One of the biggest questions or concerns we hear as personal trainers is how to start improving your fitness when you don’t know where to start. Whether you are a gym novice or decades-old veteran who has gotten out of your fitness pattern, you can make healthy habits part of your life through small but impactful choices that will help you start improving your fitness and moving you towards your goals.
With summer right around the corner, I’ll bet you’re starting to think about your summer attire and the way your body will fit into those clothes. Shorts, sleeveless shirts, bathing suits. Are you ready to rock them with confidence?
If your answer wasn’t a resounding yes (you’re not alone!), and you don’t know where (or how) to start improving your fitness and physique then this blog is for you! We’ve got 4 simple activities to add to your daily routine that will help you get started on the right pathway to improving your fitness, weight loss, a more toned physique, and better overall energy levels that don’t require going into the gym.
Post-Meal Time Walks
One of the easiest ways to start improving your fitness is by getting a few more steps in each day. Longer days, beautiful sunsets, and warmer weather are all wonderful reasons to end your day with a walk through your neighborhood or local park. After dinner, put those dishes in the sink or dishwasher, and set out for a 10 minute walk.
Pop in your headphones with a favorite playlist or podcast queued up, grab your spouse or dog, and start with a quick walk. 10 minutes is a great starting point that will help your body start processing the nutrients you fueled yourself with, relieve the day’s stress, and will encourage your body to expend a bit more energy to prepare you for a good night’s sleep.
Once you’ve established the healthy habit of post-dinner walks for 10 minutes per day, we bet that you’ll be ready to start increasing the distance and amount of time you spend walking each time you head out the door. You may even like those post-dinner walks, that you might want to start adding a quick walk around other mealtimes – mid morning after your second (or third!) cup of coffee, after lunch to fight the lethargy that usually hits about 3pm. Look at that! You’ve taken your first steps towards improving your fitness already!
It’s Neat to Improve Your N.E.A.T.?
Another fantastic (and super simple) way to start improving your fitness is by increasing your daily and weekly NEAT. NEAT refers to non-exercise activity thermogenesis, and accounts for the energy expenditure for activities that do not include eating, sleeping, and exercising. We can increase our energy expenditure on a daily (and weekly) basis by increasing our NEAT and making a few small choices:
- If you normally sit at a desk to work, try a standing desk → on average you would burn an additional 70+ calories per hour by standing
- When picking a parking spot at the grocery store, pick a stall further away from the front doors so you can accumulate a few extra steps
- If there’s a between choice of escalator or stairs, pick the stairs (or turn the escalator into stairs)
- Walk the long way to the water cooler or bathroom when you’re working
- Pace while talking on the phone, or turn quick meetings into walking meetings
- Fidget, or tap your feet while sitting in traffic, at your desk, on the couch
The simple truth behind improving your fitness through losing weight (and making physique changes) is this: we need to expend (‘burn’) more calories than we ingest on a daily basis so that our body is in a caloric deficit. In addition to making mindful nutrition choices why don’t you see if you can increase the amount of calories your body uses by increasing your NEAT.
Using a step counter, like a FitBit or Apple Watch is a great way to see how many more steps you can get in a day while increasing your NEAT choices. All the choices that you make every day, whether it is about food, exercise, sleep, etc. add up and will help you to achieve your health, fitness, and scale goals – improving your fitness is as easy as taking the scenic route into the store rather than scouting for a spot up front!
Wake Up and Stretch: Creating a Daily Mobility Routine
Getting out of bed in the morning can be tough, but by taking 5 to 10 minutes to wake up through some simple mobility exercises is a great way to get your day started on the right foot and help with improving your fitness. An easy starter mobility protocol could be something as simple as a few inchworms, cobras, psoas marches, and t-spine rotations.
If you’re already a yoga practitioner, there are a myriad of flows that make for a great rise-and-shine routine too.
At-Home Bodyweight Exercises and Core Strengthening on Your Commercial Breaks
Now this is the most involved way to start improving your fitness (you’ll have to watch a few videos to make sure you’ve got the technique correct). Incorporating basic resistance exercises (squats, push ups, lunges, etc.) a few times per day when you have a lull in activity, break from school or work, or perhaps while you’re destressing around the television in the evening.
You have the opportunity to include a few basic resistance exercises to improve your muscle tone and energy expenditure daily, improving your fitness when you would otherwise be sitting for hours on end. Whether you already have a little bit of equipment at home already or not (i.e. dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, etc.) there are plenty of choices that are perfect to complete during your 3-4 minute commercial breaks.
- Air Squats
- Single Leg Squats (Lunges or Step-Ups)
- Hip Bridges
- Push Ups
- If you’re not ready to go all the way to a full push ups on the ground, find a secure surface like your kitchen countertop or couch armrest to maintain good form
- Core Work
- Dead Bugs
- Hollow Holds/Boat Pose
We have an awesome blog filled with over 8 At-Home Workout Strategies and Ideas if you’re looking for a bit more variety – check it out!
Resistance training (a.k.a. weight training or strength training) is once of the best ways to improve your overall health, physique, and confidence. Building lean muscle mass gives you the toned body everyone is always dreaming of achieving (along with a mindful nutrition strategy). If you don’t already have weights or equipment at home, or a membership to a fitness facility, you can start working on your muscle tone through a few of the basic movements listed above utilizing your own bodyweight to provide resistance.
Healthy Habits are Formed…What’s Next?
Time to get yourself to a gym, and start incorporating a structured and progressive training plan. We recommend a minimum of 3 training sessions per week (45-90minutes each), with several high intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio and low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio sessions on your non-strength training days to aid with recovery, cardiovascular improvement, and additional energy expenditure.
Our small group personal training boutique offers the benefits of hiring a 1:1 personal trainer at more of a group fitness value. If you are unsure about where to start when you walk through the doors of a gym or fitness facility, our coaches are here to help you gain strength, confidence, and achieve your health and fitness goals. We offer a 28 Day Jumpstart deal to get started, jam-packed with everything you need to be successful and all in a supportive inclusive community. We’ll see you in the gym!