Do you want to start exercising and get in shape but aren't sure where to start? You're in the right place! In this article I'll give you 5 steps to get you started exercising. And these principles aren't just for beginners; they are foundational truths that have stood the test of time.
- Have a plan. You've probably heard the saying "If you fail to plan then you plan to fail." So many people join a gym or buy workout equipment with the intent of getting in shape, but wander aimlessly trying all these different exercises and end up failing because they have no real plan. Having a workout plan provides structure and keeps you on track to reach your fitness goals. You also need to block out time in your schedule to work out. Decide now how many days you can realistically workout, and for how long. Ideally shoot for 3 days per week in the gym, and 3 cardio sessions every other day. But start where you're at and build from there, any exercise is better than no exercise.
- Full body workouts. Focus on full body workouts using basic compound movements. Don't get caught up in the myriad of workout routines and endless training splits. You want to incorporate the basic movement patterns - push, pull, lift, squat, and bend and extend for your core. Focus on performing reps slow-and-controlled using proper form. After 5-10 minutes of light cardio, do one warm up set then one or two working sets of each exercise. Rest 60-90 seconds between sets. Then cool down by walking or light cardio for a few minutes and some stretching. In your workout you'll want to apply progressive overload, meaning adding weight or reps in every workout. A simple workout log is a valuable tool to track your progress from week to week. And don't forget to do low to moderate intensity cardio the days you're not in the gym.
- Rest and recovery. Allow adequate rest and recovery between workouts. Remember, you don't build muscle in the gym, you actually are tearing down muscle in the gym. You build muscle between workouts through proper nutrition and adequate rest and recovery. A general rule is to allow 48-72 hours between weight lifting workouts to recover completely. During that time it's okay to do low to moderate intensity cardio. But pay attention to your body and back off when necessary.
- Workout for your goals. If losing fat is your primary goal, you may want to focus more on cardio and a little less on weight training. Notice I said "a little less." That's because weight training is important for fat loss also. Whether you're a man or woman, increasing lean body mass will help you burn more calories, even at rest. Now if your goal is to build muscle, focus on lifting heavy at the gym and going a bit lighter on the cardio, either in intensity or volume. You never want to cut cardio completely from your program. Cardio keeps your heart healthy, improves blood flow, and actually may increase your performance in the gym.
- Keep it simple. If all this information is overwhelming, just start with what you do know, and begin building healthy habits into your life. Again, don't get caught up in all the millions of workout routines and training splits; focus on the basics and build from there. Consistency beats perfectionism every time. Commit to continue to learn and grow and put what you learn into practice. With God's help, commit to developing lifelong habits, and you'll be unstoppable.
What does the Bible say about it?
One of my favorite verses on exercise is 1 Timothy 4:8 which says "For physical exercise is of some value, but godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for the present life and for the one to come." As with many things in life, some take exercise to extremes. Others take spirituality to the extreme to the neglect of their physical bodies. Neither position is balanced Biblically. Notice the verse does not condemn physical exercise, rather it recognizes its value. But it prioritizes godliness over physical exercise as more valuable.
Okay that’s it for this week’s article. Thanks for joining me. Don’t forget to pick up my calorie calculator combo, the ultimate free tools to help you succeed on your fitness journey, just visit the link below. That’s all for now, God bless you, and I’ll see you next time.
Free Calorie Calculator and Tools: https://www.spiritandmuscle.com/calories