5 ways to set up your fitness journey for success
Ok, so the time has come and you have plucked up the courage to join the gym and get started on your fitness journey. You tell those close to you or those you work with that you’ve joined the gym and they start talking about how cardio is the only way forward for weight loss and that you should buy a bundle of supplements to help you out. You go and buy yourself loads of new gym gear, enter the gym then BOOM!
With all of this kit and all of these people, all you can think about is: ‘is that person staring at me’, ‘that is the strangest looking machine I have seen in my entire life!’ ‘I don’t know what I’m doing so I’ll just jump on the treadmill for 30 minutes get a sweat on then leave’. Before you know it, you are 3 months into the same routine having never left the cardio area. You look the same and you feel defeated because you haven't made any progress. This is a common routine to a large number of people who are trying to change their body but don’t know how.
It’s ok that you don’t know what to do - remember everyone has to start somewhere.
What matters is you seek help and do everything you can to get educated on what to do, why and how.
To help you get started on your fitness journey and gain clarity and confidence along the way, here are 5 top tips for you to action and implement:
1) Book yourself onto an induction
I know the word ‘induction’ automatically sounds boring but you wouldn’t believe the amount of confidence you’ll get from being advised on what to do, how to do it and understanding what benefits they will have for you. My role as a personal trainer involves taking members through inductions and I honestly can’t recommend a better way to start as soon as you join the gym. Based on your goals the induction will be tailored too so rest assured not every induction is the same!
2) Learn how to lift
Lifting weights is one of the best ways to lose weight.
It results in fat loss, muscle definition, muscle gain and reaps plenty of other rewards that I could list off for days!
Both men and women should be lifting weights… heavy weights for that matter too but that’s a discussion for another day. When it comes to training, don’t think of weightlifting and cardio as two separate evils. They both need to be implemented and they complement each other to gain maximal results, think of them as Yin and Yang! This is something that will be briefly taught to you in an induction but if you want more help throughout your journey then I would recommend you to invest in personal training. The return on investment in having a personal trainer is huge and means you will constantly be educated on how to train and will set you up for success in the long term, just make sure you find the right one for you.
3) Start slow and steady
The chances are that you are feeling good about getting started and want to try and go to the gym every day, but when you start out you need to be cautious of doing too much too soon.
Going in everyday and for hours on end is only going to cause you to burnout and reduce your motivation to keep going. Work smartly and you will reap the rewards.
Aim for 3 sessions per week to start out if you can, and in these session you should start off with workouts that target the whole body (this is something you will learn in your induction too).
When it comes to what sets and reps to do on each exercise start off with approximately 3 sets of 15 repetitions. Rest for 2 minutes in-between each set. The amount of weight lifted should be around 50% of your own bodyweight. You’ll find there are areas of your body that are stronger than others and that’s ok. Try and keep track of what weight you’re lifting, and every week or two try to increase the weight slightly, reduce the rest time or perform more reps to make sure you are getting fitter and stronger!
As you get fitter and stronger you can advance your workouts to make sure you keep making progress.
Again, you can speak to a personal trainer for more information or check out some more workouts on our blog to try out.
4) Set yourself an outcome
What result do you want from going to the gym? Is your goal to lose two dress sizes? To build more muscle definition? To train for an event like the Great Run or Tough Mudder? Whatever your goal is, make sure you're set on achieving it. The reason why you come to the gym is the most important factor of all. The reason for this is because there are going to be plenty of times that you won’t feel like going to the gym. Again, that’s ok, we all experience this (even myself). With winter coming, you know that snooze button might get hit a few times once you realise how cold it is outside! Your reasons for coming to the gym might be deeper than dropping a couple of sizes too like increasing your confidence or having enough stamina and fitness to go on family days out and spend time with your kids.
Remember your why and create a strong emotional connection to what you are going to feel like once you achieve that outcome.
You might fall off the wagon along the way but it’s no big deal, fall down 7 times get up 8!
5) Work on building an enjoyable balanced diet
‘Diet’ – the word we all fear but we actually don’t need to. When it comes down to it, I think we can all admit that the weekend can get the best of us and we end up overindulging in junk food. I’m not saying that you have to be restrictive and cut all of that out, you just need to understand the impact your choices in food is having on your body and how to moderate and make some improvements.
Keep it simple, a diet that consists of largely whole foods, vegetables, fruit and small amounts of processed food is bang for your buck.
Here is an example of some meals for a healthier you.
Breakfast: Low sugar muesli with Greek yoghurt and handful of berries
Lunch: Piri Piri mackerel on a bed of spinach leaves and cherry tomatoes with a banana and handful of nuts for afterwards.
Dinner: Seasoned grilled chicken and mixed peppers with sweet potato mash and some veggies
These are just examples (some of my favourites admittedly) and are only a snippet of all the other options out there. I make sure that I include foods I enjoy and that are healthy, and that is the key to success in any diet. Diets that are too restrictive, have no flexibility or lack foods that you enjoy are guaranteed to make you want to quit and binge at the quickest opportunity.
I know these tips sound simple and it’s much easier said than done because I’ve been through this journey myself. The amount of information out there to guide you on your journey can be overwhelming too which is why I have chosen to discuss these 5 basic tips for you to get started. Start by building a solid foundation to help you advance later throughout your journey. Try implementing these 5 tips and let me know how you get on!
Most of all, enjoy the process, keep it simple and don’t forget … balance is key.