When you start a new fitness program, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you don’t structure it correctly. But how do you know where to begin or what’s the most important? Well, that’ll partly depend on your specific goals, needs, and limitations.
Here you will find six fitness fundamentals that are sure to allow you to achieve your fitness goals. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned athlete returning to training, these basics of fitness will help you get where you want to be.
1. Start Today
Reasons to engage in fitness: you want to, or you need to.
You never want to choose fitness when you have to due to disease, immobility, or other health risks. So start today because it’s never too late to be fit.
You must set manageable goals. For example, you may have to start with small milestones and work your way up to a better and fitter version of yourself.
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t guarantee a long life; however, a healthy lifestyle can be the difference between living a pain-free life versus a life dominated by having to take pills incessantly for survival.
2. Make Sure Your Goals Are Realistic
Many goals have died because of impractical ambition. Don’t set yourself up for failure because you are sure to derail all of your best intentions.
Begin by determining how much time you actually have to achieve your goal. This is the time to be brutally honest with yourself. The next step is to set your realistic goals within your time window.
No matter what your goal is, whether it’s to lose weight, eat healthier, or simply be more active, you must start with small achievable steps. As you begin to improve, you can increase your workout time, intensity, distance. Or, if it’s dietary, you can gradually change or decrease your caloric intake to achieve the goals of your specific diet.
You should have many small goals and mid-term milestones on your way to your ultimate goal.
Let’s say your ultimate goal is to complete a marathon. However, you’re relatively new to running. Well, your first goal should be to take a run around the block. The next goal would be to make it up to two miles in three weeks.
Smaller goals provide you with victories and much-needed motivation on your way to your ultimate goal.
3. Eat Clean, Nutrient Dense Foods
Of all the fitness fundamentals, this is probably one of the most overlooked or misunderstood.
It is common for people to complicate health and fitness needlessly. Simply put, 90 percent of your diet should consist of whole foods such as meats, starches, veggies, nuts/seeds, fruit, etc. The other ten percent allows you the freedom to have a few bad food choices along the way.
Having adequate food has everything to do with how well you recover from strength training sessions. For starters, you must eat a sufficient amount of protein. On the other hand, your carbohydrates should be based on the intensity and volume of your training.
Stay on top of your healthy fats because they are essential for optimal hormone function. Fats nor carbs will make you fat; they both are essential for a balanced and healthy diet.
It’s only when you eat these in excess without doing any exercise that you can begin to gain unwanted weight. For elite athletes, these macros are critical and must get properly regulated to maximize performance.
If you can’t see yourself sustaining a particular eating regimen, then you are setting yourself up to fail. There’s no such thing as a universal nutritional plan. You must find what works for your body in particular. You must understand your workout regimen, caloric deficit, and the clean foods you need to eat to fuel your body.
4. Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep
It’s crucial to ensure that you’re sleeping enough when you’re trying to get maximum gains from your workout. Anything lower than seven to nine hours of sleep means you’re missing out on your optimal performance.
During our deep REM sleep, our minds and bodies get the chance to grow and recover from the stress they endured during the day. This time is when our muscles heal and grow as well. Consider sleep to be a sort of performance-enhancing drug that you get for free.
5. Create a Workout Schedule
There are several factors that you need to determine before you start exercising. How often will you work out? How long will your sessions be? What is your intensity going to be throughout the workout? Which exercises are you going to do?
All of these questions are essential to consider before you start. The answers to these questions will help to frame your goals. Your regimen should be appropriate for your current fitness level, health, age, interests, and skills.
For example, a beginner would not follow the same exercise program as an athlete. They not only have different needs but different capabilities.
You should. Begin each workout by warming up, and you should finish by cooling down. Take a day of rest between your workout sessions, more if necessary, if you’re doing high-intensity programs.
Here are a few examples of what to include in your routine:
Five to ten minutes of a cardio exercise to get your blood flowing and your body loose. This could be jogging slowly, marching in place, or high knees.
Do no less than two 20-minute workouts each week that contain exercises for all of your major muscle groups. If possible, you should engage in weight training to get stronger and increase joint health.
At least three times a week, try to include a 30-minute workout session that requires dictates, calisthenics, pullups, situps, and so on.
Two to three times per week, you should engage in twenty minutes of continuous aerobic activity. That could be swimming, jogging, power walking, cycling, and other activities that cause your heart rate to rise.
Dedicate ten minutes per day to stretching slowly. You can do this as part of your warm-up or cool down.
You only need about five to ten minutes to start calming your body down after the workout. Do light exercise like stretching or walking slowly.
6. Pick the Right Exercises for Your Current Capabilities
Remember that your fitness limitations don’t have to hold you back from working out, but you have to keep them in mind to avoid further injuries.
If you have backaches or arthritis, for example, there are specific exercises that you must stay away from. It’s best to see your primary care physician for an assessment. They should be able to tell you the exercises that will benefit you and possibly help alleviate pain.
There are many things that one could point to as the basics of fitness. These six factors are some of the most common necessities that one can build upon as they become more advanced during their fitness journey.
Above all, you must stay disciplined and dedicated to living a healthy and active lifestyle, regardless of the reason you decided to get fit. Don’t overwork yourself, but always push yourself to be better than the day before. That’s how you evolve and get stronger not only physically but mentally as well!