8 Do's and Don'ts for Fitness Newbies

Are you ready to make a change in your life and start a workout routine? 

Fitness newbies tend to make mistakes when they begin exercising regularly. To avoid some potential problems, follow these basic tips as you get accustomed to the gym.

DO: Determine Your Readiness for Exercise

There are two elements you should consider before starting an exercise program. The first is your physical readiness. If it has been awhile since you've engaged in physical activity, the only way to determine if you're ready is through a medical exam. Tell your doctor you want to begin a fitness program and you want to make sure you are healthy enough to start.

The second consideration is your mental readiness. Consider how likely you are to stick with an exercise program once you begin. Research has identified several factors that are related to long-term success, such as past exercise experience, high self-confidence, positive thinking, an awareness of the positive health benefits of exercise, support from family and friends, and convenience. The more of these factors you have in your favor, the more likely you are to have success with your fitness program.

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DON'T: Set Unrealistic Expectations

Too many newbies have grand expectations when it comes to their hopeful exercise regimen. A more realistic approach is to prepare for setbacks. No matter how successful you are with your fitness program, you will experience difficult times. 

There will be missed workouts, poor eating days and plateaus where you just can't seem to improve. Don't worry about it. Setbacks are inevitable, so recognize they will happen and don't get down on yourself. Just focus on getting back on schedule as soon as you can.

DO: Select Exercises You Enjoy

Maintaining a long-term exercise program is correlated with actually enjoying the program. Make sure you choose activities you like. Remember, you have a range of activities to choose from, including walking, cycling, running, weightlifting, rollerblading, dancing, golf, handball, tennis, racquetball, basketball and more.

DON'T: Try to Lose Weight Quickly

Perhaps the biggest mistake newbies make when it comes to health and fitness is trying to lose weight too quickly. Trying to lose more than 1 pound a week can be dangerous. The best way to avoid this problem is to think about weight loss on a monthly, not weekly, basis. For example, set a weight loss goal of three pounds a month. This may not sound like much, but it adds up to 36 pounds a year.

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About the Author

Tyrone Holmes

Tyrone A. Holmes, Ed.D, CPT, is a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and a Level 1 cycling coach through USA Cycling. He provides Cycle-Max Coaching for cyclists and multisport athletes who want to improve their performance on the bike and Healthy Life Coaching for individuals who want to lose weight and develop healthier lifestyles. His latest book is The Business of Training and Coaching. Visit his website at www.holmesfitness.com and his Fitness Corner blog at www.doctorholmes.wordpress.com.

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