Starting any new challenge can be daunting, especially when its a lifestyle change. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Start slow – When your feeling super motivated and keen to get started, its easy to get carried away and exhaust yourself. The first week you might work out 5 days, then the motivation starts to fade and the following week you only complete 2 sessions and suddenly you are losing motivation and beating yourself up for not training. If you haven’t been completing a regular fitness program, start slow. Doing 2 sessions a week for a few weeks is a great start. When you get into a rhythm, increase your sessions to 3 days a week. You will find this a much more manageable target, then going straight into 4-5 sessions a week.
Ask questions – If you have joined a gym and are a bit unsure of how to get started, ask lots of questions! Most gyms have an induction program for new members that includes a session with a PT or similar to go through the equipment and processes at the gym. Make sure you take advantage of this session and ask lots of questions, write a few down if you need to, prior to your visit. If your still confused, consider booking a few personal training sessions to help you get started. These sessions can help you familiarise yourself with the equipment and correct form. Remember, you are paying to be there, the staff are there to guide you and assist you when needed. So ask for help.
If you are starting an at home fitness program, join some online groups and social media sites to gather more information. Just remember, not everyone is qualified to give fitness advice, so be wary when taking instruction from others, do your own research.
Look at the equipment instructions – In the gym, all equipment has a label on it showing how the machine works and highlighting the different muscles groups that are being targeted. If you are unsure, just take a deep breath and have a look at the instructions. Make sure you understand how to use the equipment before you start lifting. I will often perform the exercise with no weight for a few reps, just to get a feel for the machine and movement before I add resistance. Don’t be embarrassed by looking at the instructions, it may feel like everyone is watching you but trust me they aren’t… Focus on what you are doing.
Set small goals – Whilst you may have an ultimate goal in mind, this can often seem daunting and unachievable. That is why you should set yourself smaller goals that work towards your ultimate goal. Don’t forget to give yourself a realistic timeline to achieve these goals to hold yourself accountable. If the ultimate goal is to gain 10kg of muscle, start with trying to gain 2kg of muscle in 8 weeks. Or if it’s lose 10kg, try losing 2kg in 6 weeks. By breaking down your goals they become more achievable and you can celebrate your success along the way. After all Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Celebrate your successes – We are so quick to focus on the negatives and put ourselves down, that we forget to pat ourselves on the back when we achieve something. Its time to focus on those positive achievements and not dwell on the setbacks. So lets look at a few of those successes: Lifting a heavier weight, training an extra day, losing 1kg of weight, choosing the healthy snack option, walking to work or working out consistently.
It’s ok to fall off the wagon
As much as we would all like to wake up one day, hit the gym, eat healthy and never look back, unfortunately life doesn’t work that way, sometimes we have to fall to succeed. We all have off days, even weeks, when we don’t train, eat unhealthy food and lose total motivation. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goal, remember you never fail until you stop trying.