Step one: Join a gym.
It does't matter what kind of gym, but if you're new to the fitness world, you'll be best to try some options. Don't be bullied into signing a full year contract right away if you've never worked out before. Lots of gyms have free trial passes, so take advantage of those when trying to find one that suits you best.
It's also best to try out different types of fitness. For the beginner, a big box gym may be a good option as they have a lot of safe easy-to-use equipment, classes and your fellow average Joes and Janes. Also be sure to take an orientation so you know where everything is and how to use the machines.
You can also read our blog post as to 'What kind of Exercise may be Best for You'
Step two: Find your numbers.
There are several numbers that will be beneficial to you in your quest to get fit. Here's what we suggest.
- Body measurements: This includes the circumference of your waist, hip, and thigh. Also record your body weight, and body fat percentage if a Tanita scale is available at your gym. This way you have a good overall perspective of where you started.
- Figure out your heart rate zones: You want your workout to fall within 50-85% of your heart rate max; this should feel like a 7 out of 10. It should be difficult to hold a conversation, but you should be able to speak without gasping for air. Your warm ups and cool downs should feel like a 3 and 5.
- Do before photos and take bi-weekly progress photos. These are always a great way to see where you are at and you will thank yourself for taking them once you start seeing results. They also help hold you accountable. Take an orientation at your gym so you know how to use the machines and what your starting weights should be. Remember the last 3 reps should be quiet hard.
Step three: Get a program and track your progress.
If you can't afford to have a personal trainer, online coaching is really a great way to get personalized workouts that suit your goals. Every workout write down the weights you used for each exercise and never do the same workout twice - you should always be aiming to either increase your number of reps or the weight you used. But this should also be sustainable progress, so don't too much too fast or you risk excessive muscle soreness or injury.
Here's some important program lingo to be familiar with:
- Supersets: supersets are two exercises that you can alternate, usually of non-competitive muscle groups. For example: perform 12 squats, 12 pushups - that's one set. Repeat for the number of sets.
- Tempo: Tempo sets the speed for which you perform an exercise. This helps to put your muscles under tension to get the most bang for your buck for each exercise. For example: 4-1-3-0 means perform work (i.e. descend into a squat) for 4 seconds, pause for 1 second, return to the starting position for 4 seconds and have 0 seconds between reps.
- Rest: Rest will vary depending on what kind of workout you're doing, but is important to be able to complete the exercise effectively while giving yourself enough rest between each set. If your goal is weight loss, try to have as little rest between reps as possible. You should still take between 2 to 5 minutes between each superset to give yourself some rest.
Check out some of our tips for specific exercises like glutes and back.
Step four: Clean up that diet
Don't think that because you are exercising you can eat what you want. You will get more fit from working out but if you want to get leaner (lose body fat) you have to eat properly. Base your meals around whole foods (foods with one ingredient). Try having protein every meal. Increase your water intake. Eat a healthy breakfast. Stay away from trans fat. You may want to check out our other blog post here about why protein is your new BFF.