Everyone has to start somewhere and it can be slightly overwhelming and at times discouraging. I have spent the past twelve plus years working on my personal fitness goals and also spent two years full time in college earning a Human Kinetics diploma. On this path, personal, professional, and educational experience have taught me a fair bit. Here are some helpful suggestions.
Consistency is the Best Strategy
Most of us, when starting a new exercise regimen, can be overenthusiastic. We want quick results and we may think we can achieve them through quantity. In most cases more is not better. Spending three hours a day, seven days a week training will not help you achieve your fitness goals quickly nor efficiently. As a matter of fact it will result in the complete opposite. Over-training will lead to injury and fatigue, halting your progress and in some cases diminishing your motivation in the long run.
All you need is consistency in the gym. It takes time for your body to adapt and change. You will not manifest your dream body within two weeks of starting training; not even after two months. But you will be very pleased with what you see within twelve months of consistency. By that time exercise will have become a part of your lifestyle; which is not only aesthetically beneficial, but more importantly beneficial for your physical, mental, and emotional health long term. Achieving your optimal body is a constant work in progress.
Your goal should include resistance training three to four times per week. Obviously things come up in life; travel for work, vacation, illness, etc. The key is, preferably, not to take longer then one week off. Some rest is always necessary to allow the body to recuperate and adapt.
Strength Training is Key
Strength training will allow for a denser body. Your body will get leaner, but the numbers on the scale might not change. You will be building muscle (no ladies, you aren’t going to look too muscular, but that’s a whole other topic), your bones will be denser, tendons and ligaments will become stronger and body fat will decrease. Your body composition in general will change for the better, and most importantly functional strength will improve.
It does not help to just show up at the gym and go through the motions. This will not allow for the amazing results you demand of yourself. You need to push yourself in many ways. You need to keep close to perfect form at all times, push yourself to get another 1 or 2 more reps, and challenge yourself to learn new exercises and variations.
Strength training will enable your physique to improve, shaping your body and creating natural body curves. This can not be achieved through cardiovascular exercise. Follow a structured strength program and your body will be thankful.
It Becomes Easier as Time Passes
At the beginning, things might feel awkward. Coordination and rhythm might be lacking. Maintaining proper mechanics and form can be challenging, especially as the load increases. The mind-muscle connection will take time to cue. Trust me, this will change for the better and the sense of achievement will become addicting.
Every training session will allow for your neuromuscular capabilities to increase. Every week the movements will feel more and more natural. Make sure you are using strict form throughout every exercise. Your nervous system will be mapping out motor programs so they become somewhat automatic and you want these to be perfect. This becomes crucial as you start taking sets closer to failure repetition.
You Can Not Out-Train a Poor Diet
The following can not be emphasized enough. A proper nutrition plan is more important then any training routine. You need to be consistently consuming the proper amount of calories and proper ratio of fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Most people consume too many calories and most importantly too much sugar. You should be eating five small to medium size meals through out the day every day. Don’t get me wrong, you need to enjoy life and have the odd bowl of ice-cream or slice of pizza. Just make sure you are not sabotaging your hard work in the gym with a poor diet.