Starting your Fitness Journey

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Below are tips that I found to be helpful when I started getting into fitness more consistently. See if they might be helpful for you!

Goals

Take a minutes to write out what your goals are when it comes to fitness and nutrition.

My Questionnaire is a great place to start!

Workouts

Weights

I usually incorporate two different muscle groups during each workout. Usually, I will end up doing 3-4 different workouts for each muscle group and 3 sets of 6-10 reps each workout. Everybody has a different opinion on how many reps you should do, but I am of the mindset that if you finish a set of 12-15 reps and are not breathing hard, you probably are not challenging your muscles enough. To build strength and muscle (which will not make you look like a man), you must challenge your muscles. You can lift MUCH more than you think you can. Challenge yourself!

On the flip side of that, you should be able to do each rep fully, correctly and with control, and you should not be feeling any sharp pains. You do not want to be sacrificing form for a higher weight.

I know you may be wondering, “Why should I do weight training as a woman?”

Here are a few articles that may be helpful:

10 Reasons Why Women Should Do Resistance Training (bodybuilding.com)

12 Reasons Why You Should Start Lifting Weights Today (Women’s Health Magazine)

Cardio

Cardio can also be an important part of your workout routine. I’m a proponent of High Intensity Interval Training for cardio. Essentially, performing the cardio movement at a high intensity for a set amount of time, and then resting for another set of time, and going back and forth, as opposed to one steady pace.

Some of my favorites include:

Sprints: 30 seconds sprinting, 1 min walking, for 20 minutes.

Stairmaster: 45 seconds fast, 1 minute slow, for 20 minutes.

You can see that my HIIT workouts are short. If you’re doing it right, and really pushing yourself during the FAST parts, you can get an amazing workout in a short amount of time.

If you prefer to do regular cardio, that is definitely up to you! I just recommend you find a balance between that and weight training.

Nutrition/Food

Water

My daily goal: 10-12 cups/day.

Food

Eat nutrient dense foods that make you feel full. Veggies, lean meats, protein. BUT also enjoy the things you love too. Find a balance! Don’t cut anything out that you can’t cut out forever. When getting started, follow the 90/10 rule. 90% of your food should be nutrient dense; 10% should be things you enjoy!

Click Here to learn more about Macronutrients and Flexible Dieting. This way of eating is called “If It Fits Your Macros” (or IIFYM). 

Mindset

One thing I have found to really important with a fitness journey is to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. What I mean by that is that when you don’t hit an exact goal you want to hit, do NOT let that be a reason to give up. A good way to view it is “Two steps forward, one step back.”

Nobody that has gotten in shape or achieved some kind of fitness goal has done it perfectly. The one thing they all have in common is that they kept going when (not if)  they screwed up or failed or didn’t meet their goals perfectly. You MUST allow yourself forgiveness when things don’t go perfectly. Do not put unrealistic expectations on yourself!

Measuring Progress

  • Take Before and Progress pictures.
  • Take measurements.
  • If you’re going to weigh yourself, do it at a set time. I recommend weekly as opposed to daily. Always weigh in at the same time of day, e.g. In the morning before breakfast.
  • Don’t be a slave to the scale. Numbers are NOT everything.
  • Keep a journal of what you’re eating, what workouts you’re doing, how you feel, what you see changing, what you’re proud of accomplishing, what you’re struggling with.
  • See how your clothes change in how they fit
  • Be aware of how different you feel (more energy? better sleep? etc).
  • Find other ways that you like to help measure your progress!

Rest

Getting proper rest is just as important as having proper workouts. Your body and muscles have to recover. The important thing is to listen to your body to know when you need to rest. I would recommend a rest day after 4-5 days of training, but find what works for you.

Rest & Overtraining: What Does This Mean To Bodybuilders? (bodybuilding.com)

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