When you’re a fitness beginner, it can be easy to get bogged down by the vast number of resources out there.
There are so many, frequently conflicting, opinions like the best times to workout, ratios of cardio to strength training; what to eat before and after you workout, etc. Not to mention the countless social media stars showing off their toned physiques and gym routines, busting out burpees without seemingly breaking a sweat.
For me, I can easily get overwhelmed by all this, feeling that I’ll never be able to measure up to those fitness gurus out there–– those who have obviously already spent a significant amount of time, energy, and resources on their physical health and fitness. But it doesn’t make sense to compare myself to people on a completely different part of their own fitness journeys and who have different lives than mine.
One of my biggest tips for those just starting out with exercise is:
allow yourself to be a fitness beginner.
Think of anyone talented you admire, even if it’s not in the fitness realm. They didn’t just start off great, they had to learn the basics, practice, work hard, and have setbacks along the way.
If you’re an eager beaver about getting stronger and physically fit, that’s great, but don’t let yourself fall into the trap of setting the bar unrealistically high for yourself. Haven’t ran in a year? Don’t expect yourself to hit your eight-minute mile on the first go. It’s great to want to push yourself, but if you aren’t realistic, you’ll only set yourself up for frustration and disappointment that could even cause you to abandon your new goals altogether.
Forget Baby-steps, Try Micro-Steps!
As backwards as this might sound, if you’re just starting out or getting back into fitness, you want to set the bar low. Very low. So low that you literally can’t miss it. In the Thrive Global article “Give Your New Year’s Resolutions a Boost by Joining Us For Microstep Month,” Stanford University Tech Lab director and behavior change researcher BJ Fogg recommends that using “microsteps” initially is key to habit formation, stating that the behavior change you make can be “tiny, even ridiculous.” An easy microstep for me is drinking water everyday, but yours could be working out for 10 minutes or taking the stairs up to your office. When you hit these smaller goals, you’ll feel more confident in your ability to pursue larger ones.
Be Open-minded About Fitness
Another great part of being a beginner is being openminded. Give yourself the opportunity to learn what workouts invigorate you, strengthen you, and just make you feel plain good. Running, weightlifting, Zumba, pilates, yoga, swimming––there are SO many different ways to stay active, but all of them aren’t for everyone.
Fitness Tip: If you actually enjoy the workouts you’re doing, chances are you’ll keep at it!
What to do when discouraged
Let's face it, it happens. Sometimes, people get discouraged with their fitness routine. If you have G&G equipment at home, reach out to your G&G rep to make sure you are getting the most of your equipment. Consider trading up your current equipment for something different. Click here to read about creative ways to end fitness equipment boredom.
And if I ever get discouraged and caught up in my own head, I like to think of this quote:
“Little by little, one travels far.”
About Megan Tomaszewski
Megan is a freelance contributor for G&G Fitness. With a bachelor’s degree in Communication: Journalism & Media from SUNY Geneseo, she is a former staff member of The Buffalo News affiliate The Hamburg Sun, and currently works as a marketing writer at Barclay Damon LLP. Megan is a fan of pilates, weight lifting, and yoga, and has a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with cardio. Her secret for powering through tough workouts is imagining she’s in training to be an Avenger. In her free time, Megan loves listening to podcasts, reading, spending time outside, and watching Say Yes to the Dress. If you have an article you'd like to share on the LiveFit Blog, contact us.