Whether you’ve created a new resolution, had a health scare, or you have finally made the decision to get healthy, it is never too late to start down the path to wellness. However, the workout world can be intimidating – with exaggerated images of fitness models often representing an unattainable ideal. If you are ready to make important and necessary life changes, pay attention to the following key tips:
Get Your Diet under Control
Exercise is an incredibly important aspect of healthy living. However, exercise delivers a much bigger impact if it is used in conjunction with other healthy living habits – like purposeful, healthy eating. A general rule of thumb is to consume ten times your body weight in calories each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 1,500 calories a day. Fill up with foods that are dense in nutrients rather consuming snacks that deliver only empty calories. Brown rice, potatoes, chicken breast, fruit, and plain oatmeal are safe bets. Most Americans today eat portions that are simply too large. For a quick and effective portion control measure, your fist to approximate healthy food portions. Another tried and true method is to break up large meals into smaller portions. This allows you to boost your metabolism and gives your body the chance to gradually break down the food you eat and increase your energy at the same time. Stay hydrated with water and avoid sugary drinks.
Add Cardio to Your Routine
Getting your heart rate up with moderate cardio can burn a significant amount of calories and help with fat loss in a short period of time. Your goal should be to complete 30-40 minutes of cardio a day for about four or five days a week. When you are first starting your exercise routine, you may want to gradually ease into this cadence to minimize the burnout factor. For example, start at two days the first week, then three the next, and four the third week. When you begin building more stamina, try HIIT training. High Intensity Interval Training is a cardio exercise training that incorporates alternating periods of intense exercises and less intense rest periods.
In terms of equipment, a rowing machine is a safe pick for virtually any beginner. It works out your abs, biceps, quadriceps, and back. It also helps you to develop muscles – even though its primary function is as a cardio workout tool. Start off your routine by placing the handle in your hands, palms down. Then, position your feet firmly on the platforms. Maintain straight posture and then extend your legs while pulling the bar into your body until your elbows are slightly beyond your torso. Return to the starting position and repeat until you get in a full workout.
Look for a machine that is similar to a treadmill in the Arc Trainer. This machine allows you to glide back and forth rather than stomp away like a treadmill does. Simulate running on the machine and keep your hips straight as you move back and forth. One neat thing about this machine? You won’t have to keep wiping off sweat as you work out!
Lifting weights delivers firm muscles and can build additional muscle tissue when done appropriately. Ultimately, this helps you burn fat and get in better shape. A machine to use for both beginners and experienced gym visitors is the Lat Pull-Down machine. This machine targets your biceps and can help firm up your arms. To operate the Lat Pull-Down, grip the bar with your hands on each side. Keep your arms straight as you pull the bar toward your chest. Hold the position for one count and return it to the starting position. This is one rep. Complete 24 reps across three separate sets of eight.
Another weight machine worth your time is the Pec Deck. Sit snugly against the chair and squeeze your arms and elbows together so that the grip bars move closer to each other. Press with your elbows. Return to the starting position for one rep. Start off with a total of 20 reps in two separate sets.
When working with weights, use a weight that you are comfortable with to prevent you from dropping them – as this can obviously injure yourself or someone around you. Some beginners also like to use handheld weights instead of machines. As you start working out more and building more strength and muscle mass, up the number of reps along with using heavier weights. Be sure that you return these and any other equipment that you use to the original place to be respectful to the other gym visitors. Being considerate and respectful can help you develop a good reputation at the gym and may even lead to new social relationships.