Beginning an exercise regime can be an overwhelming and even off-putting idea, whether you're just starting to work out (or thinking about it) or you're ready to get back into it after a break.
Much of the time we overdo it and try to stick to a six-days-a-week training schedule and consequently burn out, while others don't start at all for fear of failure.
Whichever camp you're in, these seven tips for how to start working out are here to help you establish a fun, sustainable workout schedule.
1. Start with two workouts a week
It might be tempting to jump straight into an intense exercise schedule in an effort to see results quicker, but for most people this isn't a sustainable way to train.
To ensure you're forming healthy exercise habits you can sustain, start with two workouts a week. Once you feel comfortable with the movements and your fitness improves, add a third workout day.
2. Try at-home workouts with or without equipment
Joining a gym or class when you haven't been exercising can be a nerve-wracking and confronting experience. Maybe you don't know how to use the equipment, don't feel fit enough or simply feel uncomfortable.
To help you ease into a routine, as well as get familiar with basic movements and exercises, try at-home workouts on YouTube, such as yoga, barre, pilates, HIIT and strength training. You can buy and use weights and/or resistance bands, or simply use your body weight for great workouts in the comfort of your living room.
3. Find the best gym for you
Once you feel comfortable, confident and ready, take your time to find the best gym for you, your needs and schedule. Don't be afraid to ask gyms and studios lots of questions about their memberships and peak times. And book a few trials at your nearest gyms or studios to see how you like the vibe and trainers.
4. Consider booking a personal training or one-on-one session
To make sure your technique is correct or to help guide you around the gym, it might be worthwhile booking a person training or one-on-one session at your gym or studio. Just a few sessions can help you gain confidence working out and in the gym.
5. Have a game plan to help you stay motivated
We all go through periods where we don't feel motivated to get up and exercise, whether it's because we're tired, stressed or just feel like vegging out.
To help you stay motivated, have a game plan in play -- ask a friend or loved one to hold you accountable (better yet, exercise with them) and to encourage and remind you to work towards your goals.
If you often find excuses to not exercise, one helpful strategy is to pack your gym bag the night before so it's ready to go. You can even bring your workout gear with you to work so you're prepped to fit in lunchtime or after-work sessions.
6. Change up your workout
Once you get bored of one type of exercise or if you find it's not suited to you, why not switch things up and try different types of exercises?
Give these fun exercises a go: rock climbing, roller skating, trampolining, hula hooping, surfing, bush walking, standup paddleboarding and cycling. A lot of activities don't even feel like you're working out. Invite your friends and make a day of it.
7. Figure out why you're exercising
The goals you have in mind when you start an exercise regime often determine how sustainable they will be.
While physical goals can be helpful in the short-term, try to focus on larger-picture goals like 'to feel healthy and fit', 'to find exercise I have fun doing' and 'to find a routine I can stick to for years'. A healthy lifestyle is a life-long deal, so make sure you're enjoying it.
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