5 Tips to Start Your Fitness Journey: A Beginner's Guide

Do you want to get fit? Are you feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to begin? Follow this guide from one of Australia's leading health and wellness experts, Kristy Curtis, to help you get started today.

The benefits of exercise go far beyond the physical transformation that takes place. Exercise can give you the confidence, energy and self-belief to get more out of life. I know for myself, that a workout clears the fog in my brain, stabilises my mood and allows me to clear the lens and refocus.

Embarking on any new fitness journey can bring up a whole host of insecurities around the way you look, your fitness levels and how best to get started. For many people, it can be quite intimidating stepping foot into an unknown place that is swathed in toned bodies and some scary-looking equipment. But whatever your age, or your fitness level, it is never too late to start exercising. A case in point is this social experiment created by Fitness First -

‘How Fit Feels’ never reveals the participants' bodies. Instead it is a virtual diary of the participants' thoughts and feelings in relation to how exercise, or the lack thereof, affects them. The results of this 12-week experiment are astounding, and will make you question and dig deeper into your own personal health journey.

Ready to get started? Here are my top 5 tips to get you on your way and help keep you going:

1. Moderation is Not Failure

It's critical to remember that you have to learn to crawl before you can walk. If it has been a significant period of time since you laced up your trainers, clearly define the boundary between ideal and realistic. That is, what would you like to achieve versus the reality of fitting it in around work, home and life’s other demands.

The goal when starting your exercise regime is not to break records, but to create a sustainable fitness and lifestyle habit. Keep in mind, it's not just the physical benefits of exercise, such as increases in strength, endurance and fitness, but also the emotional benefits such as improvements in mental and emotional health.

2.  Set Realistic Expectations

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was your body.  As a Personal Trainer, I encourage my clients to set goals that are realistic and achievable in terms of exercise, nutrition and lifestyle demands.  You really need to check your expectations when it comes to the ‘bigger picture’ of what you are trying to achieve.  Resist the temptation to focus on the outcome and channel your effort and energy into the small day-to-day achievements that add up to the overall goal.

3. Get a Support System

The number one reason for gym attrition is lack of motivation, coupled with the fact that humans are social creatures. It makes perfect sense for you to find the support system that is best for you.  If you find it hard to be self-motivated on the best of days try training with a buddy.  I guarantee you are less likely to hit the ‘snooze’ button if you know you have committed to meeting someone at 6am.  If the thought of stepping into the weights area feels intimidating, or you are not confident about using the equipment, enlist the services of a Personal Trainer who can specifically design programs based around your strengths and weaknesses. You will be surprised at what your body can do and how hard you can push yourself when you have someone encouraging you. 

Personal Trainers provide accountability and motivation. They can also help you examine your habits around eating, stress, sleep and exercise. Join a gym that provides plenty of variety in terms of its service offerings - such as small group training and fitness classes. These classes will ensure your workouts are fun and engaging, and keep you motivated by working out with like-minded people.

4. What is the Best Exercise for You?  

The answer? The exercise you enjoy, as you are more likely to stick to it long-term. Lets face it, if exercise feels like a chore or you are mentally ticking off the minutes before you can get out of there,  chances are you won't last long. Not all exercise has to be structured or in the gym. You may love training outdoors or playing sport several times a week. These activities are a fantastic to keep fit plus they are social and enjoyable.  Try out different group classes or join a running club or a Bootcamp . You will be surprised at how quickly the time goes when you are having fun.

5. See How You Measure Up

Wearable technology has transformed the way we can measure heart rates, outputs, distances, pace, sleep and even body fat.  Measuring our heart rate, for example, provides clear-cut data around how hard we are working (or not). The ability to measure our results allows us to take responsibility for each and every workout. It also allows us to accurately compare our results over a period of time and to track our progress.  Most wearable technology is easily synched to mobile devices and some even provide you with programs on what to do in the gym.  

Another great way to get this insight is the BioScore™ assessment. It is a holistic analysis of your health that allows you to assess where you stand on some key indicators, before you set out to improve. BioScore™ measures your lung function, agility, strength, cardio, functional strength, core strength, waist to height ratio, muscular power, blood pressure and metabolic blood levels. The results are then calculated, and provide you with your Biological age vs your Chronological (or actual) age. Set yourself a goal to improve these markers in 12 weeks and retest again.

A Final Note ....

If you follow the above tips, you should will be well on your way to improving your health and wellbeing.

- Exercise should be a habit, like brushing your teeth or combing your hair. 
- The hardest part is getting started.
- S
ome exercise is always better than none.
- Be kind to yourself. Self-compassion will increase the likelihood you will succeed long-term.

Keep your eyes peeled for the results of the Fitness First #howfitfeels social experiment - howfitfeels.fitnessfirst.com.au.

Take it from me, exercise has the power to transform not just your body, it can also transform your life. 

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