Questions Every Fitness Beginner Asks
Are you just starting out on a fitness journey? Good on you, you should be so proud of yourself for making your health a priority! Beginning an exercise routine can sometimes feel overwhelming with so many different options, opinions and confusing fitness terminology to wrap your head around — it can be really difficult to know where to start.
Starting a new fitness routineTo help make your first few weeks a little easier, we’re answering some of the common workout questions we receive from the SWEAT community.
Question 1. Which is better for weight loss — strength or cardio?
If your goal is weight loss, it is important to consider both exercise and nutrition in the equation. You could exercise every day but if your diet is unhealthy, it can affect your ability to get the results you’re after.
Both cardio and strength exercise can affect your body in different ways — cardio burns more energy while you are actually exercising and has benefits for your overall cardiovascular health.
In comparison, strength training can be better for building muscle and getting stronger. When you undertake strength training, even though you may burn less energy during the actual workout in comparison to cardio, your body continues to burn energy after you’ve finished. This is because muscle takes more energy to sustain and therefore the more muscle you develop, the higher your fat-burning potential.
Keeping this in mind, a combination of the two is a great way to lose weight, on top of a healthy diet.
Question 2. Will I bulk up doing weights?
Weight training can make you stronger, not bulkier! It is a common misconception that you will bulk up by doing weights. Why is this untrue? While testosterone levels vary among women, in a general sense our testosterone levels are lower than men, making it much harder for women to become ‘bulky’ through general weight training. If your goal is to build a lot of muscle, then an appropriate nutrition and exercise plan is generally required to help you achieve those results.
In short, lifting weights doesn’t automatically lead to bulking up. This kind of training can have a range of amazing benefits! As mentioned already, it can help your body burn fat long after you stop exercising, meaning you are replacing fat with muscle and encouraging faster fat loss than other training styles. Weight training can help you to gain strength, increase your bone density and also improve the rate of your metabolism.
Question 3. I’m struggling to get through workouts. What should I do?
During your first few weeks of a new fitness regime, there’s a chance you might struggle to finish a workout or you may want to stop regularly throughout a session. The important thing is to keep persisting each day and slowly build your fitness level up. Some ways to do this could include:
Modifying exercises where needed, such as completing push-ups on your knees to begin with.
Taking longer breaks in between sets.
Reducing the amount of reps you do. Once it becomes easier to complete these, you can slowly work your way up one day at a time.
Reducing your weight load or circuit time. Again, as it becomes easier to get through a set or circuit, you can increase your load or time.
Generally, avoid pushing yourself too hard too soon as this could contribute to burnout, or even injury. Even though it might feel a little frustrating to begin with, it can help you to gradually build up your endurance and can end up being more beneficial in the long run.
Question 4. I’m feeling really sore. Should I still train?
In the beginning, you might wake up feeling sore after workout days. As tempting as it might be to lie on the couch and not move, some active recovery can be beneficial for reducing stiffness.
A form of low-intensity active movement can help relieve soreness much faster than if you do nothing. Going for a walk, stretching, swimming and bike riding are all some LISS (low-intensity steady state cardio) activities that can help to get the blood flowing to your muscles, which can help with the recovery process.
There are other ways you can try to help minimise muscle soreness too. For example, drink plenty of water every day and make sure you warm up and warm down after each workout. It’s so important that you also balance your training days with rest days so that your body can recharge.
Remember, the first few days of a new fitness routine are likely to be the hardest — but it will all be worth it! Embarking on this journey means that you are actively trying to improve your health, and your quality of life, which is so important.
Question 5. When is the best time to work out — day or night?
Is it better to workout in the morning or evening to gain the best results? What time of day is best to work out is a question that there isn’t a clear answer for; ultimately, you should try to base your decision on what suits you and your lifestyle.
Working out in the morning
Morning exercise may be good because it can help you to wake up, as well as have a positive impact on your mindset for the remainder of the day. Getting your muscles moving early on in the day can then lead to improved focus and energy levels.
You may also prefer to do a morning workout so that unexpected demands don’t pop up later in the day, which can cause you to put off or avoid exercise.
Working out in the afternoon or evening
Alternatively, if you’re not a morning person you might find that you have more energy and focus to exercise later on in the day. For muscle building, training with weights on an empty stomach can affect energy levels, which is why some people choose to do weights sessions later in the day. If you are considering weight training early in the morning, eating something prior to your session (like a protein smoothie) can help give you the energy you need to get through the workout.
Instead of focusing too much on what time of day you should workout, put your energy towards establishing a routine and maintaining it. Overall, consistency is what matters for getting the most benefit from a fitness routine. There are so many ways to make time for fitness, it just takes some adjustment and practise to get into a habit.
Question 6. Is exercise enough to be healthy?
Regular exercise is a great way to get your health on track. For most women, reaching their fitness goals are a result of living a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is a great start and you don’t have to make drastic changes all at once. Try integrating healthier habits gradually.
As you get more accustomed to your fitness routine, try working towards being more active in your daily life. On top of regular exercise, try to do something small every day to increase your activity levels. It might be taking a longer walk to the bus station, going for a stroll on your lunch break, or taking the stairs instead of the lift — any extra movement during the day can have a range of positive health benefits in the long-run.
Question 7. How do I stay motivated to workout?
We can’t promise that your fitness journey will always be easy but it will start to feel easier than your very first week. Once you start to feel results and begin to feel stronger, faster and fitter, the benefits of your hard work will become a source of motivation to keep going.
It’s so important to set goals for yourself regularly, to keep yourself accountable and have something tangible to relate back to.
Keeping this in mind, there will always be moments where you don’t feel like doing exercise — we all have those days sometimes! That is why a strong routine is important. Your aim should be to make fitness time a non-negotiable: block out excuses and show up for yourself, no matter what.
Find ways to hold yourself accountable: find a fitness buddy, join a group or fitness forum, and schedule your workouts in before your week begins. Also, find something that suits your lifestyle so that you aren’t faced with regular hurdles that might dishearten you and limit your progress.
It may take time and hard work to begin with but eventually it can become part of your life. Even if you don’t feel like getting out of bed early, or getting off the couch to workout, you can begin to crave the feeling of finishing a workout and that will become your motivation.
Question 8. How long does it take to see results?
We understand that when you start a fitness routine, you want to see results from working out! Here at SWEAT, we encourage taking progress photos. Quite often, it isn’t easy to notice the changes to our bodies over time so putting your monthly progress photos side-by-side is a great way to track this. This can all be done in our SWEAT app.
Unfortunately, results don’t happen overnight and the length of time before you see progress can depend on a variety of personal factors. As mentioned, a consistent routine can help you to reach your goals faster. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important if you want to improve your fitness, lose weight or simply feel more energised. While exercise is important, good food fuels your body and keeps you going!
Ultimately, the key to any successful workout routine is to find a fitness style that you enjoy doing and be consistent with it. If you don’t like the exercises you are doing, you won’t commit to it. Often, it can take a little time to find out which training style is right for you, as well as what schedule works for you. Once you find something you love and you regularly choose to make time for it, you may wonder why you didn’t begin sooner!
Do you have more beginner questions? Our SWEAT community can help —join our community to pose your questions and get advice!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.