The new year is fast approaching, which means that gyms will once again be full of people hoping to “get in better shape” in 2018. But where do you begin? With so much misinformation, counter-information, magic fat burning pills, detoxes, and crazy exercises dominating social media, it’s hard to know who to trust. Luckily for you, I’ve brought together 6 of the top coaches and trainers in the industry to share their #1 fitness tip for beginners.
Start Slow - Ben Boudro (@benboudro)
We've heard it way too often. You attempt to do it all at once. Food tracking, meal prepping, figuring out macro's...When do I workout? How often do I workout? Should I do fasting? When do I stop eating carbs? All of this can lead you to being super overwhelmed, then frustrated then before you know it, you are at that spot where you just say "screw it! I'm done!"
That happens WAY too often in fitness and it doesn't have to be that way.
My biggest suggestion is to choose ONE THING, yes, ONE THING to focus on each day.
When choosing that ONE THING, make it something that by doing it, makes everything else easier or unnecessary. Basically, choose ONE THING that will actually make a difference in your fitness journey.
For the first 2 weeks, make sure that it's something very simple. An example can be: "Do a healthy habit for 5-minutes today." or "sweat today." or "walk the dogs today." It's important that you make it very painless and easy to do when first getting started.
Oh yeah, and don't try to choose 2 or 3 things because it never works. Multi-Tasking is bullshit. Choose one thing and stick to it. Then after 2-weeks, choose something that's just slightly more challenging like: "eat a veggie at every meal" or "drink 1 gallon of water every day."
The important thing here is that YOU choose the habits you want to learn and that YOU write them down every single day.... Oh, wait, your too busy to write this down every day?....Bullshit.
Writing these down every day takes you less than 2-minutes to do and will make a huge impact on your fitness journey.
Trust it. Start slow, choose your ONE THING and hold yourself accountable.
You'll be amazed at what this will lead to over time.
Beginning a journey to a fitter, better you can be scary. What do I eat? What workouts do I do? So many questions.
But the first thing I tell people who are embarking on a fitter lifestyle, “Focus on quality over quantity.”
This can bleed into many areas of their lives but my primary focus is on the quality of movement and not the quantity (reps, weight, etc.). Focusing on quality of exercise will lead to less injury and much bigger gains in the long run. An injured body is an idle body and can set you further from your goals than before you started.
Set Process Goals - Cory Carpenter (@corcarpfit)
Process goals are a great way to build positive momentum and instill daily habits that will turn into a lifestyle with no end in sight.
So, what is a process goal?
A process goal is simply a goal that focuses on the process of reaching the ultimate product.
Example: My product goal is to lose 50 lbs. So, I will set numerous process goals to get me there. I will lift weights 3 days per week. I will walk or jog 3 days per week. I will eat at least 3 healthy meals each day. I will drink no less than 1 gallon of water each day. There is no limit to the amount of process goals you can set, but I recommend starting with just a few and then slowly adding more in as to not overwhelm yourself.
A product goal can take a long time; it can be discouraging and really test your patience. But, if you pick 3 things (exercise, eat, drink) and complete them each day, the ultimate goal of losing the weight will actually take care of itself. The daily small victories will continuously build positive momentum; and instill healthy habits (processes) that will stay with you long after you’ve lost all the weight.
Don’t Take On Too Much At Once - John Papp (@johnpappfitness)
My number one tip for anyone just starting out on their fitness journey is to not take on to many changes at one time.
Don't try to eat strict keto, workout five days a week, do 20 minutes of daily mobility, sleep 8 hours a day, and drink a gallon of water if you haven't been doing any of those things. I usually recommend to my clients to pick 1-3 habits, depending on the specifics and their circumstances, to focus on at one time.
For example, if we are starting from the ground floor I want them to focus on working out during their scheduled sessions with me and picking one healthy food to add to their diet. Once they get that down we add another healthy food in place of something not so healthy and maybe we start to add in a short walk two days a week. We repeat this process until their lifestyle and nutrition are completely transformed.
Taking on too many things at once will be overwhelming and chances are you won't stick with it and reach your goals.
Earn, Learn, Achieve - Justin Ochoa (@justin_m_ochoa)
This piece of advice is the best general tip I can give anyone, in any industry. It’s not fitness specific, but it’s massively important to your success in this industry.
My biggest tip for a young professional is to realize these three things:
You are owed absolutely NOTHING. Drop any sense of entitlement. Earn it.
You know absolutely NOTHING. You may think you know it all, but a true professional is always learning. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know much at all.
There is absolutely NOTHING stopping you. If you want something, you can go get it. It doesn’t matter what obstacles you come across, and you will come across them. If you can breathe, you can win. Let nothing stop you.
Those are the three things that I am grateful to have instilled in me by my parents at a young age. These attitude checks will keep you on a straight path on your journey. Lock in, stay focused and go reach every goal you set.
My #1 tip for beginners is as straight-forward as it gets, however that does not mean it is easy.
When starting your fitness journey, or any journey for that matter, you need to realize first and foremost that everyone starts at different points. You need to be content with that. If you wait for the right moment, the right opportunity, you will never take that leap. You will eventually look back and regret not jumping into the fire and that is the scariest thing, but it is completely controllable.
I wish I would have had someone write this article for me back in 2008. But I sit here now in 2017 writing this article, and write it for someone that is waiting. Waiting to reach out to their mentor, waiting to take an internship to learn about fitness, waiting to study for their certification exam, waiting to become their best self. I urge you reading this to stop waiting.
As scary or as uncomfortable of the thought is that you are putting off, I guarantee the feeling of regret you will have in 10 years of not going all in on your passion will be worse. Take it from someone who has made many mistakes. Stop reading this now and send that email, make that phone call, visit that gym, learn from your mentor, do whatever it is that you said you weren’t ready for and prosper. I promise you will not regret it.
Big Rocks - Me
What, you didn't think I was going to get in on this too?!
My biggest piece of advice for anyone beginning their fitness journey is to lift the big rocks.
Focus on the things that really matter. The things that have stood the test of time and undeniably work.
Too often, people get tripped up on the little pebbles. "Should I try going keto? What about vegan? What's better, dumbbells or kettlebells? Morning or night workouts?"
It's questions like these that become overwhelming in a hurry, and ultimately lead to failure.
Instead, focus 99% of your attention on these 3 big rocks:
- Eat real food. Meat, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts, and earth-grown starches.
- Move your body. Bodybuilding, Crossfit, running, swimming, hiking...it doesn't matter.
- Enjoy it. Eat food that you like. Do workouts that you like. It's the only way it will ever be sustainable.