Make a commitment that lasts! There are many facets to getting in shape. It’s not just about cardio, and it’s not just about lifting the heaviest weight you can. Instead, living a healthy lifestyle requires commitments from multiple areas in your life. In this absolute beginner’s guide to getting in shape, we’ll go over some of the key aspects you should keep in mind.
We’ve made this guide to go over all the basics, from eating the right foods to doing the right exercises. If you’re looking to make a real long-lasting change, this is the perfect place to get started. Commitment starts with these simple steps.
We’ve tried to make this guide as easy to follow as possible. It’s perfect for beginners starting from any point in their lives. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via comments! We’re here to help!
Now, without further ado, let’s get started!
Step 1: Build up your cardiac endurance.
Cardio workouts help keep your heart happy and healthy. Nevertheless, if you’re in poor shape even a little bit of cardio can leave you breathless, which is frustrating when you want to build endurance.
The treadmill, stationary bike, and elliptical are perfect places to start. You can use them to test your current fitness level and go from there, aiming to slowly increase your distance.
If you can comfortably walk half a mile, aim to do a full mile. Then, two miles. Work in some moderate-pace jogging. Finally, we recommend fitting in some HIIT (high-intensity interval training), which has been proven to deliver all the benefits of a cardio workout in a fraction of the time.
Workouts To Do (1-3X per week):
1. HIIT The Treadmill Workout
2. Ya Gotta Tabata on the Treadmill
3. No Running Cardio Workout
Step 2: Increase your muscle mass.
As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass. This loss begins as early as age thirty (yikes!), and in order to battle it we have to actively work to preserve muscle. The most effective way to do this is to make weight lifting a central part of our gym routine.
Additionally, muscle tissue burns more calories than fatty tissue. Increasing muscle means you’ll burn more calories throughout the day, helping you stay leaner. Building muscle is a diet-free way to lose fat!
Aim to use weights that provide a challenge. We suggest starting with dumbbells, which are versatile and easy to use. Choose the heaviest weights with which you can complete all your reps without losing proper form. You should feel your muscles burn for the last 1-2 reps.
Once those final reps aren’t as big of a challenge, you can increase your weights to the next available dumbbell. As you practice, you can also try using barbells, kettlebells, cable machines, and more.
Workouts to Do (2-3X per week):
1. Arms that Slay: Weightlifting Plan for Beginners
2. Legs for Days: Weightlifting Plan for Beginners
3. 4-Minute Weightlifting Boot Camp
Step 3: Keep your muscles loose and flexible.
Weight lifting is great for you, but the downside is that it can make your muscles tight. When your muscles get too tight, your range of motion is cut short. You can feel pain with certain movements, over-stress other muscles and joints, and even severely injure yourself.
To prevent muscular tightness, make stretching part of your regular routine. Devote a minimum of 10 minutes to stretching post-workout.
A great way to keep muscles loose and flexible is to do yoga. Most yoga poses build strength while also elongating the muscle. So incorporating 1-2 yoga workouts per week is a great way to improve strength, balance, and flexibility.
Workouts to Do (daily stretching, plus workouts 1-2X per week):
1. 6 Yoga Poses for Long Lean Legs
2. 8 Yoga Poses for a Strong Core
3. 8 Best Yoga Poses for Runners
Step 4: Up your protein intake and cut down on sugars.
Our final step for getting in shape is to increase your protein intake and cut down on sugars.
Protein is essential for building muscle. This means that even if you’re lifting heavy weights every day, you might not see the results you want if you’re not eating enough protein. Aim to consume about 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. This means if you’re 150 lb. you should eat about 150 grams of protein.
Cutting down on sugars is also necessary for getting in shape. You’ve probably heard that abs are made in the kitchen. Regardless of how often you work out, the most effective way to drop body fat is to clean up your diet. A poor diet can quickly undo a strenuous workout.
You don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle, and you definitely don’t have to give up your favorite foods. Small but long-term changes are more effective. And cutting down on sugar wherever you can is the easiest way to start.
Recipes to Try:
1. 14 High-Protein Entrees to Help You Lose Weight
2. 15 High-Protein Breakfasts
3. 7 High Protein Low Carb Dinners
The most important thing to keep in mind when getting in shape is that changes need to be sustainable. That’s why crash diets don’t work. People can’t live off super low-calorie or restrictive diets for long.
Instead of trying the latest diet fad, focus on the four steps outlined in this guide to getting in shape. We promise that even the smallest change makes a difference! Complete the workouts suggested and check out the clean-eating recipes.
Let us know if you have any questions of feedback in the comments!