Exercising can be daunting. Your doctor says to “exercise more” but you’re like, “how do people exercise?” It can be overwhelming when your buddy or neighbor is all like, “hey man you should workout with me and I’ll show you how it’s done!” Then he does six reps of 300 pounds on the bench press…yeah…that’s great…
Let’s take some of that anxiety away. Let me show you what a workout looks like from start to finish. I’ll tell you what you can expect from yourself, and how you know you’re making progress. Look at it this way: people have been exercising since the dawn of time. And if they can do it, then so can you!
So, this is how to exercise for beginners!
Pre-Workout: How Do You Prepare To Workout?
Use this simple formula the night before you begin your workout: get some sleep, eat a healthy meal the night before, drink water the night before.
This shouldn’t be anything different from what you do most days. If you’re going to wake up a little earlier than you normally do, then ensure you’re going to bed earlier as well. Exercising is a way of life, and it DOES fit into your set routine already…you just don’t know it yet!
Keep this simple. It’ll take deliberate effort on your part to integrate a workout into your routine. The easiest way to do this is to set your workout between things you already do.
For example, you go to bed each night. You wake up each morning and you eat breakfast, or drink coffee, or scroll through social media. Between waking up and breakfast, you have an opportunity. Even starting something like 5 minutes of exercise between waking up and breakfast will mean the difference between creating a workout habit or not.
The trick here is to reward yourself for accomplishing a workout. You essentially reward yourself after your workout with breakfast, or coffee, or scrolling through social media. See? You have your cue (wake up), your event (exercise), and your reward (breakfast, coffee, social media). Using this method, you’ll start a routine. But it’ll take time.
How Do I Exercise?
Exercising can get convoluted in numbers, goals, charts, graphs, and confusing nothingness that means as much to you as a soda bottle in a trash can. Here’s the trick again:
Keep it simple.
Do things you enjoy. If you like to run. Go run. If you like weights. Go lift. The point here is to get you to work out. Once you have a routine, then get into making a workout plan.
If you’re wracking your brain for exercises to do, go to my previous post.
Here’s what you can expect from your first few workouts. You’re going to feel great! You’ll be sore. But it’ll feel good. You’ll also be tired because your body isn’t used to the workouts yet.
Make sure you’re drinking water throughout your exercise! If you’re on a walk, bring a small water bottle. If you’re running, have one nearby. What about lifting? Have one next to you. You need to rehydrate yourself so you’ll feel less fatigued during your workouts.
I usually drink one 32oz water bottle following my workouts. The recommended water intake is half your body weight in ounces. If you’re working out, you’d better increase that number to about 3/4 your body weight in ounces.
Here are a few simple exercises to do without weights:
How Do I Form My Workout?
A beginner’s workout goes in three parts: warmup, workout, cooldown.
Warm ups should get you moving. You should be breathing a little hard and sweating some as well. Good warm-ups will help you avoid injury during your workout.
Warm ups can include:
-Running in place
-Air Squats (go only 3/4 the way down)
Your workout is where you get into your core exercises of the day. You can get as creative or as simple as you want with this. Staying true to our theme of “Keep It Simple”, here’s a good rule of thumb:
-Running: Start slowly and build up to 1-2 miles.
-Biking: Start slowly and build up to 4-6 miles.
-Swimming: Use the stroke you’re most familiar with and work up to 300 meters.
It’s OK to take a break. Let your body adjust to what is happening. When you allow yourself to do that, then you meet your own expectations. Remember, you’re not training for the New York City marathon, the Tour d’ France, or the Olympics. So, don’t set that expectation on yourself.
For strength training:
There are two ways to do this: by time or by reps. I found that doing reps is easier because you have a goal to reach. For example, your workout can be 3 sets of 10 pushups (or 30 pushups total) with 2 minutes of rest between each set. Once that is done, you can do 3 sets of 20 air squats (or 60 air squats total) with 2 minutes of rest between each set. If you’re not used to working out, that’ll make you sore the next day.
Time-based is a little more tricky and requires some dedication. You can start with 3 sets of doing as many pushups as you can in 1 minute…whew…that’s tough. However, you can get a much BETTER workout doing it that way because you learn to push yourself. If you’re determined, do time-based workouts.
Don’t forget to stretch! This is a critical part of your workout that most people forgo. Stretching will decrease your chances of injury during your most important phase of developing the habit to work out.
Also, it’ll decrease your soreness. Often when you begin a workout routine, you’ll feel sore afterwards. Pain is different from soreness.
When you feel pain from working out, it’s usually a sharp sensation, like someone putting a needle in you. Soreness is an area pain where a general area feels a general stiffness. That’s a good feeling. Some soreness is good because that’ll tell you that your muscles are recovering from the work you put in.
Here are some good stretches:
-Overhead Arm Pull
Keep your stretching simple. If you worked a muscle group, then you need to stretch it.
How Do I Know If I’m Doing Effective Workouts?
Most people miss this step entirely! They take for granted the fact that they’re putting in work and don’t think about whether that workout was effective or not.
Use this criteria:
-Do I feel good after the workout I just did?
-Was it challenging enough? (If you’re exerting a lot of energy during your workout, then it was challenging enough)
-Was the workout too easy?
-What can make this workout better? Maybe you add a set, increase the time, mileage, or intensity. Either way, you’ll find a few things to change for next time.
Go And Do!
Workouts are not complicated. People just make them complicated. Keep it simple. Especially when starting out, you don’t need the fancy wiz bang apps, watches, equipment, or clothes to get a good workout done. Start small. Create a habit. Rinse. Repeat. It’s that simple.
Once you get the hang of it, then start doing more things. I know that you can do it!
What inspired you to start working out? Leave a comment below! Alright, Garage Gym Goers, I’ll see you next time!