5 things you can start doing today to improve your fitness

At Limitless Fitness, we help people at all levels of fitness enjoy their lives more fully through physical fitness, but we have a real heart for the beginners, because people new to fitness often experience the greatest transformations. Unfortunately, it’s also often the beginners who are reluctant to start, simply because they ARE beginners.  There are three main reasons why beginners don’t sign up for classes with us (or other gyms):

  1. They don’t believe that regularly attending fitness classes will change the way they look and feel and/or that the change will be worth the effort.
  2. They are worried that they will be judged by the other people in the class for the way they look or their level of fitness.
  3. They are concerned that they are too unfit to keep up in class.

1) Your Beliefs

Although we try our best to help people in the first category, this one is more of an inside job. Our beliefs determine our reality and if you don’t believe you will benefit from exercise, there’s very little chance of our convincing you otherwise. Sadly, it sometimes takes a significant negative health event for people to even consider giving exercise and healthy eating a chance. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that for most of you. The psychology behind it has to do with self-concept and self-efficacy, and the good news is that often we can change our beliefs of what we can do by watching others with whom we identify. That’s one reason why testimonials and videos are so effective. If someone similar to you is able to achieve something, it can change your ideas of what you can do

2) Being judged

We can totally relate to people in the second category as well, having been to gyms in the past where snarky or judgmental people pranced around freely, asking with their perfectly groomed eyebrows how you DARED encroach on their sacred ground. If you feel like you’re being judged, then one of two things is happening. The first is that you are. If that’s the case, then shame on the judgers! You can either accept it and ignore them or find a place where there are less jerks. The other possibility is that your filter is damaged, and you’re perceiving incorrectly. This can happen if you’ve been traumatized in the past. The solution is the same (except if it’s you, changing environments won’t help). But rest assured there are wonderful, supportive exercise environments out there, and you’ll know it once you’ve found it.

3) Concern about your level of fitness

That leaves the final concern; that you’re too unfit to keep up in class. This is definitely something you should talk to your trainer about prior to starting a class. We like to meet with people in person if they tell us they’re unsure about their ability to keep up. A good trainer will be able to give you an honest assessment about your range of motion, mobility, and fitness level and advise you on whether you’ll be able to join a class or if personal training is needed first. We provide modifications for beginners on all our classes, but we have had people who had never exercised before, were significantly overweight, or had severe limitations that would have struggled even with the modifications.

Getting Gym-Ready

If you are ready to commit to your fitness but want to do some work on your own before attempting a class, there are some things you can start doing today to start getting gym ready. Of course, if you have any health issues or concerns, you will want a doctor to approve anything you start doing. Our beginner routine is meant to get your body used to moving and to start developing some muscle, which will help prevent injuries, and start you burning calories more effectively. For more comprehensive workouts, consider personal training or virtual training  – where you receive customized workouts, meal plans, and support, but this routine can be done to effectively increase your fitness until you feel comfortable to join a class of your liking.

Below is a week’s worth of workouts that you can do on your own with no equipment other than some dumbbells, or hand weights. If you’re really new, you can just do the movements without weights, adding weights in as you quickly grow stronger. Feel free to print out this program, and give it a try for a few weeks. As your body gets used to the exercises, make sure to add intensity by adding weights. Soon, you’ll be ready to add some variety. You might be ready for the gym, or exercise classes, or maybe more at home workouts. For more virtual workouts, click here to learn more about our online training program, where you can receive workouts like this every week, with one-on-one coaching and support.

Getting Gym Ready Weekly Workout

Day 1 – Cardio

The idea in your initial cardio days is just to get moving. Depending on your initial level of fitness, 15 minutes might be all you’re capable of. Start there, but try to increase your time to 30 and then 45 minutes. Effective cardiovascular exercise should be challenging but not painful. You should be able to talk, but not sing, for example. Here are some basic things you can do to improve your cardio health. The stronger and more fit you get, the greater intensity.

Walking, walking quickly, jogging, jump rope, bicycling, stationary bike, rowing, elliptical machine, treadmill, stair stepper, calisthenics

Day 2 – Strength training Upper Body

Yes, you need to strength train. No, you won’t bulk up. If you’re over 40 this is even more important, as it will keep your bones healthy and hormones regulated. You can begin by performing simple sets of 20 at a moderate weight, hitting the major muscle groups. You can begin to add weight and build more muscle after this gets easy, but to start with two to three sets of 20 is a good start. For example:

Chest press, Dumbbell Rows, High Pulls, Biceps curls, Triceps Kickbacks

Day 3 – Cardio

Day 4 – Strength Training Lower Body

Your lower body muscles are big and initially you may feel you get a good workout with just body weight. All of these will be intensified by adding weight. Make sure to use proper form. Again, start with two to three sets of 20 exercises each.

Squats, Straight Leg Dead Lifts, Calf Raises, Side Lunge, Reverse Lunge,Duck Squats

Day 5 – Cardio

You can either take two days off or add in an abs and core workout on day 6. If you choose to take 2 days off, substitute abs and core for one of your workouts the next week, as a strong core is critical to your health and fitness.

Abs and Core

Plank: 30 sec, then 1 minute…get to 2 minutes, Situps, Plank Hip Drop, V-Up, Hand Walkouts

If you want to try this workout at home, click here for the printouts of each workout, with space to track your progress. We’ve created this workout If you do these workouts at the level of intensity you’re comfortable with, and increase your intensity as you feel stronger, you will be amazed at how quickly your fitness will improve. Before you know it, you’ll be at the front of  a class and looking and feeling younger, healthier and happier!

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