If one of your new year resolutions is to get more fit and strong in 2023, then I’ll begin by congratulating you. Frankly, there’s no better resolution than wanting to be the fittest you can be. After the congratulations, let me offer you some reassurance: It is not as daunting as it may seem to you right now. This is especially true if you are new to fitness and the discipline that comes with it.
That’s the key word: discipline. You see, thanks to popular media, you may think that fitness is about getting an expensive gym membership, or signing up with a good (and also expensive trainer), or buying a bucket load of expensive gadgets. All this may become important in the long run, but right now, you need to focus on consistency.
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Workout in the mornings: You see, without consistency, you are nowhere. You must want to get up early in the day to ensure that you get 30-60 minutes of workout in before your day begins. If you can’t manage early morning, then evenings are good too. But generally speaking, mornings are a better bet because that’s when the body’s hormones are best primed to burn extra stores of fat. Personally speaking, working out in the morning can provide you with an excellent metabolic boost to last you through the day.
Sleep well and stay hydrated: For morning workouts—or for that matter any workout—to be effective, you will need to ensure that you are getting enough sleep. If you workout without proper rest, the effort you put in will not really show any gains; in fact, your chances of getting injured will rise. So sleep well and drink plenty of water. A lack of good hydration has about as much detrimental effect on your body as a lack of rest.
Tie your fitness regime to playing a sport: Here's another tip: Your motivation to exercise everyday will be easy to maintain if you tie it to a sport that you’d like to play. It may be something as simple as running or swimming, or more intense like playing football or tennis. You see, if there’s a sport that you play regularly and want to get better at, then it will force you to focus on specific areas of your body and conditioning that you will need to work on.
For example, something that I like to do very regularly is to go for hikes. These may be short two-day weekend hikes or longer Himalayan treks. This requires me to focus on strengthening my legs and glutes, and on ensuring that I have a strong core and back muscles. This makes it relatively easier for me to figure out how to exercise, and how to intensify or relax my training schedule, according to when I’m going for a hike.
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Always remember to warm up and cool down: This is something that all fitness experts insist on. You need to allow yourself the “boring” ten minutes before and after a workout when you warm up or cool down. Never skip them just because you want to get straight to lifting weights; you will be leaving the door open to injuries. You see, when you warm up, you’re literally waking up your muscles and joints and sending a signal to your body that you are about to embark on a period of strenuous activity. By doing so, you’re priming your body for work. Warming out loosens up your tight muscles, and that’s important to avoid injuries.
When it comes to cooling down, you are effectively telling your body that you are done with the work and that you will now wind down. And cooling down is actually great fun, since it involves a range of stretches that your muscles need while they’re still warm. Cooling down helps restore your resting heart rate and increases the range of motion in your muscles.
Finally, don’t workout everyday: It’s impossible to overstate this: you need to have rest days in your weekly workout schedule. This is to ensure that you are not overloading your body, which could lead to it collapsing, i.e. injuries. Your muscles and bones need to rest and recover after every few days of intense work.
So there you have it, five simple things you need to keep in mind as you begin your fitness journey. Just one final tip: Before you begin, ensure that you get a full medical checkup done and have the all-clear from your physician. Doing so will also help you evaluate what sort of fitness goals you need to keep in mind.