to have a cheat meal once or twice a week as long as you’ve eaten well all week leading up to it.
Details about how to make your own personalized diet plan can be found in the previous post.
4. Prepare for binge attacks
To keep your binge urges at bay you need to have several layers of defense and these layers should be made up of effective personal improvement techniques that range from meditation to personal hacks for dealing with binge situations. We have a few tips for managing binge urges:
- Mindfulness: Keep in mind that binge eating is a conscious decision to yield to a strong urge that comes from deep inside your brain. So being mindful of your actions and your surroundings can help prevent situations that trigger or encourage cravings.
- Inspiration or motivation: Find something (or someone) that inspires you and helps you stay motivated even when in a bad state of mind, and always keep a positive attitude about your situation – it also helps to have a sense of humor.
- Address underlying issues: Chances are you have underlying emotional issues that drive you to binge eat – or you got there through years of bad eating habits. Either way, you need to get to the root of the issue and be ready to address it. Bear in mind this might open a can worm of stress, anxiety, depression, and even medical conditions; so you might consider getting professional help.
- Mental hacks: Learn more about how your mind works, and find ways to shield yourself from the cravings through distractions, rewards (giving yourself something other than food), and learning how other people have overcome it.
5. Plan your workouts
How much time can you devote to exercise? Whatever your time commitment is, try to develop a workout routine that makes sense for you and ties in with your fitness goals. Once you figure out where you’ll work out, make a point of following these quick tips:
- Start by warming up. Five to ten minutes on a rowing machine or bike will do the trick. Or you could always run up and down the stairs to get warmed up.
- Do one exercise for each muscle group. Target your quads, hamstrings, butt, core, etc., and do 3-5 sets of each exercise.
- Switch up your workout. Always mix up your sets, reps, and workouts to keep things interesting.
- Stretch after your workouts. Exercise builds up lactic acid in your muscles, and this can lead to soreness and fatigue. Stretching helps to reduce muscle fatigue and improves blood circulation.
- It’s okay if you mess up. Keep learning and improving as you work out more regularly.
Ryan is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer at fitnessgoals, with a passion for writing and a love for chocolate. He enjoys long walks with a breeze and finding ways to make dessert healthy. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter.
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