Fitness for Beginners
So you’re turning a certain age but refuse to feel like it. Or you made a resolution you’re going to stick to (for real this time). Or maybe you just want to turn heads at the reunion.
Whatever your reason for starting a new exercise routine, chances are you know exactly where you want to end up: 20 cholesterol points lower, 10 pounds lighter or two sizes smaller.
But do you know where to start?
Stacey Lei Krauss, Vibram FiveFingers Fitness Adviser, would start with this piece of advice:
“Make a plan: know how you are going to exercise, when you are going to exercise and how long you are going to exercise.”
Krauss’s words are more than an exercise tip. They are the blueprint for a successful fitness plan.
1. Plan how you are going to exercise.
Before you start squatting twice your body weight, running a half-marathon or signing up for a year’s worth of Pilates, you need to figure out what type of exercise routine is right for you.
Krauss’s advice: don’t put all the weight on your shoulders. Seek the guidance of others.
“Many people get nervous beginning an exercise routine… because they simply don't know how to begin. I suggest a personal trainer to get you started.” She’s not talking about a lifetime commitment here. Just five sessions should give you a good grasp on how to achieve your fitness goals.
“Joining group classes are perfect, too,” Krauss continues. “You may need to try out a few different classes to find the one that feels ‘right’ to you.”
Looking for more wallet- and schedule-friendly sources of guidance? A recent fitness survey by Vibram, makers of FiveFingers minimalist footwear, shows that 62% of professional trainers recommend online exercise communities and forums. Another 48% point to training videos and fitness magazine websites as great ways to get your new routine off and running.
2. Know when you are going to exercise.
One of the most common barriers to successfully integrating exercise into our lives is time. Let’s face it – there’s just not enough to go around.
But if you’re serious about making a healthy change, there are quick ways to comfortably squeeze a workout into your hectic day. You just need to plan it out.
“Plug dates and times into your calendar - and get there, and do it,” Krauss advises. “If you have a time issue, integrating small bouts of exercise into your life is the way to go. For example: try a one-minute plank when you first get out of bed, do a quick 20 push-ups before you eat lunch, and add in a mile run – or a mile walk/run – when you get home from work.”
Can’t get to the gym? Work some one-minute planks into your day.
3. Know how long you are going to exercise.
Stacey Lei’s final bit of planning advice: progress slowly. This tip is as important as it is overlooked. In fact, over 73% of trainers surveyed admit that building slowly is one of the most ignored pieces of advice they give.
There’s no quicker way to run your newfound enthusiasm into the ground than a 10-mile sprint or two-hour weight session on day one. Doing too much, too soon overtaxes your body, leaving you more vulnerable to pulls, tears, strains and other physical injury. It can also fill your head with frustration and doubt. Not the best way to start your routine.
Set realistic time limits for your workouts and hold yourself to them. Start with 10 to 20 minutes a day this week. If all goes well, bump it up to 20 to 30 next week. And so on.
Not sure how long is long enough? Just ask a trainer or do a little poking around online. There are some great exercise starter plans out there.
“The toughest part about starting an exercise program is getting started with a solid plan,” says Krauss. The good news is that building a solid plan isn’t that tough.
Source: 2011 Vibram Five Finger Fitness Survey.