Fitness

Get Started

When getting started with an exercise or fitness program there are a few things to consider:

  • Consult your doctor – whenever you begin an exercise program is it wise to consult your doctor to evaluate your fitness level and overall health, and get clearance to proceed or an understanding how much you are able to do.
  • Set goals – make sure they are clear, realistic and measurable. It’s always a good idea to start small and build on them as you progress.
  • Start slowly – if you try to go all out straight away you are more likely to burn out, get injured, and lose motivation as a result. Aim to form habits that you can stick with for a lifetime, rather than chasing immediate results.
  • Choose the right gym – choose one you feel comfortable in, especially in the free weight’s section. Ensure it is within reasonable distance to either home or work. If it’s too far away it will be harder to find motivation to go.
  • Warm up – cold muscles are more prone to injury than are warm muscles. Try brisk walking or another aerobic activity for 5 or 10 minutes, or 1-2 light sets of an exercise for the muscles you are about to train.
  • Have a plan – know what you are going to do before getting there so you can get started straight away and keep moving. Be flexible with your program too. If the equipment or machine you want is being used either come back to it or have an alternative exercise in mind.
  • Learn proper technique – if you are new to weight training, work with a trainer or other fitness specialist to learn correct form and technique. Even experienced athletes may need to brush up on their form from time to time. This is very important to avoid injury.

As you progress in your training program there are some additional safety tips and pointers to be aware of:

  • Get a spotter – if you are attempting a heavy or big lift (such as bench press or squat) get someone to spot you just to be safe.
  • Breathe – don’t forget to breathe during your exercises. It’s common to sometimes hold your breath when concentrating so be conscious to keep breathing throughout the movement.
  • Proper technique – not just during the movement, but when picking up and putting down weights, or loading and unloading machines or barbells. You can just as easily get injured doing this as performing the actual exercise.
  • Engage your core – you should switch on or engage your abs/core when performing moves, especially things like squats, shoulder press and deadlifts. This helps stabilise your torso and avoids putting strain on your back and causing injury.
  • Range of motion – always perform exercises with good range of motion, but be careful not to overstretch your joints.
  • Stop if you feel dizzy – if you start to feel faint or dizzy, or something is hurting, stop what you are doing immediately.

 

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