Laziness is the best, isn’t it? Until you start seeing its consequences. You see bulges you never had, your arm fat waves long after you’ve stopped, and you could’ve sworn that double chin wasn’t there yesterday. Everyone around you probably swears by some workout or the other as the “only one that really works.” But you need to know how to start working out before you hit the gym. And we don’t mean a specific type of workout. We mean preparing your body and your mind and making them stronger every day.
It’s common to get confused about how to start working out, but with these 13 tips, you can overcome it. Read on.
1. Stay hydrated.
Most people think that they drink enough water during the day because their throat doesn’t feel parched. But that’s not true. You need to drink at least two litres of water every day to keep bloating and other hydration-related issues away. However, when you’re working out, you need to drink a lot more water. Even if you don’t think you’re sweating too much, you need water to help your muscles recover from the exercise. They’re not used to the tearing and soreness, and water helps speed up the repair process.
2. Eat more than you normally do. But be careful about what you’re eating.
If you eat out more than you eat at home, you need to change that. We hardly ever make healthy choices when we’re eating out. Even the healthy choices aren’t actually that healthy if you do things like adding mayo to your salads or extra salami to your sandwich. Portion control also becomes more difficult when food is delivered in packages. Instead of ordering in, go grocery shopping and start cooking at home. You’ll feel the difference in how you feel almost immediately. Begin with cooking one or two meals and slowly build up to making all your meals at home.
3. Don’t be scared of weights.
While cardio is important for any fitness goals, you need to get comfortable with weights as well. Unlike walking or running, you may take a little longer to get used to weights. Choose light weights first and work your way up slowly. For instance, if you’ve started with 2 kg weights, don’t go to 5 kg weights the next day. Give your body time to get used to lifting before increasing the weight. But don’t let yourself get too comfortable either. While lifting weights should not hurt you, the weight you choose should challenge you and make your body work to lift it.
4. Don’t expect results as soon as you start.
It’s going to take a few months of work to see obvious gains. Don’t let yourself get demotivated by looking at fitness bloggers on Instagram or by the number on your weighing machine. It takes a long time to achieve real fitness, and it needs constant work. From you. On days when you just want to lie in bed and not take a single extra step, let alone go to the gym, try to remember how good you felt, and how energetic you were, after your last workout. If that isn’t enough, remind yourself about why you’re doing this. All of us have certain goals in mind when we’re working out, and it never hurts to remind yourself of those from time to time.
5. Try every machine in the gym, but under supervision.
When you’re a beginner at the gym, you don’t know what’ll work for you and what’ll hurt you. Almost all gyms have trainers who can help you with the basics of every machine. Be honest with them about any health problems you may have, and get a grasp of all the equipment at the gym. You might actually start enjoying some of these machines and look forward to using them.
6. Do different combinations every day so that you don’t get get bored.
Trust us when we say this, you will find a workout that you love. Whether it’s yoga, weight training, running, or body weight exercises, you will find the perfect workout for you. To find “the one,” you have to keep looking and trying. Try every kind of workout there is and do different combinations every day to keep boredom away.
7. Work out every day for the first month.
Yes, your body needs breaks in between to recover from the strain of working out. But you have to do something active every single day to get used to it. And the first month of working out is crucial to make or break this habit. On days when you feel like you have to take a break, skip the gym and go for a brisk 30-minute walk instead. That’s probably a few rounds of your colony or apartment complex. This will actually make your sore muscles feel better and will make working out the next day easier on your body.
8. Buy comfortable and smart gym wear.
This is not to impress anyone else, but to just give yourself another reason to want to work out. When we buy new clothes and shoes, we look forward to wearing them. And when you know that the only time you can wear these new digs is while working out, you will get up and get going. Your workout gear also needs to be comfortable so that you can move with ease.
9. Make a kickass playlist, or download shows.
This acts as motivation every day for you. Like wearing new clothes, we also look forward to hearing music that we like. Look for workout playlists online and you’ll find a ton of music which is great for the gym. To avoid getting bored of this playlist, which can be a real downer, keep adding new songs and shuffling them up. You can also download shows on your phone and watch those while working out. It helps to keep you distracted from the pain and exhaustion. Sounds awful, we know. But just do it.
10. Sleep at least eight hours every night.
Before you think about how to start working out, think about how to get enough rest. Avoid late nights as much as you can. You need to give your body time to recover from the sudden bout of exercise. While you may have been mentally preparing yourself for this new workout regime, your muscles are still in shock. Even the most professional trainers and athletes swear by the need for adequate sleep when you’re working out regularly.
11. Control your alcohol intake and cut down on smoking.
If you’re a smoker, your lungs are already in bad shape. And you need them to work at 100 percent levels when you’re straining your body while working out. So the next time you feel the urge to smoke, remind yourself of how your lungs were burning the last time you did cardio. The healthier your lungs are, the easier it is for you to push yourself on the elliptical or treadmill.
Alcohol dehydrates you, so if you do want to drink, limit your intake to one or two drinks when you’re going out.
12. Get a workout buddy.
The best motivator is another person pushing you to work out. Ideally, your workout buddy should be someone who has the same goals as yours. But that’s not essential. As long as they work out at the same time as you every day and refuse to give up on you, they’re great workout buddies. If you find someone who can help you with the basics, that’s even better. Or you can even learn together. There are plenty of resources online which you can exchange on a daily basis.
13. Don’t forget to stretch.
You have to stretch before and after your workout. Not only does this help in muscle recovery, it feels great! Stretching gets your blood flowing before a workout and helps you to cool down after it. If you can, get a massage every weekend to help your muscles repair themselves. A good therapist will know exactly what you need after a week of killing it at the gym.
Get up and get moving, people. Your dream bod awaits!