As a personal trainer, I work with a lot of people who are just getting into or returning to exercise. Whether you’ve never really exercised before, have put on a lot of weight or are coming back from an injury, knowing these 10 things will help you reach your goals faster when starting your fitness journey.
1. Strength Training Should Be Part of EVERY Program
While the best program for you will be unique to your goals, every single good program should include some sort of strength training. Building and maintaining lean muscle helps to boost your metabolism, corrects muscular imbalances and creates the strength that’s needed to perform any movement whether for another exercise, sport or life itself. It’s also a great way to build bone density, burn lots of calories, improve your cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
2. Your Program Should Focus on Compound Movements
Compound movements are exercises that use more than one muscle at a time. For example, squats work your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abdominals and even your back when you’re holding weights. The reason that these types of exercises are so great is that they simply give you more bang for your buck. In spending the same amount of time in the gym doing compound exercises instead of isolation exercises you’ll get more of the benefits mentioned above.
3. Ditch the Excess Cardio
If you love running, that’s great! But, you’re training routine should still focus on strength and power based exercises that are going to improve your running performance. Hours of cardio performed with the hope of burning calories to lose weight usually just achieves one thing, your body will burn that valuable metabolism boosting muscle because it needs it for fuel. Instead, research has shown that strength training mixed with interval training are far more effective for weight loss anyway.
4. Learn a Bit About Calories
While I don’t usually advise tracking calories long-term, if you’re trying to lose weight, you will benefit from having some knowledge of how many calories are in foods. Learn about how many you’re eating each day and which foods are full of nutrients, not just empty calories.
5. Any Diet Can Work
You’re not failing to lose weight because you’re not eating paleo, fasting or sticking to any other specific diet. At the end of the day, any diet can work. What is important is your calories in versus calories out and that you find something that you can stick to for the long-term. It’s not healthy to unnecessarily restrict foods and you can’t keep on cutting your calories too low either because your body will simply adjust. Moderation and a variety of healthy foods over time will give you results.
6. Don’t Worry About Supplements Early On
Unless you’re battling a specific nutrient deficiency, don’t think you NEED to start drinking protein shakes as soon as you start going to the gym. Yes, they’re a great way to add more protein to your diet but it’s more important to focus on eating a variety of whole foods before you start worrying about supplements.
7. Be Realistic
Your results WON’T come overnight! But, they will come one day sooner than they otherwise would if you eat well and get moving. Be alright with the fact that you’re doing something about it and learn to love your body and the process along the way.
8. Abs (Or Any Other Goal) Alone Won’t Make You Happy
If you’re thinking that you’ll finally be able to love your body and feel great when you can see that 6-pack shining through, think again! Looking good will make you feel more confident and happy but, trust me, it won’t make dreams come true! Instead, focus on improving your self-esteem in a non-visual way and you’ll be much happier in the long run.
9. Starting Your Fitness Journey Will Be Hard
Life isn’t an Instagram feed! When you’re starting your fitness journey realise that at some (or lots of points), you’re going to feel frustrated, unmotivated and like you’d really prefer to watch Netflix reruns with pizza and ice cream. Pick yourself up and do it anyway! You’ll thank me later.
10. A Coach Will Help You Get There Faster
The journey to getting fit, improving your performance or losing weight is difficult but it can be a whole heap easier and more fun if you’ve got a knowledgeable coach on your side. An experienced personal trainer can create a program they know will work, teach you about nutrition and be your accountability buddy throughout the whole process. And, all of those things together will help you to get there much sooner than if you tried to go it alone.
If you’re starting your fitness journey and want to do it with someone who’s done it before, don’t hesitate to contact us today. With group fitness and personal training options in the St Kilda area, we’ll help you to get to those goals faster!