Fitness 101: How-to guide for beginners
By Cory Maxwell
Starting a fitness program can feel overwhelming —
especially for those who haven’t made exercising a priority. But getting in shape
will not only get you looking and feeling better, it will greatly improve your
health and well-being.
As a nationally certified personal trainer, I regularly meet
people who want nothing more than to get into shape. Problem is, they have no
idea where to start.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
• Get a doctor’s approval before starting any exercise
• Write down long- and short-term goals. Your long-term
goals might be to exercise daily for the rest of your life and lose 50 pounds.
Your short-term goals might be to lose 10 pounds and an inch off your waist in
the next couple of months.
• Post your goals where you will see them every day.
• Start slowly. There is no need to go too fast too soon.
Realize that the more active you are the more likely you are
to lose weight and gain lean muscle mass — anything that gets you moving
(such as walking) is better than being sedentary.
• Take a break if you feel pain, shortness of breath,
dizziness or nausea while working out. You may be pushing yourself too hard.
• Trade junk food for healthy food. Your diet is crucial to
your losing weight, gaining muscle and getting healthier. As much as possible
avoid fried food, sugar, white flour and artificial ingredients. Eat plenty of
healthy whole foods such as lean proteins, whole grains, legumes and “good”
• Drink lots of water every day.
• Eat five to six small meals throughout the day to keep
your blood sugar nice and even. Keep track of what you’re eating to avoid
mindless munching that can pack on pounds.
• If you can afford it, enlist the help of a personal
trainer at your local gym. Most gyms have at least a couple of trainers on hand
to create a simple workout and diet program for you.
Here’s what to look for in a personal trainer:
– Education: A personal trainer should be
certified through a reputable fitness organization, such as ACSM, NSCA or ACE.
An exercise science or other related college degree isn’t necessary, but the
more education your trainer has, the better your workouts will be.
– CPR: Your trainer should have an updated
certification in CPR and/or first aid.
– Experience: Make sure your trainer has several
years of experience, especially in relation to your goals. For example, if
you’re a bodybuilder you want someone knowledgeable in that area.
– Specifics: If you have a specific medical problem,
injury or condition (such as being pregnant, heart problems, diabetes, etc.)
make sure your trainer has education in these areas and will work with your
– An active listener: A good trainer will listen
closely to what you say and make sure he or she understands your goals.
– Attention: A good trainer will be focused only
on you during your sessions.
– Tracking progress: Top-tier trainers will regularly
assess your progress and change things if necessary.
The Bible says our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1
Corinthians 6:19). We should do everything we can to keep our bodies in good
working order and as healthy as they can be. Working out and eating healthy
foods are key ways to achieve such a standard.
CORY MAXWELL is a certified strength and conditioning coach
with 10 years of experience in the fitness industry.
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