So you want to get in shape?
You want to look and feel fantastic but where do you start?
What should you do?
It can all be very overwhelming which is why we would like to break things down for you and walk you through the process.
This is why we have written the beginners guide to getting in the best shape ever!
The very first thing you should do is get assessed.
In order to know how to get where you want to be you must first know where you are to start with. It is important to have a consultation with a good coach who can assess where you’re at and design you a periodised program and healthy nutritional plan to help you with your journey.
Your main focus should initially be getting yourself as healthy as possible as well as working on getting your body into what we call structural balance. You can’t build a house without a solid foundation, nor can you achieve great results with out being healthy. Your initial focus should be on what your body needs; not what you want. Yes, you might want a big chest but if you sit at a desk all day leaning over a computer and your chest is really tight going to the gym and smashing out bench press will do you more harm than good. Balance out your body first by focusing on stretching the chest out and strengthening your back muscles. This will give you a good foundation to be able to build that chest in the next phase.
Ease into it but progressively overload
Ease your body into your new training routine. A good rule is to coax your body into getting results rather than forcing it. From there you can employ the kaizen approach, which is to make small but constant improvements each training session.
Change is good
You want to always be in a state of adapting to what you do but you never actually want to get to the point that you do adapt. Look to change your routine (no matter how good it is) before you actually adapt to it. For some that may not be until 6 to 8 weeks, while for some it may be every 2 weeks. On average we like to change every 4 weeks.
Focus on the major muscle groups but take into account what it is that you personally need to work on not just what you want to work on. It is a good idea to place more emphasis on your posterior chain (the back of the body) to bring you into more balance as we tend to be anterior dominant (muscle in the front are generally tighter) with the amount of sitting and leaning forward we do throughout the day.
Think big muscle groups but not big exercises, as first you need to learn good movement patterns and get a good range of movement with all your exercises. Ease your body into it.
Neutral Grip Flat DB Press over Bench Press
Split Squats over BB Squats or Leg Press
Back Extension over Deadlifts
One Arm Kneeling Pulldowns over Pull Ups
Be sure to include exercises that will help to improve any imbalances and improve your posture. From there, add to this something that you really want to do. Training after all should be fun. Think 80 to 90 percent of what you need but still 10 to 20 percent of what want.
As we get better and our body balances out we can more onto more of a split routine which enables us to train each muscle group more as well as give that muscle group more time to recover.
You can choose from may different split routines depending on your goal.
- Day One: Upper Body,
- Day Two: Lower Body
- Day One: Chest Hamstrings Triceps
- Day Two: Back Quads Biceps
- Day One: Chest Back
- Day Two: Shoulders Arms
- Day Three: Lower Body
As mentioned before, one of the key principles in training is progressive overload. This applies not only from session to session but also from program to program. Look to adjust your programs before you get used to them.
Adjustments do not need to be major as the key is to create enough variety to keep you stimulated and interested but not so varied that it takes a few weeks to re learn the new program. The more advanced the lifter the more adjustments that can be made. For less advanced lifters, more subtle the adjustments are recommended.
As mentioned before, one of the key principles in training is progressive overload. This applies not only from session to session but also from program to program. Look to adjust your programs before you get used to them. Adjustments do not need to be major as the key is to create enough variety to keep you stimulated and interested but not so varied that it takes a few weeks to re learn the new program.
While we believe that for best results you should focus more on weight training than cardio, cardio should still be included. Two to three times a week is great.
There are many different options when it comes to cardio but two rules I like are as follows:
- Make it fun
- Mix it up
You will always give it you best when you enjoy it but your body is amazing at adapting to what you do so have a number of options to choose from.
I love circuit training and intervals as they provide the best results in the shortest possible time.
Often overlooked, flexibility is a crucial aspect of your training and a lack of flexibility might well be what will hold you back from getting the best results possible.
As part of your warm up you should include some foam rolling and dynamic stretch. Dynamic stretch is where you gentle take a muscle to the end range and then back off and repeat rather than holding it there like you would with static stretching. This method better prepares the body for the exercise to come.
You should also dedicate at least two sessions a week to static stretching, which will help more to increase your actual flexibility. Generally speaking, quads, chest and calves/Achilles are what people should stretch every day. These muscles are normally tighter than others due to the fact we spend a lot of our day sitting down and leaning forward. What you do a little a lot that will have more effect than what you do a lot a little.
Yoga is a good option as it makes you do it but depending on where you are tight and what you want to achieve you might want to make up your own specific stretching routine.
Nutrition is a very individual thing so I won’t touch on this too much other that to say you should focus on your health first and foremost.
To begin with you should work out how many calories you need along your protein requirements. I prefer to do this in comparison to your lean mass rather than simply body weight. From there you can then determine how many carbs you should be having along with good fats. Finally, ensure you get in plenty (and by plenty I mean five to ten cups) of veggies through out the day.
So where do people go wrong?
There are a number of ways in which you can go wrong or what may lead to you being despondent and giving up. As such, be aware of them so you can plan ahead.
Going too hard too soon
- Leads to burn out, your body rebelling back or worse, injuries. Hard to make progression when you go all out from the start.
Copying people who are at a different level to you
- If you are not at their level you can’t expect to do what they do. This may lead to no results or worse, injury. You have to qualify to do certain things.
Going at it alone
- Always a good idea to build a support crew including a good trainer, nutritionist and get the support of mates and family.
Getting advice from the wrong people
- Get advice from someone who knows how to get EVERYONE and ANYONE in shape, not just them selves. Likewise, if they can’t even get themselves in shape you have to question their advice.
- Never overlook the importance of good nutrition.
- Doing the wrong things for you and what your body is capable of. Remember to start slow and build.
- A lack of results is the quickest way to lose enthusiasm. Set both small and large goals and gradually knock them off. Persistence, smart training and gradual consistent progressions will ensure you get the results you want.
I hope this has helped but I would definitely look at getting a great coach to help guide you on your journey.