So you've made the decision the get in great physical shape and take responsibility for you own Health and Well-Being! I'm proud of you! Taking the first step is the hardest part and when you stick to it for at least a month you will begin to reprogram those bad habits into good ones that will support you in a life of vitality, energy and enjoyment!
These 10 tips will guide you on your journey and support you in making the decision to get started on your weight management goals successful!
- Just start NOW and don't be afraid: Having a little bit of fear and anxiety when it comes to starting a fitness routine is very normal amongst beginners. The best way is to dive right in and never look back. Once you get a taste for how good it feels to become active again, get your blood flowing and your heart pumping, it will become easier to continue. Every path starts with a single step!
- Make sure to have proper training shoes: It is essential to wear supportive footwear that you feel comfortable in while you are working out. Function before fashion! Make sure you are using a shoe for the type of activity you are conducting in the gym. Unless you're doing a lot of running on the treadmill, where a running shoe would be ideal, I suggest using a cross training shoe which will give you much more lateral support for lifting weights.
- Drink a lot of water: In order to stay hydrated and focused, make sure that you consume at least 500ml of water per hour of training at the gym. Have a drink after every resistance exercise and every 5-10 minutes during cardiovascular training sessions.
- Make sure to eat before you hit the gym: This will help you with your energy levels to ensure that you will have a great work out and be able to push enough weight to help you build lean muscle. It is best to eat about an hour before to allow some time for digestion so it isn't competing for energy while in the gym. One of my favorite snacks before the gym is oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder in it and a teaspoon of Omega 3-6-9 oil. Do some research on how food affects the body in regards to protein, low glycemic carbohydrates and good fat.
- Make sure to eat after the gym: Being consistent with consuming food after the gym is very important to nourish your fatigued muscles. This is one of the most important times to have some sort of protein and good carbohydrates to refuel your energy stores and mental focus. When I don't have a lot of time, I really enjoy a protein shake with a scoop of glutamine for muscle repair and a banana to restore my blood sugar levels. Ideally I would have a complete meal after the gym if I'm training just before dinner time.
- Burn fat naturally: Stay away from thermogenic style pills and potions that claim rapid fat and/or weight loss. They not only make you dehydrated and speed up your heart rate (which can be very dangerous); they also contribute to losing lean muscle mass, therefore lowering your metabolism and your body's natural ability to burn fat. Losing more than 2-3 lbs of weight per week is not healthy and will more than likely be put back on in the long run. Try doing your cardio slower with short bursts of high intensity intervals. Slow and steady wins the race!
- Don't over train your body: Many people make the mistake of going to the gym every day because they're so excited to get in great shape. Although being pumped about getting fit is terrific, you are doing yourself an injustice by training too often and stunting your muscle which will also eventually burn you out. Be realistic with your schedule and devote about 3-5 days of about 1 hour weight training and ½ hour cardio for optimal results. Rest and recovery is essential to ensure your muscles are completely repaired before you begin training them again and provide you with much better work outs, natural fat burning and lean muscle growth.
- Go for a physical check up: In order to start off on the right fitness path with no accidents or injuries, it is important to see your doctor for a go ahead OK to assure you'll attain the most benefits with the least amount of risks. This is especially a good idea if you smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or are overweight. This will also give you confidence to move forward safely and with no worries or at least some guidance on the pace you should proceed.
- Do a fitness assessment: By doing an initial assessment of where you are at physically is a great eye opener and gives most people a nice kick in the butt when they truly see the results. This is an excellent motivator for setting some realistic milestones and ultimate goals. Things that should be covered are weight, body fat percentage, measurements, resting heart rate and blood pressure. I also like to see how many pushups I can do, how many chin ups I can do and how long I can hole a 90 degree wall sit with my back against the wall. Every month do another fitness assessment and compare results to your initial one and make adjustments in your routine to focus on the areas that aren't quite seeing the results your are seeking.
- If you don't have a clue, hire a pro: Investing in a personal trainer is one of the best things you can do for yourself when it comes to beginning a fitness lifestyle safely and effectively. You will learn proper technique, form, posture, breathing, amount of reps, amount of sets, order of exercises and which muscles you are actually working! They will help you prevent injuries and give you the confidence needed to perform each exercise with focus and the knowledge of doing it correctly. Personal trainers are there for motivation, inspiration and education. Just make sure you do your research on who you are getting involved with and that they are certified.
Now go get in the best shape of your life and enjoy the benefits of less body fat, having much more energy and feeling great! Remember, with drive, passion, persistence and believing in yourself, you can be successful at anything!!!
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