8 Things You Need To Be Prepared For When Starting A Workout Routine For The First Time
Starting a workout routine can be daunting if you've never really had one before. Even if you feel really inspired when you first start out, it can be a little nerve-wracking if you just plain don't know what to expect from your fitness journey. While there are a few things to prepare for in your first workout routine to help make it all a little easier, the most important thing to remember is that it's all about finding what feels good, and having fun along the way.
Challenges may lie ahead, yes, and at times, you might even feel a bit discouraged, but above all, remember that venturing into the vast, but oh-so-exciting world of fitness should be something you genuinely enjoy doing.
"Do what is right for you," Evan Renfroe, a certified personal trainer and sports nutrition specialist, tells Elite Daily. "While it can be overwhelming to sort through a vast amount of tips, techniques, and how-to’s, the best place to start is always with you and your goals."
So, if you're looking to get started with your very first, full-fledged workout routine, use these expert-backed tips to guide you through this amazing journey you're about to embark on.
1. Don't Let Fear Steer You Away
Feeling nervous right before you begin a new workout routine is totally normal, according to Miriam Alicea, a trainer at BEAST Fitness Evolved in New York City.
"One of the biggest obstacles is overcoming the mental hurdles of being in an unfamiliar space, and dealing with the uncertainty of what the workout may entail," she tells Elite Daily.
It might be a bit uncomfortable, but the best thing you can do, Alicea says, is accept your nerves for what they are, rather than deny them. It happens to everyone when starting something new, and instead of letting it consume you, allow it to serve as a reminder that something great is in store for you down the road.
2. Start Slow And Steady
Renfroe suggests steering clear of drastic changes in your workout routine when you first start, because it’s simply not a sustainable way to exercise.
"It’s much more beneficial to master simple-basic principles (hydration, quality of movements, etc.), before moving on to tasks of higher complexity," he tells Elite Daily.
3. Ask For Help From The Experts
Trainers, teachers, and gym employees are at your local fitness center for a reason: to help you!
When you feel unsure about what you're doing in your new workout routine, "allow the fitness professional to take the lead," Alicea tells Elite Daily, adding that they can answer any questions you might have, show you how to modify a difficult workout, and remind you that it's all about getting strong, being healthy, and most importantly, enjoying yourself.
4. Focus On Your Own Progress, Not Someone Else's
Be prepared to move your body in ways that might be unfamiliar to you, or that may even feel intimidating at first, Alicea explains. It might feel scary, especially in a crowded gym, but it's important to focus on yourself and your progress, not anyone else's.
"Don’t allow yourself to be consumed with trying to keep up with the rest of the crowd," Alicea tells Elite Daily.
If you need to sit one out, that's totally cool. If you're following a routine that tells you to do three reps, and you can only do one, it's no big deal. It's all about what feels right in your body, and going at your own pace.
5. Soreness Is Normal, But Remember To Take Care Of It
Alicea points out that post-workout muscle soreness will be inevitable, especially if this is your first workout routine.
"Understand that adequate post-workout recovery, which can include stretching and foam rolling (among other methods) will be key in allowing your body to recover from the hard work," she tells Elite Daily.
And hey, maybe it's a nice excuse to treat yourself to a massage!
6. Remember, There Are More Options For Cardio Than You Think
Not romanced by the idea of spending time running in one place? POPiN trainer Kevin Yang says to remember that the treadmill and its fancy cousin, the elliptical, aren't the only options to get your heart pumping.
For example, rowing machines are "fantastic alternatives to doing steady-state cardio for long periods of time," he tells Elite Daily. He also recommends indoor cycling, HIIT workouts, dancing, and even boxing if traditional cardio isn't your thing. You might have to try a few before one really clicks, but it'll be so worth it once you find what you really love.
7. Consider Your Whole Body's Needs
"You want your body to be strong throughout your whole range of motion, and by doing so, you'll stay injury-free," says Yang. In other words, when it comes to your first workout routine, consider the big picture.
For example, Yang tells Elite Daily, most people sit hunched over a desk all day, and slumped over their phones the rest of the time. So, while you might be really focused on, say, cardio in your workout routine, you might be ignoring the muscles in your chest and shoulders, which are especially tight from all that hunching and slumping.
Staying healthy and balanced in your whole body should be the priority, Yang says.
8. Fuel Your Body With Foods That Make You Feel Your Best
Lisa Niren, head instructor and vice president of content and programming at the fitness app Studio, says keeping your body energized is crucial when it comes to feeling good about your first workout routine.
"Remember to fuel up before your workout, and take note of what your body needs with your workout routine," she tells Elite Daily. "Keep in mind, you can't move nonstop for an hour without fueling your body," says Niren.
She shares that her favorite pre- and post-workout snack is a banana, which she calls "nature's power bar," since the fruit is packed with digestible carbohydrates and potassium, which helps maintain muscle function. A slice of gluten-free Ezekiel bread with toasted nut butter is another favorite of hers, so take notes, girl.