A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started and Finding the Perfect Workout

by Melissa Chichester

Want to get active but don’t know where to start? This is a common challenge for many people. 

The benefits of exercise are numerous, yet many people find getting started with exercise to be daunting. 

If that sounds like you, consider this. Regular physical activity offers a multitude of benefits for both body and mind, including: 

  • Improved physical health 
  • Weight management
  • Metabolism balance
  • Mood boosting 
  • Increased energy
  • Stress reduction

And that’s the short list! 

Ready to tap into these benefits? Here’s how you can find a workout you love and actually look forward to doing. 

Set realistic goals

No matter how you slice it, improving your fitness takes time.  So when you get started, be sure to establish clear and achievable fitness goals. Whether you’re aiming to build muscle, lose weight, or simply improve your overall health, setting specific objectives will help keep you motivated and focused. Be sure to make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

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For example, instead of saying “I want to get in shape,” a SMART goal might be “I will jog for 20 minutes, three times a week, for the next two months to improve cardiovascular health and increase stamina.”

Listen to your body

One of the most common mistakes beginners make is trying to do too much too soon. This can lead to frustration, injury, and giving up. Instead, ease into your new routine gradually, starting with low-intensity activities and gradually increasing the duration and intensity as your fitness improves.

Listen to your body and pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain. It’s normal to experience some muscle soreness, especially when starting a new workout program, but sharp or persistent pain could indicate an injury that requires rest and medical attention.  

Choose activities you enjoy

The top way to stick with working out is to find a workout you genuinely enjoy. Exercise doesn’t have to mean slogging away on the treadmill or lifting heavy weights at the gym if that’s not what you want to do. There are countless ways to stay active, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find something that resonates with you. 

You don’t even need to go to the gym to get started unless you want to go. There are many activities you can start at home, with or without equipment.

Consider trying a variety of activities, such as:

  • Walking or hiking
  • Running and jogging
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Dance classes
  • Yoga or pilates
  • Team sports
  • Martial arts
  • Rock climbing

The possibilities are endless! Remember, the best workout for you is the one you’ll do, so choose activities that align with your interests, preferences, and lifestyle.

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Mix it up

Even if you find a workout you love, doing the same routine day in and day out can quickly lead to boredom and plateaus in progress. Keep it fresh and exciting by mixing up your workouts regularly. 

Try incorporating a variety of activities, such as cardio, strength training, flexibility exercises, and balance work, to target different muscle groups.

You can also change up the intensity, duration, and location of your workouts. For example, alternate between indoor and outdoor activities, or try high-intensity interval training (HIIT) one day and a gentle yoga class the next.

Stay consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to seeing results from your exercise routine. Aim to make physical activity a regular part of your daily or weekly schedule, just like brushing your teeth or going to work. Set aside dedicated time for exercise, and treat it as non-negotiable self-care time.

Enlist a workout buddy

If you’re struggling to stay motivated, enlist the support of a workout buddy or join a group fitness class for added accountability and camaraderie. Celebrate your progress along the way, whether it’s hitting a new personal best, mastering a challenging yoga pose, or simply sticking to your workout schedule for a full week.

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Rest when needed

While consistency is important, so is rest and recovery. Overtraining can lead to fatigue, injury, and burnout, so be sure to build rest days into your workout schedule. Listen to your body and take breaks when needed, especially if you’re feeling tired, sore, or rundown.

In addition to rest days, prioritize sleep, proper nutrition, and stress management to support your body’s recovery process. Consider incorporating activities like gentle stretching, foam rolling, or meditation into your routine to promote relaxation and reduce muscle tension.

Consult an expert 

You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to consult an expert about your fitness journey. 

Consulting an expert can be invaluable, especially if you’re new to exercise or have specific health needs or goals. 

A certified personal trainer or fitness instructor can provide personalized guidance, tailored workout plans, and expert advice on proper form and technique to help you achieve optimal results while minimizing the risk of injury. 

You can also consult a Puritan’s Pride Nutrition Coach to answer your nutrition, diet, and lifestyle questions.

Embarking on a new exercise routine can be incredibly rewarding. By setting realistic goals, starting slow, and choosing activities you enjoy, you can establish a sustainable workout routine that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle. Remember to listen to your body, stay consistent, and prioritize rest and recovery along the way.