How To Get Into Fitness As An Absolute Beginner
Are you or a friend often trying to get into fitness but don't know where to start, or the hurdle seems so much greater than it needs to be.
If you’re looking to kickstart your fitness habits, I’m going to detail the absolute lowest hanging fruit that will give you the biggest possible bang for your buck.
I have to warn you: these tips will NOT look that impactful. At first glance, they may even fall under the category of “why even bother?”
Here’s why: when it comes to your fitness, small hinges can swing big doors. Since so much of your health and fitness success is about compounding behaviours overtime, we want to resist falling into an all-or-nothing mindset.
Furthermore, the first 20% of your effort will yield disproportionate results. The health and fitness benefits of moving from “doing pretty much nothing” to “doing just a bit” are meaningful. Everything from your energy levels, to your brain function, to your immune system will get a positive kick.
By adopting this slow and steady approach, you’ll get the ball moving in the right direction. And once you’ve got a foundation, it will be all the easier to look for ways to make your habits 1% better.
Tip 1: Spend 30 More Minutes in Bed Each Night
Sleep is one of the cornerstones of your health and fitness. And sadly many of us aren’t consistently getting as much as we need.
Your pro move here is to spend 30 more minutes in bed each night. Usually this means going to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual, as most of us can’t sleep in later.
Additionally, we don’t have absolute control over our sleep. While there are all sorts of usual tips and tricks to improve the quality of your sleep, simply being in bed for 30 more minutes each night will at least help increase your quantity.
I know, I know, it’s hard to shut off Netflix when you’ve got a ruhlly ruhlly good show. I hear you!!
Tip 2: Go for Five
20 Minute Walks Per Week
Yes, this may feel like the single most anticlimactic possible tip. And yet, adding in more non-exercise activity is one of the very best things you can do for your health and fitness.
Actually, this is a great idea even if you’re already pretty dedicated to your fitness. Due to the constraints of modern life, more and more people get virtually no movement outside their dedicated exercise sessions. This has been compounded by the trend of working from home.
I can’t make claims that walking will turn you into a fitness superhero. But remember: small hinges swing big doors. If you’re currently not doing much at all, you will 100% get tangible increases in your health and well being by adding in more walking to your day.
PLUS, you’ll get more sunlight exposure, which also has benefits.
Tip 3: Eat a Big Serving of Veggies with Most Meals
This tip alone could have a serious impact on your fitness, and specifically, your body composition. After all, if you fill up on a big salad or two fist size servings of broccoli, you’ll be less likely to overeat whatever else is in your meal.
There’s a time and place to inte
ntionally reduce certain food choices. But the goal here isn’t the “best possible diet”. The goal is to make progress.
When you’re getting your fitness started, it’s better to add stuff in than try to take stuff away. And since it’s hard to “over-do” veggies, this is a great strategy for those of us with big appetites.
Tip 4: Have a Serving of Protein with Most Meals
Similar to loading up on veggies, ensuring each meal has a solid serving of protein is a great idea.
Protein has a number of benefits; it can help build and maintain muscle, it’s makes you feel fuller for longer, AND your body burns more calories working to digest it than it does for carbs or fats.
Examples of good protein sources include chicken, lean red meat, turkey, pork, eggs, fish, cottage cheese, protein powder, and low-fat dairy. Non-animal sources of protein include beans, legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, and higher protein grains like quinoa.
Tip 5: Add in Two 20 Minute Sessions of Strength Training Per Week
Adding in even a little bit of strength training to your week can do wonders for your fitness. As little as two sessions of 20 minutes per week can do the trick.
In fact, when you’re getting started, less is definitely more. You don’t need much of a stimulus for your body to start to respond. Many well-intentioned people on a fitness drive inadvertently overdo it in their first few weeks. They get burned out and super sore. Or even worse, injured.
Bodyweight training can totally do the trick here.
Tip 6: Make a Gratitude List Eac
Ok, ok, this one may feel unrelated. But follow me on this…
At the end of the day, the reason we want the benefits of being healthy and fit is because of how they’ll make us feel. Even the presumably non-emotional benefits like losing weight or healthier blood are a means to this end.
So yes, “health is the first wealth.” It’s valuable to be healthy and fit as a foundation to everything else you may want out of your life.
AND gratitude practices are one of the most powerful tools to gently retrain your brain to focus on the good things in your life. And it stands to reason, the better you feel about your life, the more likely you are to take action to care for your body, and by extension, your self.
Quite literally, your action step is to start or end each day by making a list of things you’re grateful for.