Getting started on a fitness journey can be difficult. And if it’s not the getting started that is tough, it’s maintaining the new routine that can be particularly tough.
A lot of people run out of the gates at full force when they are starting out on a new fitness routine, and in a lot of cases, people run out of steam by the end of their first week, and before they know it, the new workout routine has fallen by the wayside.
Today, we want to help you get your journey to fitness started off on the right foot. And we’re going to do this by telling you about all the wrong things you should avoid doing.
Some of these things might seem super obvious, some of them you might be doing without even realising it – our advice, avoid them where you can.
Here’s 7 Things to Not Do When You Start a New Fitness Regime
Before we dive right into the thick of it, we just want to say that everyone’s fitness journey is different and the way our bodies react to exercise is always going to be different from one another. One thing that remains constant is consistency.
Here are some of the things you can do to ensure you can build up consistency in your new workout regime.
1. Don’t go in with all guns blazing
Enthusiasm, excitement and commitment are all fantastic things and important to motivate you to keep up with any new routine, fitness or other.
So, when we say all guns blazing, we don’t mean to go in with little to no expectations or enthusiasm. What we mean is don’t go in super hard straight away.
If you’ve never tried to swim before you’re not going to jump into the ocean from a boat are you? Well, the same logic applies here. You shouldn’t be trying advanced techniques or moves best left to the radically fit.
You can always try new things and see what works for you. But in order for your fitness routine to stick, you need to start slow and build up the habit. If you haven’t exercised before or for a long time, try a 20-30 minute walk every second or third day. If you exercise, but only once or twice a week, try adding an extra day to your routine or a different type of exercise.
You want to work towards showing up and consistency. When you notice changes in your strength and/or stamina, this is a motivating factor, but it can only come from consistency, so don’t make it too hard from the get go or you’ll find yourself giving up.
2. Don’t set yourself up for failure with a workout routine you don’t have time for
Exercise comes in all sorts of forms and if you want to embark on a fitness journey, you need to make exercise a priority. You do also need to be realistic in how much time you can dedicate to your new routine.
You don’t want to create a new exercise plan that requires a couple of hours out of your day each day, unless you realistically have that much time to dedicate to it.
There are so many different kinds of exercise and ways for you to get movement into your day so you don’t need to be spending your entire day exercising.
In order for your exercise routine to be successful you need to find balance. You need to make movement and exercise a priority but not your only priority. And because everyone is different, 60 minutes a day for one person might be the equivalent of 30 minutes of exercise for you.
We suggest that you aim for 20-30 minutes of exercise every second day when you’re starting out. This gives your body a chance to get used to moving; it gives you a bit of a gauge as to what you can hack; it is a realistic amount of time that you should be able to make time for; and it’s less likely that you will fall off the wagon when it comes to exercising.
3. Avoid fad diets and over the counter fat burners
There are so many fad diets out there that promise amazing results and for some people they have worked, but the thing that seems to work the best for a lot of people is everything in moderation.
Your body needs fat, protein and carbohydrates to run properly and give you the best results, so when you restrict any of these, you run the risk of becoming exhausted and letting go of your diet.
While we’re not going to list every single diet you should avoid, if it has a celebrity name in the title, avoid it; if it’s a juice cleanse, avoid it; if it is an over-the-counter fat burner promising you amazing results with no effort, avoid it; and if it means you’re only eating one food group, avoid it.
If you really want to understand your nutritional needs a dietician or nutritionist should be able to provide you with information tailored to you and your goals.
4. Don’t eat in front of the tv or while working
We’re all guilty of a bit of mindless eating. Most often a lot of us do it in front of the TV or while we’re working. We know you’re just trying to be efficient and get more out of your time, but we highly recommend that when you’re eating, that’s your main focus.
When you mindlessly eat meals and snacks it can be distracting and you often end up overeating. While a snack in front of the TV here and there isn’t going to hurt you, it’s best not to make it a habit.
Conscious eating will also have the benefit of you understanding how much food much you actually need and also how particular foods may make you feel.
5. Do not restrict yourself too much
We touched on this above, but when it comes to healthy eating and fitness, the approach of everything in moderation is going to be the most sustainable one.
When you restrict yourself too much, you might find that you see results quickly but the likelihood of you giving into cravings and eating the “restricted” foods is higher. You will also find that you think about food and the “bad foods” more often than you would if you’re not too strict.
We’re not saying you should be smashing a cheeseburger every day, but hey if you’re craving one every now and then, you should have one.
The mindset of foods being negative or bad can be a very unhealthy approach and damaging to a person’s relationship with food.
6. Do not ignore what your body is trying to tell you
You know the old saying, “No pain, no gain”? Well, it’s a pretty silly statement, especially if you force yourself to continuously train through pain and not let your body recover.
The more you push through the pain the more likely you’re going to fail at your exercise routine.
You want to be able to push your body in the sense of trying new things and working out, but you don’t want to push it to the point that you cause yourself an injury. Sometimes people mistake injuries and strains for general soreness which can lead to a worse injury.
And if you do become injured, it doesn’t mean you have to give up exercising all together. When you’re injured you should address is with a health professional, like a doctor, sports physio, chiro, osteopath or podiatrist. They will be able to help you recover from the injury and provide advice on other exercises you could be doing as you recover.
7. Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep and rest
You really need to let you body rest. Without recovery, there is only so long your body will be able to handle a workout routine.
Often when people allow themselves a day or two off from their workout routine, they find themselves feeling better and even seeing greater results.
While you might equate sleep and rest to mean the same thing, in the context of exercise they are not.
Rest is knowing when you need to take a break from exercising and allow your body to do its thing.
Sleep, or lack thereof, is a common problem for people who exercise and those who don’t. But getting enough sleep is going to help you feel better overall, improve the health of your body, make the muscle come and the fat go, and provide you with better mental clarity.
You should be allowing your body enough time to sleep each night, which is generally between 7.5-9 hours a night (though it may differ from person to person). And if you’re starting a fitness journey for the first time, trust us, you’re going to need that sleep.
The best place to start your new fitness journey
If you’re in Melbourne and looking for a friendly environment to start your new fitness routine in, then why not come on down to Rec Xpress? We have 6 locations in Melbourne’s South-East and we’re always ready to help out someone getting started on their journey.
We’re also open 24/7, so no matter the time of day, our welcoming gym is ready and waiting for you.