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HOW TO GET STARTED WITH EXERCISE AS A BEGINNER

HOW TO START EXERCISE AS A BEGINNER

Do you want to lose weight, but don’t know how to begin with exercise? You’re not alone, everyone was a beginner at some point in their life, including me. I can still remember the first day I walked into a gym as a sixteen-year-old.

There was so much fitness equipment, and I didn’t know where to start, so I did what most rookies do, and just tried everything.

Not a bad idea in theory, but man did I hurt the next day. In fact, I was sore for four days.
It’s fair to say I overcooked it, but at the time I didn’t have access to a professional to take advice from.

So, with that in mind I have written this article for you, to help you avoid some of the mistakes that I made as a beginner. With the right guidance and tools, there is no reason to fear injuring yourself or being overly sore.

All you need to do is follow the free weekly program that I have included in this article and use the five steps to help you with your exercise program and progress.

5 STEPS TO GET STARTED WITH EXERCISE AS A BEGINNER

1) GET A HEALTH CHECK

So, your about to get started on your journey to a fitter, stronger healthier version of you. That’s great!

However, you need to hold your horses and not rush in head-first straight away. Let me explain why.

You should get your health checked out by a doctor to make sure you are fit for exercise.

To give you an example, I had a personal training client that joined the gym that I was working in a few years ago.

I did some health tests on this client and found that his blood pressure was 183/107, which was extremely high. A normal reading is 130/80.

You may have heard of professional footballers with no health concerns, having heart attacks on the pitch and dying. I personally witnessed someone go to hospital after collapsing during exercise.

We can never know what may happen to us before exercising, and for my client the affects could have been fatal, but luckily, we didn’t find out.  

For this reason, I urge you to consult a doctor before exercising.

Your doctor may check the following things:  

  • Blood pressure – This measures the amount of strain on your heart as your blood is pumped around the body through your arteries.
  • BMI – This is a test to see if your weight is within a healthy range for your height
  • Resting heart rate – This is a test to see how fit you are. A lower number of beats per minute show your heart is proficient at getting blood to the working muscles
  • V02 max – This is a test to see how much oxygen you can consume during exercise, and how efficiently you distribute it to your muscles.
  • Waist to hip ratio – This test looks at where you store fat.  if you store more fat around your belly, your risk of cardiovascular disease is greater compared to when your weight is stored around your waist. 

2) DECIDE WHAT AREA OF YOUR FITNESS YOU WANT TO IMPROVE

Are you feeling tired all the time from work? Are you carrying a lot of stomach fat? Do you need to reduce your stress levels?

You may have answered yes to all of these, and it will help determine what type of exercise is best for you.

Here are the main components of fitness and the type of training you may choose to do to improve it.

Aerobic fitness – This type of training is when your body trains with oxygen, like running a marathon. It’s an effective way to lose weight, increase stamina and boost your energy levels (12).

To give you an idea how effective this is, I use to have to eat 2 pizzas a week to maintain my body weight during the rowing season, when I was training aerobic fitness 6 days a week. In other words, I couldn’t keep my weight on.

You will feel good from doing this type of exercise. You will strengthen your heart, lungs and increase your stamina.

Types of exercises you can use to improve your aerobic fitness are:

  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Rowing
  • Cycling
  • Circuit training
  • Kettlebell workouts

Anaerobic fitness – This is when you train without oxygen. Examples are Usain Bolt running 100 meters or running 400 meters in athletics.

I have used interval training to improve this component of fitness when I use to row and when I use to box.

When I was rowing I use to do 500 meters as quickly as I could, rest for 1 minute and go again. I would repeat this 6-8 times. It really hurt!

However, its very effective and can lead to an after burn (where you burn calories up to 24 hours after your workout).

Types of exercises you can use to improve your aerobic fitness are:

  • Sprinting
  • Kettlebell workouts
  • Boxing workouts
  • Interval training (34)

Strength – If improving aerobic fitness helps you feel good, then strength training helps you look good. 

Types of exercises you can use to improve your aerobic fitness are:

Flexibility– This is a part of training that is neglected by many, including myself when I use to row, but is important.

This type of training will help you move better, reduce injury risk, assist in relaxation, assist in your warmup and cool down.

As I got older and picked up a few injuries I started to take it more seriously. 

Types of exercises you can use to improve your flexibility are:

  • Yoga
  • Body balance (a type of class in gyms)
  • Stretching

3) DECIDE WHERE TO EXERCISE

Deciding how you train is like deciding what type of food you like. At some point as you get more experienced you try different types of cuisines.

For instance, you may decide you want to try Lebanese food. Maybe you like it, and maybe you don’t. Either way you have to experiment to see what you like.

Exercise is very similar. Just because you don’t like one type of exercise, doesn’t mean that you won’t like any other type.

Over the years I have tried many different types of training methods, ranging from spin classes, rowing, yoga, Olympic weightlifting, power lifting, circuit training, to name but a few.

I found that this decreased boredom and allowed my body to develop in different ways. So as a newbie try as many different forms as you can so that you keep going and make exercise a long-term part of your life.

