Are you one of the millions of Americans vowing to get in shape this year? If so, good for you! However, before you jump into a new fitness routine, there are a few things you need to know to help you reach your goal.
Andrea Weber, one of our Sports Medicine supervisors, dishes out these tips for beginning a new fitness routine in 2013:
- Start slow. Too often, people will start their exercise programs with long, intense exercise and then experience soreness or injuries right away, Andrea says. Make small goals, such as doing a routine for 20-30 minutes, and gradually work your way up.
- Consider working with a personal trainer. If you’re not familiar with fitness routines, find someone who is. Many gyms offer sessions with certified personal trainers who can help develop an exercise program that’s right for you.
- Create a sustainable habit. As Andrea said, people too often try to go as hard and as fast as they can, but that’s impossible to keep up. Instead, choose exercises that are challenging-- but not impossible-- and easy to fit into your daily routine. If you can’t hit the gym for a sixty-minute sweat session on a regular basis, figure out what you can do and commit yourself to that.
- Avoid overuse injuries by mixing it up. Don’t stick to just one machine or one exercise, Andrea says. If you’re focusing on cardio, alternate between the treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc. This allows you to work various muscle groups and gives your joints a break, which can help prevent overuse injuries.
- Focus on nutrition. As your fitness routine picks up, be sure you’re fueling your body with the right foods to help you get through. It’s important to consume carbohydrates, which act as your primary energy source during a workout. In addition, be sure to get enough lean proteins, Andrea says. When you work out, you break down muscle and protein helps to rebuild that muscle and make it stronger. Here is an easy way to determine how much protein you need:
- Sedentary adults: Multiple your body weight by .4
- Active adults: Multiple your body weight by .5
- Adult that is lifting to increase muscle mass: Multiply your body weight by .6 to .9