The first step is always the hardest. Fact.
Whether it's joining your first gym, rocking up for your first group fitness class, or even dusting off your old runners and smashing a run for the first time in yonks, it's seriously intimidating stuff. Especially as dudes, even the idea of this isn't fun at all.
There's nothing worse than sizing yourself up against the other guys in the gym, worrying you're not going to make it through the boot camp class or even overcoming the mental barrier of not being able to run as fast, as far, or for as long as you used to. But do you know what everyone has in common? We were all beginners once! We're not going to lie. It isn't easy. But do you know what it is? Humbling and rewarding.
Anything in life worth having takes work, and fitness is one of the best examples. Here's 5 tips to help you take the first step on your fitness journey.
1. Start Small
If it's been a few years since your last gym session, or you haven't done any cardio since footy in high school, it's probably not the wisest thing to jump straight into your buddy's gruelling power-lifting program.
Okay - it's definitely not the wisest thing.
The human body is a fickle thing, and while it adapts well to change, these changes need to be introduced gradually and sustainably. Thinking about joining the gym for the first time? Start with a 30 minute walk every day. Looking at getting started with resistance training? Get into the routine of doing some push ups, squats and sit ups at home for a week beforehand. Take everything as it comes, keep moving forward and ease your body into training. It'll thank you later!
2. Compare Yourself To Yourself
One of the most important things to realise is that you will never look like anyone else. Everyone's body proportions are unique, and no matter how much training you do on any specific muscle groups, you'll never be able to emulate the fitness models you follow on Instagram, or Zac Effron in Bay Watch.
What you will be able to become is the best possible version of yourself.
Take regular progress photos and measurements to hold yourself accountable and so that you can start to see the results. Although they might not be visible in the mirror for a little while at first, they'll be visible on the scales and measuring tape.
Or, you might find that while your weight remains the same, the reflection staring back at you is leaner and healthier. This is because your body weight isn't the deciding factor of your fitness! With each workout aim to one up yourself from last time, whether it's an extra rep, an extra 100m on your run, or a better sense of wellbeing at the end of the session.
3. Nutrition Is Key
If there's one thing that's going to put a road block up in front of your results, it's poor nutrition.
Processed foods, too many/too little calories (depending on your goals), inconsistency and nutritional deficiencies will stall your weightless, put a stop to your gains and will sniffle your motivation fast. Your body is a machine and you need to fill it up with the right fuel for the best performance! You can still enjoy burgers, but opt for a fresh, wholesome lean beef patty on a fresh wholemeal bun instead of a Big Mac. Enjoy your fish and chips, but go for the grill'd option and a few less chips. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a chocolate protein shake instead of a Mars bar! There are plenty of ways to enjoy your favourite foods while staying accountable to your goals and not getting off track!
4. Audit Your Health
As long as we're still alive at the end of the day, we're healthy, right?! Blokes are notorious for not going to see a doctor until the problem becomes serious, so it's not uncommon to see guys let their health fall by the wayside and then find committing to the gym to be just too difficult.
And when it's just too difficult, we're inclined to throw in the towel rather than risk failing, aren't we?
Make it easy for yourself. Get 8 hours of sleep a night, try to eliminate as much stress as possible, walk as much as possible, drink plenty of water and eat plenty of lean meats and unprocessed food. Oh, and look after your mental health as well!
5. Drink Less Beer
The easiest and most instantly actionable out of all these tips, drink less beer!
A pint of full strength beer has 200 calories on average. That means going out for a few beers with the lads after work quickly stacks up to a whopping 600 calories - and they're not good calories either. Alcohol is one of the worst things for lean muscle gain and fat loss, so while avoidance is the best option, we don't expect you to completely give up alcohol! Try switching to whisky neat or mixed with diet cola. There's nothing more manly than whisky. Or for the ultimate low calorie alcoholic drink, vodka, fresh lime and soda water. But if you cop any flack from the boys, don't come crying to us!