Fitness 101

Below is a post that I actually wrote for my academic class blog, Discover Your Niche, last semester. 

The following is a list of my Fitness 101 tips, How to Form a Workout Routine and Actually Enjoy it:

1. You must realize that you don’t have to do it. Exercise is not something you HAVE to do. It is a choice that you make, not something you are forced into. If you are in the mindset that you HAVE to exercise, you won’t want to. Think about when you were a teenager (or an adult for that matter). When your mom told you that you HAD to do something, what did you do? The opposite. Instead of thinking of exercise as a requirement, think of it as something nice you can do for your body. And your body deserves it! Your body allows you to move from place to place. Your body lets you play with your kids and walk your dog. It does all this for you, so wouldn’t it be nice for you to return the favor?

2. Exercise doesn’t have to be running and going to the gym. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Walking is, in my opinion, one of the best types of exercise there is! It’s a great way to build up a cardio base, and it’s not as easy as you may think. Start by walking a mile at a brisk pace. As you improve, increase your speed and your distance. To add some upper body strength to your walking work out, carry 3-5lb weights. Use these to build strength as you pump your arms. When you feel comfortable, add in some bicep curls, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, etc. Trust me, you will torch some calories “power walking” like this! Walking is also great because it can be a social activity. Get your best friend or neighbor in on your walking routine…it will be more fun, and you can challenge each other!

Other than walking, any type of activity can count as exercise. Swimming, tennis, basketball, dancing…as long as you get your heart rate up, it counts! The best type of exercise is exercise that you’ll do!

3. When at the gym, step away from the elliptical! Unless you are motivated enough to create yourself an exciting elliptical based interval workout and actually do it, the elliptical is BORING! The longest amount of time I can ever spend on one is 20 minutes, and it’s awful! When at the gym, instead of treadmilling and ellipticalling like a hamster on a wheel, try a group fitness class! Spinning is a great way to start. I know what you may be thinking, spinning is for crazy people. Or maybe you went once and vowed never to go back because your butt hurt so bad the next day that sitting in a chair was hard work. Well, for the record, every one’s butt hurts after the first time. Probably a little after the second and third time, too. But after that, it gets better, I promise. The good thing about Spinning is that no matter what the instructor tells you to do, you have control of your class. You are in charge because you control your resistance and your speed. If you can’t keep up with the class, don’t. Take it at your own pace and work to your level.

Other fun classes to try are Boot Camp, Zumba, Body Pump, Hardbodies, Yoga, and there are even some gyms that have Cardio Strip Tease classes! Now, don’t be intimidated by the names, “Boot Camp” or “Hardbodies.” These classes usually just combine some cardio (such as calisthenics or jump rope) with strength training (using weights, resistance bands, or body weight). And don’t be afraid to go to one of these classes if you are a beginner. Instructors are trained to cater their classes to all fitness levels, so it is their jobs to make modifications.

4. You do not need a gym membership in order to workout. In fact, you can build yourself an adequate home gym for well under $100 (which is the equivalent to 2-4 month of a gym membership, depending on where you go). To build yourself a home gym, simply head to Target, Walmart, or Play it Again Sports. Buy yourself a Stability Ball for 20-25 dollars or less. Buy some resistance bands for 3-8 dollars each. Buy three sets of weights, a base set, a lighter set and a heavier set. For example, if you know you do your bicep curls with 8 lbs weights, buy an 8 lb set, a 5 lb set, and a 10 lb set. Use the 5’s for your power walking, the 8’s for your reps, and the 10’s to push yourself and increase strength. Weights usually cost around $1 per pound or less. Buy a jump rope for 5 dollars. A jump rope is the best piece of cardio equipment you will ever buy, and it will kick your butt! If you feel inclined, but a couple of workout videos. I love Jillian Michaels’ videos, especially the 30 day Shred. You can probably find most of them on YouTube though. And last but not least, go outside! The great outdoors is free! Just be careful, especially during the summer, to do outdoor workouts in the early morning or late evening.

5. Last but not least, don’t burn yourself out! The biggest problem that I see with people starting new exercise routines is going all out for a week, and then burning out and quiting. Remember that your body has limits, and it will tell you when you’ve reached them. There is a difference between pushing yourself through a good, sweaty workout and killing yourself. The best way to go about it is to ease yourself into your new regimen. Start slow, and increase your length and intensity gradually. If you ease in to it, you are more likely to be successful. The same way that “dieting” doesn’t work, fad exercising doesn’t work either. You have to make a lifestyle change and include exercise into your daily routine. Even though it’s challenging at first, exercise can become something you actually look forward to!


One Response to “Fitness 101”

  1. Staci Says:

    Your blog is great!! Did you have to make this for a class? Love your tips and your pics too they are adorable. I think you should mention pilates classes ::coughcough:: haha 🙂 awesome job!

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