Absolute Newbie to Fitness? Here's Where to Start

Absolute Newbie to Fitness? Here's Where to Start

Whether you’ve been on a workout hiatus for a while or you’re a complete beginner, taking that first step on your fitness journey can feel daunting.

The good news? With that first step, you’re already giving your body and brain a boost. In a recent study of sedentary adults, participants experienced beneficial changes related to muscle metabolism after just one hour of moderate exercise. Another study suggests a single bout of exercise may improve mood and cognitive function.

If you’re starting from scratch, here are five steps to help you establish healthy fitness habits.

Simplify your fitness journey with the healthy meal plans and variety of workout classes on Openfit! Try the all-in-one app here for free.

 

Step 1: Figure Out Your “Why”

hiking up a hill | how to get started with fitness

There are so many benefits of exercise, including weight loss or maintenance, muscle mass improvement, better overall health, and improved mobility. The list goes on and on — but what’s your reason?

“Establishing a relationship with fitness starts with why you’re doing it, outside of thinking that you should,” says Kourtney Thomas, CSCS, personal trainer and running coach.

Take a moment to consider how a new fitness routine might improve your life, she adds. That can boost your motivation and help you choose the best fitness program to help you reach your goals.

 

Step 2: Set Meaningful Goals

Goal-setting is key — but steer clear of vague goals like “lose weight.” Instead, Thomas suggests focusing on specific milestones that will keep you inspired, such as:

  • Completing a 5K
  • Playing with your kids at the playground
  • Picking up your grandchildren
  • Dancing to your favorite song without getting winded
  • Getting enough restful sleep each night

Jot down a few non-scale victories you’d like to achieve, and leave room on the page so you can update your goals as you progress.

 

Step 3: Choose a Workout Program

collage of openfit beginner friendly programs | how to get started with fitness

When you’re first getting started with fitness, following a workout program can help you get into a consistent routine and make progress over time. Plus, it’ll spare you the decision fatigue of constantly wondering, “Which workout should I do today?” In short, it takes the guesswork out of training.

Not sure where to start? This guide can help you choose the best workout program for you. Or try one of these beginner-friendly programs:

Every Step

This fun, low-impact walking program offers guidance from a live trainer — along with playlists, podcasts, and trivia games to keep you entertained.

30-Day Yoga Foundation

Part of Openfit’s Yoga52 program, this beginner-friendly plan can help you master the poses, techniques, and sequences you’ll need to tackle more advanced yoga workouts. You can also look for Level 1 yoga workouts on Openfit Live.

Get Moving and Start Losing

Jen Widerstrom‘s four-week program consists of easy-to-follow workouts designed for anyone who’s starting fresh. You’ll sweat and sculpt with four low-impact cardio routines and four light-resistance routines.

Lisa Hubbard Beginner Pilates

This beginner-focused Pilates program is designed to teach you the fundamentals as you build a stronger body, tighter core, and increase flexibility and mobility.

 

Step 4: Schedule Your Workouts

It’s hard to “find” time for fitness. So once you’ve decided what workouts you’ll do, make a plan for when those workouts are going to happen.

At the beginning of each week, put your workouts on the calendar. Then treat them like you’d treat an important meeting or a hard-to-get doctor’s appointment — in other words, change or cancel only if it’s absolutely necessary.

 

Step 5: Dial In Your Nutrition

woman cooking while looking at online recipe | how to get started with fitness

healthy eating plan will give your body the nutrients it needs to fuel your workouts. And because dietary changes have been shown to be more effective for weight loss than exercise alone, dialing in your nutrition can help you see the results of all your hard work.

If the idea of overhauling your eating habits feels overwhelming, the One Minute Meal Plan in the Openfit app can help — just answer a few questions and you’ll get a customized meal plan tailored for your needs. Or check out Sugar Free 3, a three-week nutrition program to help you decrease your sugar intake.

Elizabeth Millard

About

Elizabeth Millard has written for Men's Health, SELF, Prevention, Runner's World, and several other health and wellness publications. Based in Northern Minnesota (yes, it's just as cold as you've heard), she's also a rock climber, obstacle course enthusiast, and registered yoga teacher. Follow her on Twitter.

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