Written by a contributing writer
Summer is looming. While many of us can’t wait for the arrival of long, hot days, the thought of baring all on the beach or wearing more revealing clothing can bring anxiety. If you’re keen to lose weight this summer, or you simply want to tone up and feel more confident in your own skin as warmer weather arrives, there’s no better time to get into a training program. You don’t need to be a fitness guru to shape up and reap the rewards of regular exercise. If you’re eager to get started, this guide will point you in the right direction.
Taking the First Step
Many of us think about exercising, and then never actually take that first step and get started. It can be tough to break the mold and change your routine, but the sooner you get used to working out on a regular basis, the faster you’ll adapt. It can be daunting to saunter into a fitness class or walk into a gym for the first time. If you’re nervous because you’ve never really been into exercise before, or it’s been a long time since you trained, start with a beginner’s class and consider taking a friend. If you’re joining the gym for the first time, it’s always beneficial to take advantage of an introduction. During this short session, you can learn how to use every machine safely and effectively, and you can also learn a bit more about the equipment on offer, and how it could benefit you. If you’re apprehensive about that first class or session, you could take a friend or exercise with your partner. Although this is often a lot easier to say than it is to do, try not to worry about what other people think. When you’re faced with a room full of toned, sculpted bodies, this can make you feel anxious, but focus on why you’re there, and remember that everybody has to start somewhere. If you are worried about training in front of other people, visit the gym at quiet times, for example, first thing in the morning, or work out at home. There are numerous online workouts and fitness DVDs you can follow.
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Setting Realistic Goals
Setting goals are incredibly beneficial when you’re trying to get fit. Targets can propel you in the right direction, keep your motivation levels high and give you something to focus on, but it’s so important to ensure that any goals you set are realistic. If you’ve got a lot of weight to lose, don’t expect to drop a kilo a day. If you’ve never run before, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to take on a marathon after a month. If your main aim is to lose weight, challenge yourself, but stick to a program that promotes gradual, sustainable results. If you’re training to build your fitness levels or tone up your abs or triceps, work towards end goals, but focus on major milestones along the way. Increase the number of sets each week or try and shave a few seconds off your personal best for a 10-kilometer run.
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Getting into a Routine
Do you find exercise a chore? If so, you’re not alone. It can take a long time to get used to being more active and to get to the stage when exercise is part of your daily routine. If you are struggling, hang on in there, and try and make your new routine work for you. Work out in the morning, rather than the evening, so that you can attack the session with energy and enthusiasm, and choose activities that you enjoy. If you don’t love jogging, don’t persist with it and go for a jog every day. You don’t have to fall head over heels in love with every class or sport you try to get fit. Adapt your daily schedule to allow time for physical activity, and find out what works for you. If you’re not a morning person, take some time out at lunch or go to a class, visit the pool, or get your bike out after work.
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Making Exercise Fun
Are you one of those people who starts a new fitness regime with all the motivation in the world, only to find that a few weeks later, you can muster up even a modicum of enthusiasm? The trouble for many of us lies in boredom. We start off with the best intentions, but we grow tired of going for a jog or doing weights sessions. Soon, we’re back to square one. If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s hugely beneficial to try and find activities that are fun and to vary your workouts. It’s no surprise that people find the same exercises tiresome after weeks of training. If you tend to get bored easily, exercise classes like those available at ClubFitness.us are a great idea. With classes, you can socialize, make new friends and try something different. There’s a vast range of options available, from Zumba and dance-themed cardio classes to spinning, barre fitness, abs and core sessions, yoga, Pilates and fusion options that offer a bit of everything. Try different classes, see how you get on, and alternate activities to keep things interesting. In the summer, you can also enjoy exercising in the great outdoors. Swap the treadmill and indoor cardio sessions for running on the beach, hiking in the mountains or fun activities like kayaking, swimming, and climbing. Some people also find exercise more enjoyable with a buddy. Work out with your partner, make friends at classes or take an old friend from work or college with you when you go out for a run or a bike ride.
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When you’re having one of those days when you can’t seem to find the energy to get off the sofa, or you’re tempted to hit the snooze button several times, remember why you wanted to start your program in the first place. Were you keen to lose weight? Were you unhappy with the way you looked? Was stress getting the better of you? Did you want to improve your health? Did you want to feel confident for a summer vacation or are you shaping up for a wedding or a landmark birthday? When you’re struggling to carry on, think about the reasons you wanted to be more active, and focus on how you’ll feel after your session, rather than how you feel now. If you miss a class once a month, this isn’t going to be a problem, but if you make excuses on a regular basis, you may end up with regrets. If you can find that tiny drop of motivation and get out there and work up a sweat, you’ll feel even better afterward. If you find it hard to push yourself when you’re at the gym, it may also be a good idea to hire a personal trainer. When you’ve got a trainer, they can give you support and advice, but they also have expertise in getting the best out of their clients. Just when you think you’re running on empty, your trainer will get that extra mile or that final set out of you.
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If you’re on a mission to lose weight, you may assume that you need to try and exercise as much as possible at the same time as surviving on meager portions. In reality, healthy weight loss is all about finding a balance. If you’re training, whether you’re trying to drop a dress size or you’re hoping to gain muscle mass, you need to fuel your body. If you’re not eating enough or you’re eating the wrong foods, your body won’t have the energy it needs to excel in your training sessions. Keep an eye on your calorie content, increase your intake of protein and cut out processed, fatty, sugary foods to improve your diet and ensure your body has access to the fuel it requires. If you need help, a personal trainer will be able to provide you with nutrition plans. You can also find amazing resources online, including this useful article https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/best-foods-eat-and-after-your-workout.
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Rest and Recovery
When you get into exercise, and you’ve got a goal in sight, it can be tempting to go all-out. While it’s brilliant to push yourself, don’t underestimate the importance of enabling your body to recover. Have a couple of rest days or alternate tougher sessions with light exercise. If you’re doing strength training, for example, have a day off once a week and switch to yoga, swimming or Pilates on another day. Get enough sleep and make sure you warm up and cool down before and after every session. It’s so important to do this to protect against injury and condition your body.
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Are you hoping to get fit this summer? If you’ve got goals, hopefully, this guide will help you achieve them. Have fun with exercise, think about why you want to get fit, eat well, rest up and set yourself targets that are tough but obtainable.