Imagine this…there you are, motivated and ready to go. Excited to start a new workout routine and add more structured strength training into your weekly schedule. Eager to get stronger and faster, rev up your metabolism through an increase of lean muscle mass and bodily adaptation, and improve your overall health and longevity.
But where do you start? What exercises should you do? How much weight should you lift? How do you prevent injury? Where do you even start?
It can be a challenge to navigate the newness of a workout plan, individual exercises, or even a new gym altogether, but there is no need to allow anything to stop you from accomplishing your fitness goals. It is common for individuals striving to add exercise to their routine to have questions. With the help of a few simple tips, you will be able to easily navigate a brand new workout program with ease.
1. Follow a workout plan
Having an exercise plan that is appropriate for your physical abilities, skill level, and goals is critical for not only long-term success but also for the assurance that you will be able to complete each workout safely and without injury.
A structured workout plan will also ensure that you consistently progress in a structured manner and prevent any plateaus that could happen. The best way to ensure you are following the right workout plan is to meet with an exercise professional who can assess your goals and abilities and can prescribe the best individualized plan designed specifically for you.
*If you are a Medi-Share Health Partner, you have exclusive access to personal health coaches and personal trainers through your Member Center.
2. Understand each exercise
Performing exercises without fully understanding the purpose behind them, what muscles they are targeting, or how to engage those muscle groups correctly could lead to inefficient workouts, potential muscle imbalances, and even injury. This means it is vitally important to know how to properly perform each exercise so you can move through the motion safely and reap the most benefit for the time invested in your workout.
3. Determine a starting weight
If you are brand new to strength training, the best starting point will be performing these new movements with just your body weight. Moving just your body will allow you to really hone in on the new exercise and learn how to perform it correctly and safely while engaging each targeted muscle.
If you are more experienced in strength training, adding weight through dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, etc. can be a great way to challenge the body by making the movement harder. This external weight forces the body to move a load it’s not necessarily accustomed to, which results in greater strength adaptations and muscle recruitment. Ultimately this will lead to greater health and metabolic impacts as you push your body past it’s normal limits.
No matter your experience level, approaching a new exercise while erring on the side of caution is key to determining what your body is capable of performing safely. See new exercises as an experiment and start with lighter resistance (or none at all) to perform your first one or two sets.
The goal is that the last one or two repetitions within a single set are difficult, but still able to be performed. If you are able to complete all of the repetitions fairly easily with proper form, then you may want to add more weight to make it more challenging.
4. Give yourself grace
Being new to an exercise or a workout program may mean that you don’t follow or perform it correctly the first time, and that’s okay! Anything that is new most likely comes with a lot of trial and error, so be patient with yourself and give yourself time to learn and grow as you remain consistent with your workout efforts.
With these tools in your toolbox, you now have the simple steps needed for success as you begin to feel stronger and more confident in strength training, and take control in this important area of your health. You now know how to incorporate a workout program into your routine in a safe, yet challenging manner that will ensure you reap the most health benefits from your invested workout time.
Don’t let unanswered questions prevent you from taking control of your health! Remove the barriers and confusion by not only seeking expert recommendations and education but also by starting slow and gradually progressing over time. Because when it comes to a new workout program, slow and steady wins the race and sets up your body/health for long-term success, so don’t delay…start today!
*Please consult with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen. The steps listed in this article do not take into account individual physical abilities and merely depict a general process to incorporating exercise into daily routine.