Have you been thinking about kickstarting your workout regime and only waited till now to finally get up and do it? Always saying you will tomorrow, yesterday? How do you get started?
Regardless of whether you are starting Bodybuilding, Crossfit, HIIT, Calisthenics, Yoga, Pilates, this article will walk you through the step by step guide to start your fitness plan; especially if you have been sedentary or immersed in one of those lazy spouts.
Let’s get started.
Selecting A Gym, Studio, Location
This is the most important factor of all. Be it a commercial gym, CrossFit box, yoga, studio or running route, you got to decide a location to start your workout. You can either select one close to your house or close to your workplace. Select a place that is affordable and can work around your work schedule. Think long term – you don’t want to commit for only two months and see your money go down the drain with no results.
Go for trials. Most gyms offer a few days pass or even weekly passes! The best way to get a feel of the coaching, gym environment, culture is to actually try and test the gym itself.
Apparel, Gym Bag And Shoes
You can wear almost anything to the gym as long as it is in accordance to the gym’s house rules. There is no need to wear expensive clothing; instead, wear clothes that you feel great in. As for bottoms, you can wear either tights or comfortable shorts. If you are on a budget, you can use SAF EMart credits to purchase shoes, top and bottom wear! Yes, it is ugly but practical! I did this when I started off my fitness journey 10 years ago. Refrain from wearing slipper and jeans. Finally, a gym bag. You can either have an additional bag or a bigger bag to contain work-related items.
At this point of time, there is no need any of these as supplements only aid you in that 5% of your efforts. The bulk of your success comes from diet and training. It will only make you confused. If you insist, then start out with multivitamins and fish oil. Simply follow the label instructions for dosage. I have another article on supplements which will clear your doubts:
Knowing What To Do
If you know exactly what to do for your fitness regime, go ahead and select a gym. If you are clueless about training and dieting, select a gym which has coaches to guide you along. Read reviews from the internet and choose wisely.
Workout Schedule And Rest Days
Create a plan so that you can get it in your routine and commit to it. If you don’t set yourself some goals, you are essentially planning to fail. A typical workout plan would be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Rest days would be Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. There are many ways and I would recommend finding time which suits your timing and lifestyle. For myself, I do two days split-
Sunday: Active Recovery
It is very important to have rest days where you do completely nothing. Just be comfortable in your ‘me-time’, doing your stuff.
Having A Logbook
It is important to have a logbook so that you can keep track of what you are doing, eating and feeling. It can be a diary as well. It need not be a hard copy. Using an application to record is good as well. I always thought it was nonsense but when I started keeping a logbook, it all makes sense to me now. Until now, I am still keeping a logbook of what I eat and my training program.
Select A Person You Always Idolise
It’s always good to have someone to look out to. Your motivation will increase as you follow the fitness journey of someone you can learn from. This factor is extremely important because motivation is a phenomenal and inexplicable emotion which can come and go easily. When I was younger, I idolized Arnold Schwarzenegger. I always wanted a big chest like him. It can be anyone! I am sure you like a certain celebrity’s body etc and would love to have a body like theirs. Of course, as time passes, this person will change. Same goes for you. As I get older, my idol changes. Why? Because our body changes and we understand our body better and who we are as a person.
You got to decide on what to eat and where to buy your food before/after training. As you increase exercise, your metabolism too will increase where a lot of people think they can eat what they see in sight and then lament about weight gain or worse, blame that lifting weights make their muscles look fat etc. There is no need to calculate calories etc. Focus one thing at a time. Don’t change your diet plan too much right now. Avoid following a bodybuilder diet etc.
If you are going to a commercial gym and do not know what to do but would like to do a program eg. chest day, shoulders day etc, you got to read/youtube a lot. Risk of injury is high too. It took me over 10 years to learn a simple bench press. Until now, I am still learning! For example, learning the angle of elbow positioning plays a big part to recruit the chest muscles.
Make a playlist that makes you feel heroic and strong, giving you the push needed for the last few reps. This is also another tool to ‘zone out’ or hype up. It can be a playlist which you listen to on the way to a workout and even during a workout. Everyone listens to a wide range of music and everyone’s liking to certain genres are extremely different. Lastly, you have to constantly update your playlist and make amendments so it fits your mood. Have a few playlist for periods like during stretching, during warm up, during training etc.
You can either use Spotify or iTunes phone application for finding your favorite music and make them into a playlist. You can follow me on Spotify to see if any of my albums interest you!
Educate yourself with some knowledge about nutrition, training, motivation, and supplementation. It would be good to also read up more on what you are exactly doing. Example, in yoga, there are so many types of yoga. By reading more, not only do you know what exactly you are doing during a yoga class, but it also makes you more knowledgeable of yoga as a whole. Another good example would be High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It is a trend now in Singapore but a lot of people doesn’t really know the science behind it. Internet serves a good ground to read but be careful not to read only one source and determine the answer. It would be better if you read from scholarly sources and trustworthy youtube videos about a subject. That way, you will have a wider perspective of the subject. Avoid trusting forums.
The toughest part is walking through the gym door. That is a big step to do. Do not be intimidated by others or care if they are looking your way. Most importantly, never doubt yourself.
Now that you have read these, I hope you get a general idea where and how to start now. I am sure you are all pumped up and ready to hit the gym! Whatever it is, stay hydrated, keep safe, eat well and most importantly, be happy with who you are.