Here is a list of different types of fitness regimes appropriate for you as a beginner:

  • Bootcamps – These are taught in a military style. You will have an instructor yell and shout at you while you are exercising outside in the mud on a rainy day. Many people have got amazing results from doing this type of training. British military fitness are one of the biggest providers (7)
  • Pilates – This is a type of exercise originally designed for people with severe back injuries, so that they can reduce their pain levels and lead a normal life. It has been transformed into a full body workout that many people love doing. There are many Pilates providers you can find in your area (8).
  • Running – Exercise at its most simple. All you need is a pair of trainers, shorts and t-shirt and off you go. You can also join a local running club, where you have social support and the help of club coaches (9,10).
  • Yoga – Not only does this improve your flexibility, but there are elements of meditation, spiritualism and mindfulness that give this system of training an edge on any other type of training (11).
  • Home exercise – You can do body weight workouts in your home, HIIT training, circuit training. Have a look at some different home exercises you can do (12).

4) JOIN A GYM

There are over 7,200 health clubs in the UK with over 10 million gym members. I started my career in the gym and I personally have helped 100’s of people lose weight as both a personal trainer, group exercise teacher and fitness instructor.

It is likely that you will be able to find someone who has the right dedication, passion and compatibility to your personality, to help you lose belly fat and eat healthier.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect if you join a gym:

  • Induction – Trying to work out how to use the bikes and various weight machines is a mine field. The induction is where you are shown how to use the machines that you need to use to help you to lose weight.
  • Personalised program – You will have a conversation with a fitness instructor to establish what your goals are, and then you will have a program written for you to follow.
  • Full health assessment – You will have your fitness and health measured to make sure that you are healthy enough to exercise.. Not all gyms offer this service. I have worked for Fitness First, Esporta and Nuffield health, and to my knowledge only Nuffield health will offer this service.
  • Classes – Do you lack the motivation to exercise by yourself? If you want someone to shout at you to motivate you, or you want a friendly and encouraging instructor, then group exercise classes could work for you. You can also work on different aspects of your fitness like strength, flexibility, aerobic fitness, etc.
  • Hire a personal trainer – This is a great option as you will be given coaching, have workouts planed, get help with your nutrition and be motivated.

What gym should I join?

  • Do you want a pool?
  • Do you want a sauna?
  • Do you want a jacuzzi?
  • Do you hate all the above, or just not bothered by them and just need a gym?

The answer to this question will determine which gym is best for you. You have budget gyms that offer only the gym and no extras and cost a fraction of the price of the gyms that have all the above.

Here is a list of all the gyms you can join in the UK:

  1. The gym
  2. Pure Gym
  3. Virgin active
  4. Nuffield health
  5. Fitness First
  6. David Llyods
  7. Bannatynes
  8. Energie fitness
  9. Snap fitness
  10. F45
  11. Anytime Fitness
  12. DW Fitness
  13. Golds Gym

As you will see there is a lot of choice, but the best thing you can do is choose a company that has a gym close to your home and work.

The easier you make it for yourself the more likely you are to stick to exercise.

5) FIND A WAY TO STAY MOTIVATED

 There are many ways to stay motivated to exercise. I could write a whole article on this. However, I want to give you my number one motivation tip.

Buddy up!
You may find Training with a friend or friends is a great way to get started.

You will increase your chances of losing weight (2), as you have greater accountability and as the saying goes, two heads are better then one.

Also, it doesn’t have to be just one friend, the more the merrier. When I use to box there were over 10 other boxers in our gym, and the friendly competition between us pushed us to work even harder and we got better results.

The same thing can apply to you. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Accountability – When you know you have to meet your mate for a workout and they are counting on you to come, you are less likely to be a no-show.
  • Competition – Make it fun by having a friendly bet on who will lose the most weight in the next month.
  • Fun – When you train with a good friend there is nothing like some good old-fashioned banter to pass the time. However, too much talk can be counterproductive.
  • Motivation – While you perform an exercise your training buddy can you spur you on, and vice-versa.
  • You are not alone – This is the most obvious, but the most powerful reason. The fact that the burden not solely yours to bare can give you a huge psychological lift.

6) GET A WORKOUT PLAN

 Here is an exercise program that is appropriate for you as a beginner. It requires you to exercise 3 times a week, which is the minimum amount of time you should train if you want to lose weight.

As you are new to exercise it is a good idea to choose types of exercises that cover the different components of fitness, as mentioned above in this article.

This will allow you to see what you enjoy the most and decide what type of exercise you will do in the future.

One of the main things to remember is that if you don’t like it, you wont stick to it, so experiment with this program for at least a month.

Any problems give me a shout and I will be happy to help.

Exercise program

Monday – Go for a jog using the run/ walk method and build up to 30 minutes.
Tuesday – Recover
Wednesday – Perform a home workout (see video attached)
Thursday – Recovery day
Friday – Try this 30 minute yoga class
Saturday – Recovery day
Sunday – Recovery dayConclusion
Now you know exactly how to get started with exercise as a beginner. Remember to start by getting all clear from your doctor first, and then decide what changes you want to make to your health.

Decide what component of fitness you want to work on and what type of training you will do, and then use this to populate your weekly workout.

Lastly, if you are still struggling for motivation, get a training partner or partners to add some accountability into the mix. 

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR THEM

I hope this article helped you to get started with exercise. If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear them as I am happy to help.

WHY NOT TRY OUR 14 DAY FAT LOSS ACCELERATOR?

If your new to exercise and want to make it easier to put these great tips into practice, and start losing weight why not try my 14 day fat loss accelerator for busy profesionals.

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Click on the link below to register.

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AUTHOR

Gerald Smith is a personal trainer and former amateur boxer. Gerald specialises in weight loss for men.

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