Deciding to begin a fitness journey or a new sport can be very exciting. You feel motivated, you’ve watched videos on YouTube, followed a few fitness influencers, joined a gym or a club and maybe even bought a programme – all you want to do now is jump straight into it!
But hold on, starting a new sport, especially if you haven’t been active in a while, can have a big impact on your body and it’s important to take it step by step in order to avoid injury or discouragement.
Seeing professional athletes, fitness influencers, or even someone else’s before and after pictures can often make us want to get to their level right away.
You might decide to go from never working out to working out 6 times a week or sign up for a higher-level class instead of the beginner level.
Though being ambitious with your journey is great, fitness progress can take a lot of time and with the right preparation and motivation, you will get there eventually!
Here’s my top tips to help you plan your fitness journey so you can train to the best of your ability without causing your body too much unnecessary stress.
Don’t follow all the advice you hear
From fitness influencers to friends and family, people can have very different opinions over how you should train.
Whether it’s doing more cardio and avoiding weights, or only doing sports or saying how often and how intensely you should train, make sure to take others’ suggestions with a pinch of salt.
One person’s fitness journey will be completely different to yours and finding what works best for you is most important in order to ensure you stay consistent and motivated.
If you are having doubts in the gym, seek help from a qualified professional such as a PT and explain your goals or your issues, they will be able to give you some advice tailored to you.
Find a level suited to you and don’t worry about trying to be the best
Beginning your journey at an appropriate level is one of the most important things you can do. Start out with a beginner level and test out how you feel.
If it seems too easy for you and if you feel you could push yourself more, maybe try the next level up – it’s better to start from the bottom and work your way up than to start at a level that’s too hard for you and risk injury or discouragement.
If you are worried about preparation, maybe focus the first few weeks of your journey on doing low-intensity exercises one or two times a week, and slowly build up until you feel comfortable with what you are doing. If you are starting a new sport, try to master the basics first before jumping into anything more complicated!
Rest, rest, rest!
Rest days are just as important as training days! Not only does your body need time to recover in order to perform at its best, but rest days are also essential in order to help reduce the risk of injury.
If you’re just starting out, try to get at least 2 rest days a week, eat the same as you would on a training day and don’t worry about being active.
If you are feeling tight, some light stretches could help relax your muscles. You could also apply some Nelsons arnicare cream on bruises you might have.
It contains Arnica Montana, traditionally used for the symptomatic relief of bruises. Top tip: if you are working on a training programme that has varying levels of intensity, try placing your most intense days after your rest days!
Make it fun!
While seeing progress is always a great feeling, if you are not enjoying your training, you could find yourself losing motivation down the line. One of the most important aspects of sports and fitness is making sure you are enjoying it and are feeling great.
If you’ve tried out football and don’t like it, maybe try tennis. If you’re getting a bit bored of running on a treadmill, try some aerobic dance classes such as Zumba.
There are so many different physical activities you can explore in order to find what makes you feel amazing!