So, you have made the choice to keep fit. Well, that’s a step in the right direction. It is instructive to note that fitness, whether for a first timer or an elite athlete is of utmost importance.
Your maiden work out is the most important, because it will give guidance as to whether you will work out again. Too many fitness beginners embark on this journey with the best of intentions, only to workout once and never return. You can avoid this by having a goal before you work out for the first time. Your first time working out should be to feel better after your workout than when you started. There are also some things to avoid doing your first time working out in order to ensure that you will return to the gym.
Working out without Warming Up
Working out can be potentially dangerous if you are not properly warmed up. Warming up is especially important for fitness beginners because you are just establishing your workout routine. Start by doing some light stretching in the major muscle groups that you will be working. Ease into your cardio by not going too hard in the first five or ten minutes; let your muscles warm up and gradually increase your intensity.
Avoid Working out without a Snack
Many fitness beginners are also trying to lose weight. If you are trying to lose weight and work out, you still need to eat. Try eating a light snack an hour or two hours before you go workout. The general rule is to eat no more than 100 calories per every hour. Everyone is a little bit different, so you will figure out what works best for you. Try something that is easily digestible, like low-fat yogurt or half of a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.
Avoid Doing Cardio and Weights
When you work out for the first time you might have so much motivation that you want to do both cardio and weights. Try to refrain from doing both or you will end up feeling very sore later. Try doing only cardio your first time going to the gym. After you have managed to stay consistent with your cardio program for two or three weeks, then add in some weight lifting exercises.
Avoid Doing too Much
Again, your goal for your first time working out is to feel better than when you started. Don’t feel compelled to stay at the gym for two or three hours or work as hard as you possibly can. Try starting off with 20 minutes on the elliptical machine or 20 minutes of swimming laps. If you have extra energy after doing 20 minutes save it for your next workout. The best fitness is built up by putting together quality training sessions over the course of many months and years.
Michael Kwambo is a retired rugby player. He started out at Impala before moving to KCB. He currently is the Media & Communications Manager at the Kenya Rugby Union, and is in his spare time a writer, poet and singer.