Deciding to begin a workout program is one of the first steps towards winning your personal fitness battle. Unfortunately, working out can often feel a bit overwhelming before you’ve even begun. With so many things in life, a little bit of knowledge and planning will go a long way. Developing a successful workout routine is no different. Below are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your fitness journey:
- Make time for your workouts. Set aside at least 30 minutes each day for your workout. This block of time does not have to occur at the same time each day, but many people find that working out at the same time each day makes it easier to build a habit. If you don’t plan to workout, the chances are you won’t workout.
- Realize that a short workout is better than no workout. Just because you don’t have your full block of workout time today doesn’t mean you should skip working out altogether. A 15 minute workout is better than no workout. A short workout will energize you on a busy day.
- Enjoy music while you workout. Rocking out to your favorite tunes can help you maintain a good pace as you push through your workout. You will often find time passes very quickly to the sound of your favorite artist.
- Eat well. Proper nutrition and hydration are essential components of any workout plan. Make good choices but don’t feel like you are only allowed to eat food that tastes bad. Eat something healthy within a couple hours of each workout, or your hard work will be for nothing. Don’t use a good workout as an excuse to binge eat. Chances are you aren’t burning as many calories as you think you are. You cannot outwork a bad diet.
- Focus on form, not speed. Using correct form will maximize workout results and minimize injury risk. Use good posture when working out to save your back and joints. You will never reach your full potential without using proper technique.
- Warm up. Before you begin your workout, make sure your body is ready to workout. Get your blood flowing and heart rate up with a simple cardio activity, such as 2-3 minutes of brisk walking, light jogging or jump rope. Then take the muscle groups you plan to target through a few slow reps of range of motion exercises. Consider body weight squats or lunges for your legs and pushups for your arms. Static stretching should only be done once your muscles are good and warmed up. After your workout, cool down and stretch.
- Vary your workout routine. Alternate between two or three daily workouts that target different muscle groups. Include cardio in your rotation to help burn fat and build stamina. Avoid doing the same workout everyday, as this can lead to a variety of issues, such as overuse of certain muscle groups, plateauing much sooner and just plain boredom.
- Change up your routine after a few months. After doing the same routine for a period of time, you will begin to notice diminishing returns. When you begin to feel yourself plateau, make some tweaks to your workout plan to ensure you are maximizing your time. You will likely find yourself re-energized to complete your new workouts.
- Set realistic goals. If you have never worked out regularly before, your chances of running a sub-5 minute mile or bench pressing 300 pounds a month from now are somewhere between slim and none. Setting such unreasonable goals will only be discouraging and can potentially lead to overexertion and injury. Your first goal should simply be to workout consistently for a few weeks. Following completion of this goal, you will have some accurate benchmarks from which to develop your next set of fitness goals.
- Give yourself a day off. Take one day off each week for rest and recovery. Some people like to schedule their off day on the same day each week. Others may find it better to let their off day fall where it may as urgent matters come up in their business or personal lives and prevent them from working out on a given day.
Following these tips will provide you with a good foundation as you begin working out. Remember that a successful workout program requires discipline and commitment, but will pay dividends over time. Personal fitness is a daily battle. Give yourself the best chance to win it.