Beginner’s Guide to Fitness

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*If you have current health complications, injuries or any other medical concerns that could potentially be exacerbated by exercise, PLEASE do not start exercise until you are cleared by your Doctor.

Hi guys! This guide will dive into everything from how to become and stay motivated, what gear you need to start, form tips on common exercises, and what exercises you should be doing to get you started. I know it can be challenging to find what works for YOU. Everyone starts out at a different level, needs different modifications, different weights and so on. Its important to remember you’re starting, this may feel difficult at first and I know you might become frustrated, but I promise if you stick with it and form new habits and a new routine, it will get easier and you will see results!!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. How do I get motivated?
  2. How do I stay motivated?
  3. What gear/equipment do I need?
  4. How do I properly perform common exercises?
  5. What strength exercises should I start with?
  6. What cardiovascular exercises should I start with?
  7. Do I need to warm-up?
  8. What stretches should I do?
  9. How many days a week do I need to exercise?

1. How do I get Motivated?

Truth is. Nobody can make you do it unless YOU want to do it. You’re here for a reason. You sought out help because you want it. So now what? First I’ll let you in on a little secret. You will not be motivated everyday. You won’t. I’m not motivated everyday. Don’t get down on yourself, but leave yourself little reminders, notes, or whatever it takes to get motivated. Here are a few ideas:

LEAVE WORKOUT CLOTHES OUT AND READY FOR THE NEXT DAY. Out of sight, out of mind right? Well, put your clothes out the night prior so they are there and ready to go reminding you it’s time to workout!!

LEAVE YOURSELF UPLIFTING MESSAGES OR QUOTES. You may just not be feeling it when it’s time to start moving, but then you see a message you wrote “you CAN” “Start now” “You are stronger than you think” Seeing one of these may just give you that *I CAN DO IT!* lift you need! Leave these messages on your mirror, on the fridge or set a background on your phone!

WRITE OUT YOUR PLANS/GOALS FOR THE WEEK. You’re more likely to do something when its written down! Get yourself a planner and write down those goals!!! My planner usually includes what cardio/core & workout I will be doing for the day and also my work for the day. I also love to use stickers in my planner to keep it more fun, colorful and positive!

2. How do I stay motivated?

Staying motivated is just as hard if not sometimes harder than getting motivated. Again, try no to get down on yourself, instead plan ahead for these days! Here are some tips to stay motivated:

BE PATIENT. First of all know that results won’t happen overnight. They may not happen in a week or even a few weeks. But if you stay consistent, you will see results!! So stay patient, focused and consistent.

TAKE A BEFORE PICTURE. I know, you do not want to take a picture. Many of the clients I met for the first time had the same look on their face when I told them we were going to take a before picture… 😐 But this is what I said to each and every one of them.. Sometimes you won’t see a change on the scale, but in a picture you will. You see yourself everyday, so you may not notice the small changes happening each day. You will thank yourself weeks from now when you take that follow up picture and say OH MY GAAAWD look at me!!!!!!

NON-SCALE VICTORIES. The scale may not have moved but that doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished nothing!!! Often times the scale may not move, one reason being you may have lost fat in pounds, but you also gained some muscle in pounds. So instead of focusing on a number, pay attention to how your clothes fit, if walking up a flight of stairs feels easier, if lifting your kids isn’t hard anymore.

Watch this short video for more about non-scale victories:

HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY BUDDY. A great way to keep you motivated is having an accountability buddy! On days you aren’t feeling it, your accountability buddy is there to save the day and help you through it! But also keep this in mind, every single body works differently, so if your buddy is losing weight faster than you, don’t get discouraged!

GET A FITNESS TRACKER. I have had both the Fitbit Versa & Fitbit Charge 2. I loved both of them! Using these kept me motivated by doing challenges through the Fitbit App with my friends. You can do challenges with steps, who gets to a destination fastest, or if you sign up for premium you can have challenges based on miles, active minutes, or even have fun bingo challenges! Using a Fitness tracker is also just a great reminder to stay active. Mine goes off every hour if I haven’t met my hourly step goal! Make a goal of how many steps you want to get for the week and try to beat it everyday!! 🏃‍♀️

3. What gear/equipment do I need?

Bodyweight to start is a great option!! Especially if you are just beginning your fitness journey. But even if you are just starting out, it’s not a bad idea to have a few pieces of equipment! Heres a few:

SNEAKERS. Obviously a supportive sneaker is a MUST! I absolutely love my Brooks. My whole family wears them and they are the most comfortable and supportive shoe I have ever owned. EVER! I have tried Nike, Puma, Adidas, Asics and more and nothing compares to my Brooks. 😍👟

WORKOUT CLOTHES. From shorts, sports bras, leggings, tees and tanks, its nice to have a little bit of everything!

MAT. Having a workout mat will help when doing exercises on the floor, making sure you are comfortable and providing a slip free zone! Thick mats like these are great or you can get mats that fit together like a puzzle so you can put them in a space and shape that works for you!

