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New to the gym this January? 10 fitness tips for beginners

Have you embarked on New Year’s health kick? Let us help you on your way.

Make sure you have a training plan.
Make sure you have a training plan.
Image: Shutterstock/luckyraccoon

1. You can never out-train a bad diet

STARTING A NEW training regime can be hard work, requiring a lot of time and effort. However when it comes to changes in body composition, a larger component of change is diet.

Analysing a person’s diet is the first port of call when designing a sustainable plan to achieve a body composition change. First ensuring adequate protein, fat and carbohydrate intake for health and then giving an appropriate calorie deficit is mandatory when it comes to fat loss. Without this, a fat loss result is impossible.

2. Train for the goal you want

Very often beginner trainees can resort to what they know when it comes to their fitness routine. An overused cliché tells us the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome.

Often this can be ignored when we return to the same programme over and over. If fat loss and body composition changes are your goal, resistance training using compound lifts like squat, deadlift, bench press or sprint intervals and HIIT (high intensity interval training) will help you.

If you’re looking to run a distance race then of course cardio training will take up a large portion of training, combined with a strength programme to ensure balance and prevent injury.

Run for running. Lifting or high intensity training for fat loss.

3. Have a plan

Do yourself a favour, have a S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed) plan. Don’t set yourself up to fail! Before you start exercising always have a plan.

We can’t leave our exercise selection up to the whim of our mood or whatever looks good. One of the worst mistakes we can make is embarking on a programme we do not understand or cannot achieve.

This often results in failed attempts that were either too difficult to be sustainable or something our current fitness or movement abilities made impossible to follow.

4. Keep going

If at first you don’t succeed…..try doing what the plan said in the first place.

We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to being strict with ourselves. Rewarding our “good behaviour” whether in our programming or diet with poor adherence to what we have planned for will only balance the scale to mediocrity, dulling what could be a potentially large step towards a goal.

5. Make the most of your time

Time is often the big limiting factor for those wishing to embark on a new fitness regime, but it doesn’t have to be. By choosing exercises that give you more bang for your buck will insure those fitness goals are achievable. Choosing multi-joint exercises such as squat, deadlift, bench press, HIIT (high intensity interval training) or sprint intervals. All of the above ensure a high rate of work during a short period of time.

6. Stay motivated with mini goals

These goals are often the building blocks to something life changing. Keep these goals small enough to be achieved regularly always moving closer and closer to that ultimate big goal. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

7. Don’t use excuses

Benjamin Franklin said “never put off until tomorrow, what you can do today”.

Even with the grandest intension we can often fall victim to unexpected complications in our work schedule, social life, relationships or family life.

If our routine is heavily loaded towards exercise later in the week where most of our socialising or family time is, it’s easy to see why we may be setting ourselves up to fail.

By planning our exercise around the start of the week we give ourselves a better chance of fitting in all of the sessions planned that week. Try accomplish the most time consuming parts of your programme early in the week, giving yourself more manoeuvring room by late week to finish strong.

8. Find a training partner

Training with a friend can yield several benefits, the most obvious of which is motivation.

I refer to the motivation to start and remain consistent to the programme. It can also provide added accountability by having another person to answer to when we may have otherwise allowed ourselves to skip out on a training session.

By having a friend to share and celebrate your success with it will provide encouragement to continue on your road to success and beyond.

9. Have a clear picture

What are you doing this for? And I mean REALLY why? When it comes to changing your lifestyle to achieve your new goal is there enough “why” to keep you going?

There are many quotes one can ream off, “change is difficult” or “if it was easy everyone would do it”, nevertheless individuals who have the foresight to question why they are really undertaking a new fitness regime have one clear advantage.

A clear picture of why they are doing something at the forefront of their mind and an exact vision of where they want to go is a constant source of inspiration, motivation and of course reward.

10. Be aware of the scales

Be aware of the biggest liar in the fitness industry…. the scale!

More often than not, the progress expert called weighing scales can do major damage and derail a new trainees best efforts if it shows little or no movement. We must keep in mind that the scale only reads weight. Not fat.

During initial weeks of training it is not unusual for trainees to gain valuable metabolic booting muscle to help burn fat. Then time and again a scale is used to monitor progress when we have significantly better information at our disposal…. pictures.

Why settle for digits when a picture tells a thousand words. Let your eyes, clothes and mood show you what progress you’ve made before consulting the scale.

Clint Kelly is a personal trainer with SIX3NINE Personal Training.

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