It’s never too late to take your first step into fitness. Along with nutrition, it’s the first step in leading a healthier, longer life. Beginner athletes stepping into the gym for the first time ever or after a hiatus have a lot to learn, which is why we’re making this guide. Although it’s a long journey for beginner athletes to learn the do’s and don’ts of fitness, it’s a journey worth taking.
This guide is by no means going to touch everything you need to know – no fitness expert knows everything, no matter how reluctant they are to admit it. But, this will give you a basic understanding of what to do on your first day at the gym.
Define your fitness goals
Before you even start scheduling rest, cardio, and strength days – define what you want to accomplish. Are you trying to lose weight? Build muscle? Gain endurance? Whatever it is, your workouts and nutrition plan will revolve around that big picture.
But that’s just the first step. Losing weight is a healthy goal worth pursuing, but it’s not a S.M.A.R.T. goal. That means it’s not specific enough. The key to being a successful as a beginner athlete to evolve into a seasoned one is – being purposeful in your actions. Doing random workouts at sporadic times might help you get in shape, but not reach your end goal.
Set mini-goals to help keep you on-track. Your mini-goals will dial you in on your end goal, and motivate you throughout your journey. See how these fitness goals are closer in reach than simply “losing weight”:
- Go to the gym four times a week
- Take the stairs
- Run three miles a week
- Use 10-pound weights with an exercise
- Walk 10,000 steps a day
Invest in a personal trainer
Now that you have a vision in mind with specific steps you want to take, it’s time to create a workout plan that reflects that. But beginner athletes may be unsure how to go about that. The good news: personal trainers are well educated to guide you expertly to reach your goals.
Even experienced athletes overestimate how much fitness advice can be found in a search engine. Personal trainers are well worth the investment when you’re just getting your bearings on fitness. They give beginner athletes a foundation to develop good fitness habits, like:
- Proper form
- Number of sets and reps
- Workout timing and schedule
- Specific exercises to tone muscles
- Efficient HIIT workouts
- Best stretching and warm-up techniques
- Nutrition and lifestyle advice to support your fitness program and keep you on track
People will debate on never-ending online threads about form and reps, but you don’t know the person on the other side of the computer. With personal trainers, you can trust their voices since they have the education and certification to back up their advice. They’ll explain what exercises to do, when to do them, how to do them and most importantly – why you’re doing them. When beginner athletes understand the why behind their workouts, they can develop their own plan later.
Explore different workout avenues
Even beginner athletes know that there’s an array of fitness niches out there. Oftentimes, these branches of fitness become “trendy,” but that doesn’t mean you have to go with the flow. Dip your feet in different areas of fitness, such as:
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Functional fitness
- Strength training
- Yoga or pilates
- Group fitness
Try it all. Beginner athletes can sometimes fall into a routine they don’t genuinely enjoy, just because it was “cool.” Explore, find your niche, and roll with it. You won’t ever get bored working out when you’re having a great time doing it. If more than one type of fitness appeals to you, even better! That means you can mix up your workouts without feeling pressured to only lift weights or cardio.
Get the hang of it
Be patient and don’t try any complex, extravagant workouts. This can put beginner athletes at risk for injury, since their muscles haven’t accustomed to the stress they’re under during their first workouts.
If you’re pursuing yoga, perhaps start with slow-paced hatha yoga. That way, you can start nailing your fundamentals and save the complex poses for down the road. If you’re learning to pump iron, do high repetitions (number of movements) and low weight. That way, you can focus on developing proper form, which will potentially save you from injury. In this aspect, beginner athletes are actually at an advantage. Instead of having to shake old habits and replace them with healthy ones, they can build the right ones from the get-go with the help of personal trainers.
Grab other beginner athletes and partner up
Beginning your fitness journey becomes a lot easier with a friend. One study found that 95 percent of people that started a weight loss program with others finished it, while only 76 percent finished it alone. Some research even says that working out with a partner can increase performance, like running faster. This boost of motivation and confidence can propel you through intimidation and shyness around the gym. Workout partners can also:
- Keep you accountable and stay focused
- Ensure you’re keeping proper form
- Spot you when increasing weight
- Help you ease into a routine you may have never tried previously
- Provide positive encouragement and help push yourself harder
Take the leap of faith into fitness. Beginner athletes, no matter what shape or size, can learn what their minds and bodies are capable of with consistency and dedication. With the help of Thrive Fitness’ personal trainers, you can find your niche and learn proper farm with an expert’s supervision. Every professional athlete or bodybuilder started somewhere – so just start. Start your fitness journey today, email firstname.lastname@example.org.