Everyone’s fitness journey is different. However, I bet every professional athlete and fitness guru would admit they wish they knew then what they know now. Throughout my years in the fitness world, as an athlete and Certified Personal Trainer, I’ve gained invaluable lessons through education and personal experience. Today, these are the things I wish I knew before I started my fitness journey.
How to Start a Fitness Journey
Starting a fitness journey can feel overwhelming and intimidating. Yet, that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your fitness goals! Luckily, anyone who is involved in fitness started from the beginning, too. As a beginner in the fitness world, you can lean on the experiences of professionals to start your journey strong.
While there are many things I wish I knew before starting my fitness journey, which we’ll get to in a minute, there are many proven ways to maximize your experience and progress a fitness beginner:
- Start slow
- Be patient with yourself
- Give yourself rest
- Take one day at a time
- Learn from a professional
10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Fitness Journey
If I could go back to the first days of my fitness journey, there’s a lot I would share. But, most importantly, I would share these 10 tidbits to help improve the start of my fitness journey:
- Recovery is Just as Important as Training– Your progress is dependent on your body’s ability to rest and recover. Utilize rest days throughout the week, make stretching and foam rolling priority, and make sure to consistently eat enough.
- Dynamic Warm Ups are Key– Before any kind of workout (lifting, running, etc.), dynamic warm-ups are the key to effectively preparing your muscles and successfully preventing injury.
- Correct Form is WAY More Important Than the Weight You’re Lifting- It can be easy to convince yourself to lift heavier than you should. Of course, continuing to increase your weight is important to progress, but the second you lose correct form, you’re risking injury and likely not working the muscles effectively.
- Stop Obsessing Over Supplements- Sure, supplements can be helpful. But, they aren’t the end-all-be-all. Instead of obsessing over supplements, focus on performing effective workouts and eating nourishing foods.
- Some Exercises WILL Feel Awkward– You’re going to feel awkward doing certain exercises (AKA hip thrusts and adductions). Do them anyway! Many of these “awkward exercises” are some of the most beneficial.
- The Scale Does Not Indicate Your Progress- Fundamentally, muscle weighs more than fat. So, if you’re working out consistently, you’ll likely actually gain weight according to the scale. Yet, at the same time, your body composition should be improving.
- You Need to Eat Enough to Progress– Nutrition is key to reaching your fitness goals. You know what they say, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” When you’re consistently working out, you need to make sure you’re eating enough food to meet the energy demands of your body, especially in the form of protein and carbohydrates.
- Longer Workouts Do Not Equal Better Workouts– I always used to think I had to workout for minimally two hours on my days off from the hospital to maximize my progress. However, time is not indicative of your progress. You can make any time count by being intentional with your workouts and exercises.
- Adding Weight Isn’t the Only Way to Increase Strength- Sometimes the best way to increase strength isn’t simply adding more weight. There are other ways to make exercises more challenging, such as slowing down the movement, adding drop sets or supersets, reducing rest time, and or increasing rep range.
- Be Mindful of Who You Look Up to- In our day and age of social media, be mindful of the fitness accounts you follow and “fitness professionals” you admire. Are they making you feel more confident in yourself? Or shameful? Do you feel inspired by them or insecure? Pay attention to how you think and talk about yourself as a result of these individuals.
There are many things I wish I knew as a beginner in the fitness world, but these are at the top of the list. Use these pieces of advice to strengthen the start of your fitness journey!