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Workout Tips for Beginners

For many, the thought of walking into a gym makes them sweat, and not in a “feel the burn” kind of way. Gym-timidation is real, folks. The space is uncomfortably open, full of strangers and everyone already seems to know what they’re doing. What do most of these machines even do? Where do you even start? 

If you've ever felt this way, we’ve got a few tips that will help ease your anxiety and get you moving! 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

The first person you’ll want to talk to before starting a new exercise regime is your doctor. It's important to assess your overall health to get a good understanding of what your body can and can't do. Your doctor may also be able to recommend an exercise regime to suit your specific needs

The second person you may want to talk to is a personal trainer. “Everyone’s bodies are very different,” says trainer and gymnast Taranee Ponjani. “Everyone’s needs are very different, and everyone’s history with their body and their relationship with movement is different. It’s nice to work one on one because I can tailor a program to those needs.” Taranee works with a broad range of clients and has found that an individualized approach helps accelerate her clients progress. “You can sit down with your client and really go over the knitty-gritty stuff in detail.”

Even seeing a trainer once or twice per month can set you up for success in your fitness journey!

Set your intention

It’s easy to fall into the trap of “I need to start working out so I can look like *insert name of instagram influencer*” But fitness should be about how it makes you feel vs. how it makes you look. Taking words like “need” and “should” out of your vocabulary is a good place to start.  Replace “I need/I should” with “I want”. “I need to work out” implies an obligation, whereas “I want to workout” implies intention. 

Here's some examples of intentions that are outside the scope for weight loss/aesthetics 

“I want to work out because it makes me feel good.”

“I want to work out because it will make me stronger.”

“I want to work out because it will make me feel more confident”

“I want to work out because I have a lot of excess energy I need to get rid of today”

“I want to work out because  exercise is a great Stress Management tool.”

“I want to work out because it's fun.”

Once your intention is set, it’s time to find a form of exercise that you love. Don’t force yourself to run on the treadmill if you hate running on the treadmill! A workout routine that you love is much easier to stick to. If going to the gym isn’t your thing, try one of these:

  • Water aerobics
  • Spinning
  • Aerial silk yoga
  • Pilates
  • Boxing
  • Jiu Jitsu
  • High intensity interval training
  • Barre
  • Swimming

Grab a friend

Sweating your butt off is way more bearable when you're with a friend. It could be someone with the same level of experience as you or maybe somebody with more experience that can help you in your journey. Once you’ve found your friend, it's time to plan! Set a time, date and place for your workouts and stick to it. Making plans with another person makes them slightly harder to break. Having a workout buddy can ease anxieties and help create a non-judgmental and supportive atmosphere for your workout.

Start slow

Telling yourself you’re going to start working out 5 days a week is a great way to set yourself up for disappointment. Going from 0 to 100 is only going to result in burnout or injury. Not that you can’t eventually get there, but you may find that starting with one sweat-sesh per week is a bit more sustainable. Your fitness routine should fit your lifestyle, not the other way around. 

“Dedicate a portion of your practice to setting foundations.” Says Taranee. “With my background in gymnastics, we always had a component of our practice dedicated to setting that foundation before we got into the big flips.” Proper form is crucial for beginners. Nothing stops your fitness progress faster than a muscle or joint injury!

Remember that progress takes time

It's about the journey not the destination. Yes, that is a totally overused, maybe cliche saying, but it's true! There will be setbacks. There will be days you won’t want to workout, And that's okay! Because life happens. Setting a new routine of any kind is difficult and we have to remember that progress is not linear. Most importantly, do not compare yourself to others. We’re all on our own unique journey. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.



Personal Trainer Taranee Ponjani, Toronto, ON.