“Just where do I start with fitness? How long should I work out for? What exercises should I do?”
You’ve made your resolution to get fit and you know what your ultimate goal is. But just what should you do; and how do you know you’re doing it right? There’s so much information out there – what is right? What advice do you follow?
Don’t panic. Active8me has an incredible team of experts behind it – Olympians, dieticians, doctors, personal trainers and more. True experts who know what they are doing, are passionate about fitness and health, and who can help you navigate all your questions and all the information out there.
Run down this list of 10 essentials to fitness and you’ll be off to a great start.
Your First-Steps to Fitness Checklist
1. Motivation for fitness
Success always begins in the mind and getting fit is no different. Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to keep up your new year’s resolutions? The most likely reason isn’t because life became busy. It is because you weren’t clear on ‘why’ you really wanted to achieve your resolution and so you prioritised other things. When you know why you care about your resolution/goal then it is a much deeper type of motivation which taps into your deep emotional drivers. These strong emotional drivers are the ones that help you continue through obstacles, disappointment and set-backs. When you know your ‘why’ then you’ll prioritise so you don’t just give up and stop. If you want ‘real motivation’ then understand why you’re starting this journey in the first place and figure out why it really matters to you.
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2. What is your fitness goal?
What is your ultimate goal? Is it to lose 15kg? To complete the 10km race you’ve somehow signed up for? To look toned? Or just to enjoy the benefits of fitness? No matter what your goal is, in order to successfully reach it you need to get planned and organised. So here’s what you do: Break your goal down into smaller, more achievable sub-goals or ‘milestones’. Now write them down so you can reference your plan. (Think of it like this – if your fitness goal is a big city in the distance you are trying to travel to, then your smaller milestones are the little towns you will pass through on your way to reaching that big city). And every time you reach a milestone or new level of fitness, reward yourself. This will give you a sense of achievement and help you stay motivated.
3. Fitness attire
Choose attire that you will feel comfortable being active in. Footwear is important too – don’t just go for looks, seek advice at the store for shoes appropriate for your activity and foot type.
4. Nutrition for fitness
You need energy for your workout. Ensure that you are eating healthily, not crash dieting. Your nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. It is all about a balance of nutrients that give your body the fuel it needs, without overloading it with junk. In fact, it may even be possible for you to eat more and lose weight on your fitness journey! One of the most important things for you to remember is to manage your serving size. Having the right knowledge of portion control is key. See the free cheat sheet below for more details.
5. Digital tools for fitness
Setting reminder alerts for workout days is a good way to help you stick to your routine. Digital tools that keep track of your fitness can help too. Choose one that not only tracks your steps but provides workout plans, exercise videos and nutrition plans.
6. Dynamic warm-up
“Do I get straight into the workout or do I do a warm-up? What do I do for a warm-up?” It doesn’t matter about your level of fitness, you should always do a warm-up before a workout to get the blood pumping, warm up your muscles, and reduce risk of injury. A good warm up consists of a quick 5 minute cardio activity (e.g. brisk walking, marching, jog), followed by 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretching (e.g. arm circles, lunges, yoga). Dynamic stretching means you stretch as you move and gradually increase the range of motion (i.e. loosen) of your muscles and joints. Do not warm up with static stretches (i.e. holding a position when your body is at rest) as these can make you more susceptible to injury. (An example of a static stretch is when you bend forwards to touch your toes and then hold on to that position for 30 seconds).
7. Strength is an essential part of fitness
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a guy or a girl and whether you’re wanting to lose weight or build up muscle or your current level of fitness. You always need to strength train. Not only is it important for your body (promoting bone health, body mechanics, aiding disease prevention), but did you know that lean muscle helps you burn more calories (and even while you’re at rest)? It is a myth that strength training will build bulky muscles in women. Learn more about this in the free guide below.
8. Have fun with fitness
Exercise and living an active, healthy life is something that you do because you enjoy it, not because you feel you ‘have’ to. Life is better lived like this. So start to improve your fitness with an activity that you can have fun doing, for example swimming, jogging in the park, dancing or night cycling. Revel in those endorphins and have fun with friends. Enjoyment and a sense of achievement are essential to staying motivated and keeping up any fitness regime.
9. Follow a fitness workout plan
Here is an example of Active8me’s Week One workout for someone planning to lose 1-5kgs of weight:
Your body may feel sore for a few days after a challenging workout, but it will ease as you get used to the workout and exercising. And just remember – it is important to challenge yourself, but at the same be sensible and listen to your body. Fitness shouldn’t be about being painful. Challenging yes, painful no. Factor in recovery periods to let your body repair itself and grow stronger. We want you to make change for the long term so it doesn’t have to happen all by tomorrow!
10. Recovery for optimal fitness
Remember, the hardest point is the beginning, as you develop momentum and create great habits. So give yourself a pat on the back and get into it. Tick off all boxes on this checklist and you’ll be on to a good start! Good Luck!