MINI LOOP BANDS. Loop bands are great for lower body exercises and even some upper body moves. I love to add them into exercises I might do with just bodyweight but want to add a little extra resistance. There are two different options, fabric or non-fabric. I have used both and like both. With the fabric bands, you don’t have to worry about the band slipping or rolling up like with the non-fabric bands. The non-fabric bands come in more resistance levels which gives you more options.

DUMBBELLS. I would start with only 2-3 different weights of dumbbells, 2 of each weight. Depending on what weights you think would be best for you. Another option is getting adjustable weight dumbbells.

CARDIO EQUIPMENT. If you don’t have access to somewhere outdoors that is safe to walk or run, I would definitely look into a piece of cardio equipment! I have a small elliptical that is great on rainy days or when its too cold or too hot to do cardio outside! A treadmill would be another great option!

4. How do I properly perform common exercises?

Proper form is KEY to performing common exercises without causing injury! Beneath I have 5 videos of some common exercises you will see and how to properly perform each exercise, along with some common mistakes.

SQUAT.

HINGE/DEADLIFT.

LUNGE.

PLANK.

PUSHUP.

5. What strength exercises should I start with?

Starting out, STICK TO THE BASICS! Basic exercises such as squats, lunges, hinge/deadlift, plank, pushup, overhead press, bicep curls, chest press and so on are all great moves to start with. You don’t have to do man-makers (a burpee, then pushup, then renegade row, then jump up and overhead press) to get in shape. You don’t need ridiculously complex exercises that include 5 exercises in one (such as a man-maker) to lose weight. Keep it simple.

Check out this Beginner Lower Body Workout and Beginner Upper Body Workout!

6. What cardiovascular exercises should I start with?

If you currently are not doing any exercise I would start with walking! I walk all the time, honestly I don’t run much, but I still work up some sweat depending on how fast I choose to go or if I take some hills! (Plus I’m either pushing or carrying a baby😅)

Walking is a great cardio exercise for anyone and is seriously underrated. Besides physical benefits, it’s also great for mental and emotional health. If you have been walking, try some faster paced walking or add some intervals of jogging. If you take the same route on each of your walk/jogs, time yourself and try to beat your time the next walk! Start out with small hills and work your way up to bigger ones!

If you have a treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike, these are also great for cardiovascular workouts. Push yourself a little more each time, if you started with 2.5mph on the treadmill, increase the speed little by little every time you walk. You could also increase the incline!

Remember whatever you do, keep track of your workouts, times and speeds, try to beat yourself each time! Even if its only by a little. Eventually those speeds that were somewhat hard will become much easier!

7. Do I need to warm-up?

YES!! Warming up is super important to prevent injury! Your muscles and joints when cold are not easily stretched and could potentially pull or be injured. When warmed up, your muscles and joints stretch with ease also increasing flexibility.

Your warm-up should incorporate muscles depending on what kind of exercise you are doing. Try these for upper and lower body days, if you are doing full body take a few warm-ups from each!

Lower Body

  1. Leg swings 10 each side
  2. Squats 5
  3. High knees 20
  4. Hip opener 10 each side

Upper Body

  1. Arm circles 20
  2. Wall overhead arm press 10
  3. Windmill 5 each side
  4. Bent over reverse fly 10

8. What stretches should I do?

As much as you need a warm-up, you also need a cool down! After a workout you should choose 4-6 stretches depending on which muscles you worked. Stretching helps prevent against injury as well and can help with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

You only need to hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds and make sure you are not OVER stretching, you SHOULD NOT feel uncomfortable or in pain. Stretch as far as you can until you reach that point you can feel a good stretch but you aren’t uncomfortable. Hold that for 10-15 seconds.

What stretches you do depends on the muscle you worked. Try these for upper and lower body days, if you are doing full body take a few stretches from each!

Lower Body

  1. Standing toe reach 12-15 seconds
  2. Lunge stretch 12-15 seconds each side
  3. Standing quad stretch (heel to butt) 12-15 seconds each side
  4. Lying hamstring stretch (knee to chest) 12-15 seconds each side

Upper Body

  1. Triceps stretch (one arm bent overhead) 12-15 seconds each side
  2. Shoulder/chest stretch against wall 12-15 seconds each side
  3. Across chest shoulder stretch 12-15 seconds each side

9. How many days a week do I need to exercise?

If you are currently doing 0 days of exercise, start with 1-2 day of strength exercises and 1-2 days of cardio. If you’re working out here or there or maybe walking some days, commit to 2-3 days a week of strength exercise. Also do what feels best for YOU, start out slow, that way you don’t get overwhelmed or burnt out.

If you are JUST STARTING, starting from sedentary.. please please pleaseee! Do NOT start with 5-7 days of exercise. Your body needs to start slow, otherwise you will be extremely sore and frustrated. Starting at a pace like this could cause burnout and more harm than good! Also increasing potential for injury.

DO what is best for you. You know your body best, but also listen to your Doctor about restrictions.

I hope this helped you on your journey to healthy living! If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns, please leave a message down below!

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