This is the age of thefit chick, the gym bro, the yogi, the CrossFit-er, the Soul Cycler, the kickboxer, and the list goes on. Social media is filled with “inspirational” influencers showing off their perfectly sculpted bodies doing handstands in front of sunsets or squats in front of large gym mirrors. These types of photographs that cover the internet have prompted more and more people to hop onto the fitness train and get the body of their dreams... Or so they think. Before you get started, here are some general tips to get the ball rolling.
Understand that you don’t have to conform to one type of fitness profile.
When people first decide to start on their fitness journey, they often think that they have to choose a type of fitness regime and stick to that. There are many different kinds of workouts and classes you can take, such as Yoga, Barre, CrossFit, Soul Cycle, dance, weightlifting, running, boxing, and more. Many people sign up for a monthly membership at a certain gym and attend those classes exclusively. It is important to realize that you do not have to fit into a certain image and stick to one method of exercising; You can be a renaissance man/woman! It is completely possible to be a fearsome boxer and a Zen yogi at the same time. Also, don’t be afraid of gaining “too much” muscle as a woman or not gaining enough muscle as a man. Like mentioned previously, every body was created to be different, so there isn’t one way that everyone should look. You have the liberty of creating your fitness goals and deciding how you want to look. Trying new exercises could open your door to new pursuits and passions. Don’t limit yourself!
Don’t fall into the entrapments of the social media fit-gods.
In the digital age that we live in today, there are so many resources out there for people who are looking to start exercising. A few of these resources include YouTube Videos, website articles and forums, and Instagram. Instagram is a platform that is a mainly visual based app for sharing photographs with minimal captions. This photo-sharing app is a perfect platform for a multitude of fitness influencers to share their progress and photographs. However, this can pose a problem because people looking at the collection of bikini pictures and bulging muscles most of the time just see the end results and not what it takes to get there. Worse, people catch scraps of information here and there about different methods to get fit-fast or lose weight. There are countless gimmicks that influencers rave about and accredit to their physical success such as FiTea, Shake Weight, juice cleanses, diet pills, and “one exercise will get you the body of your dreams” workouts. These influencers are often sponsored by brands to advocate for these products, and they create a false idea that if consumers feed into these gimmicks they will look like the influencer themselves, all through a quick-fix diet or exercise. These fitness accounts create an unrealistic standard that many people strive to meet without realizing that every body is built differently and will look differently regardless of how hard you exercise. The internet is filled with countless diets and trendy workouts that there is almost too much information out there for beginners to really get a solid fitness plan formulated.
Diet and exercise are synonymous when getting fit.
Many people think to achieve their fitness goals they can have a solid workout plan while eating poorly. Just because you ran three miles this morning does not mean you can eat pop tarts for the rest of the day. When you start exercising, your body needs different varieties and amounts of food than it did before. For example, you may need to track your protein intake to make sure that you are getting enough to feed your hardworking muscles. Getting enough food and the right kind of food is important, and it is something often overlooked when people begin to workout. It can be helpful to use a website to track your calories and most importantly what kind of nutrients you’re getting from your foods. A helpful and free website that I have used is “Chronometer”.
You don’t have to jump right in to benching hundreds of pounds – ease your way in.
I can attest to this one. When I first started going to the gym I started lifting heavy weights because that is what my end goal was. Key words – end goal. A few days after straining my underdeveloped muscles, I pulled a muscle in my back and had to stop exercising for a week to recover. My body was not used to lifting such heavy weights and consequentially an injury occurred. This story is a tale as old as time for many newcomers to the world of fitness. Overworking your body does not just include lifting weights, it also includes running too many miles or even working out too many times in the week. Understand that this is a transition for your body, and treat the matter as if you were giving solid food to a baby for the first time – a little at a time. Try starting out small then steadily increasing your reps and weight with every workout. Also, try only going to the gym a few times a week and work up to more days when you feel like you are ready. It is better to learn the correct form for exercises and work your way up rather than risk an injury that will set you back weeks or months. Also, you are more likely to stick with something if you don’t overwork your body in the beginning and instead start off with something more manageable. Don’t worry, you’ll get there!
Getting fit and working out can be a daunting process, and stepping into a loud gym filled with dudes who look like the Hulk is not the warmest welcome! But, it does not have to be so scary! Going into it with the right knowledge and expectations can truly make a difference when first getting started. You are the creator of your own mind and body, so do not feel like you have to fit into a certain mold or hold a certain standard that other people have created. And above all, please don’t be the lady who wears a skort on the Stairmaster.