How to start a new fitness routine

So maybe you’ve decided to start a new project. A new you, a slimmer, fitter you. A leaner, more muscular you, perhaps. It’s not really that hard. Of course, there’ll be moments when things seem tough, but the fact that you’ve decided to do something about it, that will take you a long way.

So how do you start on a fitness routine?

Baby Steps

First thing’s first. If you haven’t exercised regularly or at all in the past six month’s or so, take it easy on yourself. Start easy, go for a ten minute walk after dinner or in the morning. Park further away (if it is safe) and walk to your destination. Take the stairs for a few floors (provided your blood pressure is fine). Hang up your clothes yourself. Sweep, mop and clean the house yourself. Rake your own lawn. Just start by being more active than you were before. And stick to it!

Be Smart, Be Realistic

When you’re ready, maybe after a month of being more active at home and at work, it’s time to boost up your activities. Try to increase your cardiovascular activities; for example, more walking or a longer, swifter walk. Time yourself, and try to shave off some of that time every week. Pick up your pace.

After about a month, start thinking of goals. For example, “I will walk 5 km every day for 21 days and shave off a minute every 4 days”, or “I will swim ten laps after work and by 21 days, I will intend to be able to swim ten laps in twenty-five minutes.” Something along those lines.

When this has become part of your daily routine, for example, between 21 days and 3 months, then it is time to think about:

Building Strength

You have now laid a foundation of cardiovascular fitness (also sometimes referred to as stamina or endurance) for yourself. It is time to think about building muscles. For men, this is no problem, considering we have more growth hormone and testosterone running around in our body (to speak simply).

For the ladies, remember that it is very difficult to gain the kind of muscle growth that men do. This is generally why men burn more calories than women. The more muscles you have, the more calories you’ll burn, so fat loss and muscle gain come hand in hand.

Strength exercises aren’t that difficult. Go to Youtube or Vimeo to discover how to execute a push up (or a wall push up), some squats and add in other calisthenics (if you aren’t a gym member), such as jumping jacks, sit ups / crunches, plank and glute bridge to boost up your workout.

So maybe a simple workout would be to walk swiftly to the park, then do two rounds of push ups, squats, glute bridges and planks, then walk swiftly home, for example.

Stretch It Out To Flush It Out

Now you’re almost there. You have built a cardiovascular fitness foundation, you’re slowly building up your strength, and you now need to add in stretches. You can add dynamic stretches prior to your workout and then static stretches afterwards. Remember that stretching is important. Pre-workout, it gives your body a chance to prepare itself for the work it is about to do. Post workout, it helps flush out toxins remaining in your previously working muscles, which includes lipids (i.e. fat!).

Stretching also helps to de-stress, so after a long day at work or a terrible traffic jam on the way home, try stretching for half an hour. It works wonders!

And you’re off!

In as little as three to six months, you’ll feel and see a difference! Be patient with yourself and your body, eat wisely and in proper portions (see http://myplate.gov/ for help on this). All the best!

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