How To Start Working Out: A Beginner's Guide
If you're ready to start your fitness journey, you’re about to experience some of the benefits of exercise, which will have a positive impact on your health.
So how can you begin training?
This guide on how to start working out can help you to establish exercise as a healthy habit, and answer some of the questions you're likely to have before your first workout.
How to start working out
Follow these steps and find out for yourself how fitness can empower you when establishing a regular exercise routine.
1. Know your “why” — this is your journey
Committing to a healthier lifestyle is a personal decision, and it’s different for everyone. Before you start your fitness journey, dig deep to understand your true reasons for wanting to create healthier habits. The journey to health and fitness is not a race, it’s a process that you will continue for the rest of your life, so it’s important that you know your “why”.
Your reason has to mean something to you and be strong enough to fall back on when you feel like quitting. If you’re struggling to find your “why”, here are some of the reasons from the Sweat community:
"I want to remind myself that I love me. Taking care of ourselves is not just a feeling, it is an action!" @valentinaceravolo
"I need to set a great example for my girls...eating healthy and exercising every day is now the norm in our house!!!!👊🏻🖤👊🏻" @fit.strong.blonde
"To feel strong! Mentally and physically!" @deannakrose
It can be easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to everyone else, but always remember that to create sustainable and lasting change it is essential that your fitness journey is focused on what is right for you.
Creating a workout playlist filled with awesome songs that inspire you is one way that you can reinforce your “why” and keep your motivation strong!
2. Choose a training style you enjoy
When you’re doing something you love, it’s much easier to get motivated to work out! Select a training style that you enjoy and that can fit into your lifestyle. You don’t have to join a gym, though that is an option. You can also get results fast by training at home.
There is a wide variety of training styles and programs available from expert trainers in the Sweat app, including Low Impact with Kayla Itsines, which is specifically designed to help you build a baseline of fitness.
3. Get advice from someone with experience
When you first start strength training you might not know exactly the correct form, how often to train, and how many reps you should do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help to get started. Following our trainers on Instagram and reading the Sweat articles are great ways to get training inspiration and learn correct exercise techniques.
4. Get some comfortable workout gear
Being comfortable during your workout is really important. There’s nothing worse than having to constantly readjust your clothes during a workout — you want to be 100% focused on the task at hand!
Start with a workout outfit that includes comfortable, supportive tops, tights, and good training shoes.
5. Show up for your workouts
The first month of creating a new habit is the toughest, so make a commitment to show up for every workout. Packing your gym bag ahead of time can help to set your intention and reduce the barriers to working out. If you’re working out at home, set up your workout space and lay out your gym clothes so you’re ready to go.
It can be easy to make excuses and find other things to do when you are trying to establish a new routine. For the first month, your goal is to show up every day. Even if you don’t make it through the whole workout, acknowledge the courage and effort that it took to get started and make a commitment to try again.
6. Listen to your body
When you start a new exercise routine, it is so important that you listen to what your body is telling you. Increasing the intensity too fast can result in an injury, so be mindful as you exercise and take it slowly. Patience will pay off as you’ll soon gain confidence and strength to work towards your fitness goals.
7. Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated throughout the day is not only important for your health, it can also help you to recover from your workout and get ready for your next training session. In fact, your muscles are actually made up of around 70% water, so you can see how important hydration is when you work out. Being hydrated also helps to improve your skin texture and can even improve your mood.
When you feel fatigued, get headaches or have difficulty concentrating, it could be a sign that you are dehydrated.
If you find it hard to drink water, remember that you can also get hydration from the food that you eat. Cucumber, celery, watermelon, yoghurt, and strawberries are all good examples of foods with high water content. Carrying a water bottle and adding some flavour to your water can help to encourage you to drink regularly.
8. Warm-up before each workout
The goal of a good warm-up is to prepare your body and your mind for exercise. It can be tempting to skip the warm-up and get straight into your workout, but it’s worth taking five minutes to activate your muscles. The warm-up can help to reduce the risk of injury and may improve your performance during the workout.
In the Sweat app you can choose a cardio warm-up, or cardio followed by movement as part of each training session.
9. Fuel your body wisely
Your pre-workout meal should give you enough energy to workout, and form part of a balanced overall diet. A balanced diet should include carbohydrates, which are important to replenish glycogen (energy stored in your muscles) and protein, which helps to improve muscle recovery after exercise by playing a role in tissue repair and muscle growth.
The food that you eat throughout the day can help your muscles to recover and become stronger as you establish a regular exercise routine. You can find heaps of healthy recipes and plan your meals within the Sweat app.
10. Take time to cool down
Cooling down can help to reduce muscle soreness and helps your body to return to its resting state. You’ll find a five-minute cooldown as part of each workout in the Sweat app. Making time for active recovery is important!
Your cool down can help your heart and lungs to recover faster from the workout and may also help to maintain a robust immune system. Making time to cool down can also help you to perform better the next day.
Plus, taking a little extra time to stretch after a workout while you reflect on the awesome effort you put in can help to relieve stress and establish a positive mindset that you can take into the rest of your day!
11. Make time for rest and recovery
It’s important to make sleep a priority when starting a new fitness routine. Sleep helps your body to repair itself so that you have enough energy the next day. When you don’t get enough rest it can impact your work, life and training. You can try these habits that can help you to sleep better and establish a bedtime routine that is effective for you.
Your rest days are important too, in fact, your rest days can be just as important as your workout sessions for building strength so make sure that you schedule a rest day into your week.
12. Be accountable
When someone else is relying on you to be there, you’re more likely to go even if you don’t feel like it!
“I have two buddies and we meet @ 6am 3 times a week at the gym ... it’s great I wouldn’t miss it! 👍💪.” @hurleyalison1967
Finding a workout buddy to hold you accountable and encourage you on the hard days can help you to establish a new fitness habit. If you can't meet up in person, you can connect via video call to train together. Plus, working out with friends is fun!
13. Celebrate reaching your goals
When you set yourself a goal like completing 12 weeks of your program or doing 10 full push-ups, make sure that you take the time to celebrate your achievement! The Sweat forum is a great place to share your progress, get support and motivate other women who are sharing the same journey. Make sure you take the time to congratulate others on their journeys too.
You might post a new picture on Instagram, treat yourself to new workout gear or do something fun like a spa day. Maybe you’ll keep a record of your goal on the fridge as the target to beat next time! Choose a way to celebrate that’s meaningful for you and use this as motivation to set your next goal and continue your journey.
Start working out for a fitter and healthier you!
When you are new to working out and fitness, it can be hard to know what to do! Making fitness a priority by starting with some achievable goals will help you to make working out into something that you look forward to. Pretty soon you’ll start to experience the benefits of being healthier.
If you’re looking for more information to help you to get started, be sure to join the Sweat community forum and share your fitness journey with other like-minded women who can offer you support and encouragement.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.