Slow and Steady: The Basics of Starting Out on Your Fitness Journey

If you’re moving to Utah or already living there, congratulations – the Beehive State is among the healthiest places to live in the country. Salt Lake City has been named the healthiest city in the US for 2018 thanks to its strong foundation of sporting facilities and outdoor activities. Still, location is only an incidental advantage at best if you’re on the road to improved fitness.

Thanks to the internet and constant media exposure, there’s plenty of information available nowadays that can point you in the right direction. However, each of us has unique needs, goals, and physical conditions. You don’t need to be a licensed MD to know that getting exercise and eating healthy is important. Utilizing available experts, from your trainer at the gym to your nutritionist at the diet clinic, can sharpen your focus, strengthen your commitment, and help speed up the process of getting fit.

Know where you’re coming from

The journey to improved fitness begins with you, of course. Part of the reason why many of us struggle to achieve our fitness goals is that we take generic advice from various sources, and then blindly apply it to ourselves. The results are often hit-and-miss, and this can lead to the feeling that we are to blame.

Instead, begin by posing honest questions to yourself. Do you lack exercise because of your busy schedule? Perhaps you’d like to get into outdoor sports, but don’t have friends who are into that kind of thing. Are you struggling to eat healthily, or is it just a challenge to stay away from sugary foods? Knowing your weaknesses is the first step to overcoming them.

Take small steps

You’ve probably heard the saying “no pain, no gain”. What was probably intended as a call to one’s resolve and grit can easily be taken the wrong way. It can be discouraging, especially if you’re just starting out. Even worse, it can encourage bad form, particularly for those who don’t have a coach or experienced partner making sure that they are doing an exercise correctly.

Instead, remember that some exercise is always better than none. Habits are formed in small steps, by doing things right, getting positive feedback, and making them part of your routine. It’s most important to set a schedule for exercise and stick to it. You can increase the difficulty, or the hours you spend, later on.

Efficient diet

Just as a car runs on fuel, our bodies run on food. The difference is that humans can indefinitely stockpile excess energy. If you’re consuming more calories than your body needs, you gain weight. Eating less, while increasing your physical activity, leads to a net loss. It’s simple in theory, but in practice, many other factors come into play and make things complicated.

Keep in mind that we also need the energy to survive. Anything that promises dramatic results in a short time, such as fad diets, can be dangerous. With your diet, it’s important to think long term: you’ll be eating every day for the rest of your life, after all. Be efficient, don’t starve.

Going further

Embracing the principle of taking small steps, having the right mindset, and building sound fitness habits will provide the foundation you need to take it further. When you add difficulty to your exercise routine or try out new health food, do as much research as you can and listen to your body for feedback. In addition, seek expert advice when you can – from a professional trainer or nutritionist, for example. They can best evaluate your unique circumstances and provide personalized recommendations for you to progress safely.