So you are finally ready to turn from your couch potato ways, and trade your T.V. remote in for a dumbbell! Congratulations, and welcome to the wonderful world of fitness! I commend you on your resolve to lose weight and get into shape! Now where do you begin? These days there sure is a lot of talk about diet and fitness, whether it is a new diet pill or piece of exercise equipment. It is enough to make your head spin, and certainly enough to confuse the beginner. Take a deep breath, and follow these simple tips to go from being a fitness beginner to a pro!
TIP #1: GET MOVING
The first thing you need to do, as a fitness beginner, is to start moving! I mean this literally. Get up, and walk out your front door. Now walk down the street. Now turn the corner. Keep going! Do you get the picture? Start introducing your body to fitness by going on walks. These walks will probably start out slow and short, but before you know it they will be brisk and long. Try to work up a sweat as you tour the neighborhood. Make it a habit to wake up early to go on your walk, or consistently go on a walk before you go to bed. These walks will get you to start burning calories each day, and will also begin to build your cardiovascular endurance.
TIP #2: STRETCH
Once you become a pro at walking, you will need to add something new to your routine. Stretch before and after your walks. Start by reaching down to touch your toes and holding it for 30 seconds. You will feel tightness on the backs of your legs, in your hamstrings. Now place your palm against a wall at chest level and turn your body away from it. As you hold this for 30 seconds you will feel a stretch in your chest. Most inactive people have tight hamstring and chest muscles due to prolonged sitting, so it should be your priority to stretch these muscles out. You will be pleasantly surprised at what this will do for your posture!
TIP #3: CLEAN YOUR DIET
Fitness professionals like to claim that 80% of what your body looks like is directly related to what you eat. In other words, if you are eating burgers and fries and visiting the gym everyday, you are still going to look like you are eating burgers and fries! It is time to clean up your diet, so you can continue on your fast track to fitness.
· Rule #1: No more fast food. Fast food is cheap, available, and quick, but it is far from healthy. You are better off avoiding it completely.
· Rule #2: Eat 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables everyday. Your body needs the nutrients found in these foods, and they will fill you up without empty calories.
· Rule #3: Eat 4-5 small meals a day, rather than 2 large ones. This will keep your metabolism high all day, and turn you into a calorie-burning machine!
TIP#4: JOIN A GYM
After you have mastered walking, stretching, and have started to clean up your diet, you are ready to join a gym. Don’t be intimidated or scared of this concept, the gym is a friendly place where people go to burn calories and build muscle! Find a local gym that has a convenient location near your home or work place. The key to making your gym membership worth its monthly dues is to use it consistently. Go to the gym no less than three times a week. While you are there begin a resistance training program as well as a cardiovascular program.
TIP #5: FIND A BUDDY
There is no better motivator to get you to the gym than knowing that someone is there waiting for you. If you find yourself slacking off in your workouts, or skipping the gym, a workout buddy might be just what you need. Find a friend with whom you share similar fitness goals, and become workout buddies. Agree to meet three times a week at the gym, and encourage each other throughout your workout. You will find that this makes workouts motivating and fun.
There you have it, all you need to know to get yourself up off the coach and into a healthy, fit lifestyle! Making the decision to get into shape will be the best one you make in your life, and I wish you all the best. To your health!