We have ALL been there! Motivated to exercise and diet…but not knowing where to start or what to expect.
Fitness pros and influencers often talk about results, but rarely about the beginning of their journey or give any tips for fitness beginners. So, naturally, more often than not, we have unrealistic expectations, and get frustrated when we see that it isn’t as easy as it seemed.
I was in that same spot a few years ago. I started and quit my fitness journey MANY times before I was able to stick with it. Why? Because the beginning is the hardest part! And I learned this the hard way.
I want to make this a little easier for you. So here are a few tips that would have helped me so much at the beginning of my journey. Had I known them, I’d probably have a bubble butt by now 🍑.
1. Less is more
It’s Monday, and you are ready to go to the gym, drink your breakfast smoothie, and start your salad-only diet.
You exercise and stick to the diet for a couple of days. By Wednesday, you’re sore and really hungry, so you weigh yourself thinking the numbers on the scale will make it all worth it.
The scale shows no change. Now you’re sore, hungry, and frustrated. You feel defeated. Maybe fitness is not for you? Maybe your body type can’t change.
Before you know it, you’re drowning your sorrows in low-fat ice-cream. You slipped. It’s over. You quit. Sounds familiar?
Here’s the first one of my tips for fitness beginners: Start small! Schedule your workouts three times a week. Rest 1-2 days in between so your body can recover.
Instead of depriving yourself of food that your body needs, replace ingredients in your usual meals so they can be healthier (ground turkey instead of ground beef, brown rice instead of white rice, etc.).
Your body is exercising, which means it’s using more energy than before, and therefore it will require more food, and you’ll be hungrier. It’s normal, and you need to fuel your body to make real progress.
2. Motivation doesn’t define your journey
Motivation comes and goes, especially when time passes, and we don’t see any results. In my case, it took me a while to see results because I was trying to gain weight.
I saw some differences after about a month and then nothing for a while. That brought me down and made me feel that my efforts weren’t paying off.
It happens to everybody; the secret is to push through these times. Shake things up a bit – try a different workout routine, find a workout buddy that can push you to lift heavier or run an extra mile.
Once working out becomes a habit, it’s normal to hit a plateau, and looking for other ways to make exercise fun can help you make better progress💪.
3. Resting is Important
When I created a habit out of working out, I thought rest days were for the weak. Lol. I didn’t think I needed rest or gave my body time to recover. Then I injured my back and couldn’t exercise for two weeks.
Whenever I didn’t exercise, I felt like a failure, and every time I ate something different than chicken breast and veggies, like a pizza or a burger, I’d beat myself inside for being so weak.
Here’s another one of my tips for fitness beginners: it’s okay to give your body a rest. In fact, it’s necessary. Body changes happen through muscle recovery, and if you train non-stop, they won’t get a chance to recover, and you will see little to no progress.
Also, it’s okay if you eat a burger or a pizza sometime. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not sustainable if there isn’t balance.
4. Ditch the Scale
Dear fitness beginner – the numbers on the scale tell you nothing! And I talk more in-depth about this in my weight loss vs. fat loss article if you’d like to learn more.
But in summary: Unless your scale gives you specifics about your body fat percentage, weighing yourself every day, every week, or even every month is not going to help your fitness journey.
Physical activity can burn fat, but it can also build muscle, and muscle is denser than fat, so you might be heavier but look leaner. This is why it’s normal for a person in a fat-loss journey to gain weight, and the main reason progress pictures are so much better to measure progress than a weighing schedule.
5. Do this for Yourself
The last one of my tips for fitness beginners is: Remember that this is your journey; nobody else’s. It’s so easy for people to judge or bring you down because they don’t agree with you, or they don’t understand why you are changing your lifestyle. But if you let them get to you, you are going to quit.
And I am telling you this because it happened to me. People around me said to me that “I was skinny enough” and “I was going to disappear” if I kept working out. Little did they know that I was working towards gaining weight.
Their words did affect me, though. It was like I had already failed before I had even started. I let those comments get to me for a very long time; until I realized that this was my journey, and it would be ME, the one deciding whether it was possible for me or not.
And here’s a bonus: don’t measure your progress based on other people’s results. Everybody’s body is different – and there are many factors at play (like metabolism and genetics) that make everyone’s journey unique.
Don’t let other people define you – It might sound cliche, but I assure you that when it comes to fitness, even the smallest of progress, is always progress.
I hope these tips for fitness beginners help you stay on your journey. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some accountability or just a cheerleader that will help you reach your fitness goals.
Let’s do this!