I’ve heard this so many times, it’s not even funny. People want to get fit so that they can go to the gym or come to my classes. The gym. A place wholly designated and designed for one very specific purpose: to help people get (and stay) fit.
Unfortunately, I think it’s a little bit the nature of the beast. The gym can be pretty intimidating. But even more so, I think we’ve made fitness out to be way more complicated than it is. This often leads people to look elsewhere to start getting in shape. I believe this is one of the reasons running is so popular. No equipment or experience needed… or so we tend to believe.
If you think you need to be in shape to use kettlebells, then you should be in even better shape to run. Running is actually quite far from a beginner exercise, as it is basically a super super high rep high-impact single-leg exercise.
The high rate of injury aside, I just really hate that so many people feel that running is the only way to get into shape because not everybody enjoys it. And therefore, they do nothing.
SO, I thought I’d put together a list of the 10 most helpful tips I could think of for working out on your own. These will also help you feel like you can walk into any gym with confidence and know exactly what you’re doing!
1) Make your own goals
When making your goals, I encourage you to do 3 things:
- Make at least 1 goal that has nothing to do with appearance.
- Write down your bigger purpose, your bigger reason for getting healthy and fit.
- Is it so you can be healthy for your family? So you can be a good role model for your kids? So you can have more life experiences? What’s your bigger WHY?
- Always ask yourself, why? Why do you want 6-pack abs? Why do you want to be at this specific weight? Make sure your goals are your own and not because someone (or something) is telling you it should be this way.
2) There are multiple ways.
Just because someone looks fit and claims that they have the secret doesn’t mean they know the only way to get fit. There are multiple ways to get there, so if you’re not enjoying one program or piece of equipment, try another!
3) Keep it simple
You don’t need to be able to use all the weird contraptions and fancy equipment and there’s rarely a need to stand on anything but the ground. Not that it’s bad to get creative or change things up, buuuut, let’s just say, there have also been A LOT of really stupid things done in the name of “keeping things interesting”. Keep it simple.
4) Listen to your body.
Safety first my friends. If something is painful, stop doing it. Instead of just skipping it altogether though, look for ways to modify the exercise!
5) Master the basics
Take the time & spend the money if needs be to learn the proper form for the basics. These are your foundation – the building blocks for a safe and enjoyable fitness routine! Once you’ve mastered these, it will make the whole process a lot more fun as it tends to increase injury prevention and allow for good steady progress!
6) Prioritize the big muscle groups.
So what are the basics? you ask. I’m about to break it down for you right here. Just like most diets, most exercise programs have a very similar thread running through them. There are 5 main movements/areas you want to address in your fitness routine:
- Upper body Push – push ups, bench press, shoulder press
- Upper body Pull – rows, pull ups
- Lower body Push – squats, lunges
- Hip Hinges (Lower body pull) – deadlifts, swings
- Core – planks, farmer walks
Things like crunches, the inner thigh machine, or bicep curls, are accessory work. If you want to burn fat, focus on working the big muscle groups. Then, if you have time, you can throw in a couple of these if it makes you feel better.
7) Use the mirrors!
I’m not talking about taking a selfie or admiring yourself. (You’re welcome to do that too, but just don’t do it for too long cuuuz then it’s just weird. ;)) No, the mirrors are there for making sure your form is correct! Sometimes it’s hard to feel. You might think you’re doing it right, but a mirror can tell you for sure. If an exercise calls for keeping your back straight, check out if your back is actually straight! Use the mirrors for their actual purpose! 😉
7) LADIES: You are stronger than you think!
Your body is capable of carrying and delivering a human! I’m not saying you have to be using a spotter and screaming through every rep. (please don’t 😉 ) In fact, when you’re first learning, you’ll want to start all movements very light until you feel comfortable with the form. But once your form is good, don’t pigeon hole yourself into 8 pounds or less. I mean, c’mon, your purses and your babies weigh more than that!! 🙂
9) Have a plan.
You don’t need a 3 month program all mapped out or anything super complex. It is, however, beneficial to make a plan for the day. Making it up as you go along is fun from time to time, but it’s not usually the most efficient or productive.
A great place to start is 2-4 sets of 8 repetitions of each exercise. There are a number of different ways to put it all together: circuits, super sets, ladders….play around with it.
10) Remember: movement is life! Have fun with it!
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