College is the perfect time to reinvent yourself, and for many people, that means kick-starting a more active lifestyle. Between walking to and from classes and the convenience of on-campus exercise facilities, it’s incredibly easy to get in shape. However, despite the extreme convenience, many people find themselves daunted at the task of going to the gym for the first time. The following exercise tips for first-timers will help quash any exercise anxieties so you can get into the best shape of your life.
Establish realistic goals
One of the best exercise tips for first-timers is to set realistic and attainable goals. Many people begin their fitness journey with only a vague goal of getting in shape. Because this is such an ambiguous goal, however, it can be very easy to get lost along the way, and many people find themselves calling it quits after just a few months. Establishing concrete, realistic goals will help keep you on track with your exercises and will provide you with more attainable benchmarks along the way. Consider setting SMART goals to help you establish more attainable targets for your fitness journey. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Instead of simply resolving to get in shape, for instance, set your sights on a more attainable goal such as running a 5k or losing a specific amount of weight. These SMART goals will help you tailor your workouts more closely to your individual goals and you will see more visible results.
Listen to your body
One of the most dangerous pitfalls for many first-time fitness fanatics is going too fast, too soon. Jumping headfirst into your workout may seem like the best way to establish a routine but choosing exercises that are too far outside your skillset can increase the potential for burnout and injury. Instead, start small and work your way up to more strenuous exercises, taking special care to listen to your body the entire time. If you notice pain or feel extremely short of breath during your workout it may be a sign that you need to scale down your exercises a bit. Try doing fewer reps, choosing lighter weights, or establishing a rest day if necessary.
Find what works for you
Everyone’s fitness routine is different—what works for one person may work for you. For this reason, you must find a workout that aligns with your specific goals and abilities. Choose exercises that are well within your skillset and adapt them to suit your specific needs if necessary. Many exercise machines are very versatile, and you can typically adjust them to suit your skillset. Treadmills are a great piece of equipment for fitness first-timers, as they allow you to steadily increase your stamina and skills over time. Walking on a treadmill at an incline can be equally as valuable an exercise as running or jogging and is a good warm-up exercise for first-timers. Be sure not to overcommit and set your pace too fast, as this can increase the likelihood of injury. Set a treadmill pace that allows you to maintain a heightened heart rate without putting your health and safety at risk. Everyone’s pace will be different, so don’t feel intimidated by other gym-goers who may be running at a faster pace or steeper incline. With time and dedication, you’ll be able to achieve the same pace as those more experienced gym-goers.