Categorized | Fitness

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10 Tips For Starting a New Exercise Routine

Just starting a new exercise routine, or thinking of starting one up? Regardless of whether you are a gym veteran, or a total novice, there are loads of factors to consider to make sure you are getting the result you want. Here are 10 helpful tips to get you on your way…

1. Be specific about your goals

Before you can do anything, you have to be absolutely clear about what it is you are trying to achieve. Too many people fail very early because they aren’t specific enough about their goals. They don’t give themselves enough motivation to actually follow through on their plans. Be specific about what you want, go in to depth about it. Write down every single detail and then work your backside off towards getting there. For help on goal setting effectively, check out my ‘become the highest vision of yourself’ series, where I tell you how to set goals for yourself.

2. Start slow

Don’t go crashing in too hard straight away, especially if you’ve been out of training for a while. That being said don’t not do anything, just work to your comfortable limits. Get yourself into the habit of exercising again by doing little bouts regularly, then as you start to progress, you can increase the intensity and volume of your sessions. Don’t get caught up in the idea that going to the gym for 2+ hours is beneficial, it’s not. 45 minutes to an hour is more than enough for most people (unless you are training for something specific).

3. Listen to your body

Your body will tell you if you are either not working hard enough or doing too much, listen to what it’s telling you. If you are feeling ill then rest, don’t try and sweat it out (this is an old wives’ tale and it’ll be counter productive). If you’re Ill your body needs rest to fight off infection, if you fatigue yourself further your immune system won’t be able to cope. Training can also affect your hormonal system significantly (especially you ladies), so if you notice any negative symptoms, it’s probably due to over-training. Best slow down and get some advice from your quack.

4. Pick suitable exercises

If you’re trying to strip body fat, then chances are three sets of 12 bicep dumbbell curls aren’t really going to get you there. Exercise selection is one of the most important factors of creating any exercise program. If you perform the wrong exercises, you’ll find it hard to get the results you are after. In many cases the wrong exercises can lead to injury. Exercise is like a drug, what happens to you if you are prescribed the wrong drug? Usually something not nice, so make sure the exercises you are doing is right for you!

5. Eat to support your training

Nutrition is a very complex subject, but there are some common sense rules to eating for training. I’m not a believer in calorie counting, I’m more of a believer in what you eat as opposed to how much. Cut back on things like alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, refined sugars and wheat, and replace them for grains, vegetables, fish and lean meat. Eat varied meals and little and often where possible. By giving your body what it needs as opposed to what you may want, will not only boost your energy, strip fat and excess water retention and aid you recovery, it will also help you fight off illness and be healthy. Find a good balance of foods that work for you.

6. Keep records

Write everything down, from what you ate, to how many reps you managed on the bench press. Keep measuring your progress and your results, so that you can see how you are progressing and if your results are slowing. It makes it much easier to change what you are doing if you need to, and it’ll help keep you motivated if you can actually see you’re making progress.

7. Work bigger muscle groups first

Always go compound first. There are several reasons for this. One, bigger muscle groups burn more calories for a start. Secondly, working larger muscle groups has a greater demand on the nervous system and will fatigue you. It’s not always a good idea to fatigue your supportive muscles before you go on the larger ones. Chances are you’ll end up getting injured. There is a place for pre-exhaust, but this is for advanced level ‘exercisers’ and must be specifically and carefully structured into routines.

8. Recovery

Make sure you are getting enough rest, not just between sets, but between workouts. Over-training can be very counter-productive (although again it can produce specific results if structured properly). If you are fatigued you are at much greater risk of injury, it can affect your hormonal system negatively and it can lead to muscle wastage in extreme cases. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and time between your workouts, it’s just as important as the workout itself!

9. Warm ups

Hands up everyone who skips a proper warm up… Warm ups are really important because they prepare the body and the mind for the routine ahead. It doesn’t just elevate your heart rate and get the blood flowing, it also encourages muscles to fire correctly in their optimum sequence, by gearing up the nervous system. This will affect your performance as well as help prevent injury. It also mobilizes the joints and ‘lubes’ them up with synovial fluid. Warm ups are important, so give yourself a good 5-10 minutes to warm up with some sort of dynamic activity.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Finally, if you need advice, then ask for it! There are all kinds of people and professionals out there who you can turn to for advice about all of the stuff I have mentioned and more. Remember it’s important that you have all the right ingredients for your recipe of success to achieve your goals. The best chance you have of actually gathering all of the right ingredients is to ask someone who knows what they are.

I hope you find these little points useful guys, I know a lot of it is common sense, but you’d be surprised how much of the above gets neglected, and the number of people that fall off the wagon as a result.

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