How to Get Fit
So, you want to get fit, but you aren’t quite sure how to get started? Increasing your fitness is a great way to improve your overall health, but it can also facilitate you reaching certain physical and mental goals, including weight loss, building strength, increasing muscle mass, changing your body shape and supporting your mental health.
When you make the decision to get fit, there are a few points you need to consider. The first is your plan and how you get started. The second point is the most obvious; exercise. Exercise plays a huge part in helping you to improve your fitness. The third, is food. You need food to fuel your body and provide you with the energy you need to exercise and recover.
In this post, we break down these points and provide you with some advice, gained through our own experiences as fitness addicts and through the experiences of our clients in the fitness industry. We hope you find it valuable!
Part 1: Getting started
Start where you are
Making the decision to get fit is exciting, but you have to take your time. You won’t get anywhere by comparing yourself on your first day, to someone else who is much farther along in their fitness journey.
Another thing to recognise is that we all start with different fitness levels. If you have been sedentary your whole life, your foray into fitness might start a little slower than someone who has let themselves go in the past few months or years. So, start where you are. Don’t get caught up in the Instagram hype – focus on progress rather than perfection.
Put a plan in place
Here at The Fitness Associates, we are huge fans of planning your attack. And when you are beginning your fitness journey, this is the perfect time to put your planning skills to task. Follow these steps to increase your chances of success!
Part 2: Exercise
You guessed it. Exercise is a core part of getting fit. There is no avoiding it. You need to embrace exercise and get used to it, because if you want to get fit, it is going to be part of your life. Now, we get it. Exercise doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you are one of those people that hates exercise, we are asking you to put your pre-conceived ideas aside for the moment and read on. We promise it will be worth it.
Just because you are going hard with your fitness program, it doesn’t mean you should slack off in your day-to-day life. Incidental exercise doesn’t sound sexy, and it is unlikely to make you break a sweat like your gym work-outs and aerobic training. But you know they say, every little bit counts. So, embrace your new lifestyle and take steps (literally) towards your fitness goals.
If you are completely new to fitness and the idea of pumping iron in the gym seems a little daunting, incidental exercise can be a great way to get started. It is all about building physical activity into your everyday routine. Use these ideas to get your body used to the idea of moving on a more frequent basis:
These are just a few ideas. Get creative and look for more opportunities to exercise without trying!
Whether you have fat to lose, or you are already toned, aerobic exercise is a great way to improve your fitness. The main aim of aerobic exercise is to get your heart rate up. There are loads of benefits to aerobic exercise which include supporting your mental health, strengthening your muscles, tendons and ligaments, improving cardiovascular health, increasing your breathing efficiency and speeding up your metabolism.
One thing about aerobic exercise is that there is really something for everyone. If you are new to exercise or have doubts about whether aerobic exercise is for you, we encourage you to stick with it, try lots of different types of aerobic exercise and keep trying until you find something that you enjoy. Here are some ideas:
Strength and resistance exercise
When you think of strength and resistance exercise, we bet your mind instantly goes to lifting weights in a gym. Whilst this is one type of strength and resistance exercise, there are also loads of other methods and like aerobic exercise, it is all about finding one that suits your preferences and lifestyle.
There are heaps of benefits to strength and resistance training, including protecting bone and muscle mass, increasing strength, preventing diseases and injuries, helping you to develop better body mechanics and balance, pain management, improved posture, increased stamina and weight management, just to name a few.
Here are a few different types of strength and resistance training to get you started:
If you are new to fitness, or you are looking to push yourself harder, you should consider engaging the services of a personal trainer. Personal trainers may use a mixture of aerobic, strength and resistance training to help you reach your goals.
We are huge advocates of personal training and strongly believe that if you are planning to work out in a gym environment, you should invest in at least a couple of personal training sessions, to ensure that you are using the equipment correctly. There are, however, other benefits of personal training. Here are a few benefits you should consider when deciding whether to hire a personal trainer:
Whether you choose aerobic or strength and resistance training, you are working with a personal trainer, or on your own, you may experience injuries. Even if you train in a safe and appropriate manner. We know it can be frustrating to put your fitness program on hold, but we just want to assure you to listen to your body and know when to take a break. If in doubt, visit your local doctor and ask what type of training (if any) you can continue with while you are injured.
Part 3: Food
Are you wondering what food has to do with getting fit? Food is an incredibly important piece of the puzzle and if you are truly committed to your fitness goals, then you need to look at your eating habits.
Like exercise, with food, there is no one size fits all option. In fact, your own personal fitness goals will guide the eating plan that is right for you.
If you are serious about your fitness goals, we encourage you to consider seeking out a dietitian or nutritionist to help you put together a meal plan that will support your needs. Some personal trainers are able to provide you with nutritional advice, but we think it is worth you bringing a nutrition expert into your team, to make sure you have the support you will need throughout your fitness journey.
As your body changes and your fitness improves, it is likely that your nutritional needs will change as well. It is a good idea to track your food intake wherever possible, so that you have up-to-date information that you can provide to your nutritionist at any time. Check out the My Fitness Pal app, which is available on Android and iTunes; it allows you to track your macro and micro-nutrients and is not only free, but is super easy to use.
Learn about nutrition
Although we believe you should work with a nutrition expert, we also encourage you to do your own research and learn about nutrition, so that you understand how you are fuelling your body. There are a few key things you need to know about when working on a nutrition plan to support your fitness journey. We have included a little bit of an introduction in this post, but as we mentioned, do your own research so that you know what you are putting into your body and how it is affecting you.
Macro-nutrients are carbohydrates, fat and protein. Each of these play an important part in your diet and we would suggest that you steer clear of restrictive diets that make you limit your intake of one or more of these food groups. Here is a quick breakdown:
Micronutrients are commonly referred to as vitamins and minerals and are sourced from the food you eat, though in smaller amounts than macronutrients. There are lots of different kinds of micronutrients and it is important for you to find a good balance for your body. Ideally you will get most of your micronutrients through your food, though sometimes your nutrition expert or medical professional might suggest you take supplements to assist your body in gaining and absorbing the micronutrients it needs.
Some of the micronutrients you might hear about in relation to your fitness program include:
Your body needs water. It helps to regulate your body temperature, lubricate your joints and helps to transport nutrients to keep you and your body healthy. When you exercise, you sweat, which means you are losing more fluid than you do when you are sedentary. For this reason, it is imperative that you increase your water intake before, during and after exercise. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and heart palpitations.
Although water is preferable, if you don’t like the taste of it, you could try adding a little bit of lemon or lime to your glass to make it a bit more palatable. Coconut water is another great alternative as it is full of electrolytes, which help your body hydrate faster.
So, there you have it. Our guide to getting fit, even if you have never exercised before. If this article has inspired you to improve your fitness and health, make sure you let us know! We would love to share your story on the blog