First fitness journey? Here’s how to get started

(WomensFitnessFocus.com) Like they say, every journey begins with the first step. If you’re ready to begin your first journey to better fitness, this will help.

Training the whole body three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) is ideal for the beginner. This allows the beginner nearly 48 hours of rest between workouts and gives the beginner an additional two days of rest over weekends.

Do 1 – 2 exercises of two sets of ten reps per body part. The beginner may feel like doing more, but don’t. The beginner should do this type of training for about a month before doing more exercises. This will allow the body proper stimulation for growth without overtaxing its ability to recuperate.

As the beginner progresses, he may decide to do more advanced training, such as working specific body parts in some workouts, with whole body sessions only two times a week. Examples of such training include the double split, the push pull system, four on/one off and three on/one off.

Your decision to get into new types of training depends on how fast your body adapts to each new level of training and your individual goals. The beginner may be ready to go beyond the three day a week workout only after one month of training. Another beginner may decide that three day a week training is ideal for his or her lifestyle and goals.

Sets and reps are important factors to your bodybuilding success. A good set is made up of good reps and a good workout is made up of both. At this point in your training, doing more than two sets of 10 reps per body part greatly increases your chance of overtraining (doing too much work and getting inadequate rest, leading to diminished gains). Ten reps provide optimal muscle stimulation without putting your body into a state of over or under training.

As your body improves in strength and condition, you may decide to use supersets, giant sets, pyramid training, staggered sets, high/moderate/low rep training, rest pause, volume training, speed training and many other advanced techniques, as a way of increasing the intensity of your workouts for maximum growth.

A beginner will often ask, ‘How do I know when to increase the weight on the exercises I do?’ Once you’re able to do 10 reps fairly easy with a given weight, try increasing the weight by 10%. Let’s say you can bench press 85 pounds for 10 easy reps. On your next set, try going up to 95-100 pounds for 10 reps. Continue to do this on all your exercises. This is the heart of progressive resistance training, which is the best way to gain definition and strength.

Avoiding the Big Mistake: Why more is not better

Far too many beginner bodybuilders fall victim to more is better. Your body needs time to adjust to do the exercises you asking it to do. One exercise per body part may not sound like enough to produce any results, but if you’re a beginner, it will. As you continue to train and your body adapts to the exercises and recuperative demands you place upon it, you’ll be able to add more sets and exercises to your routine. Be patient and don’t overtrain. Overtraining will halt your progress and increase your chances of injury. It takes time to build a great body, but the rewards are worth it.

Go with the Basics

Starting out with the basic exercises is something that you’ll be grateful for later down the road. The basic exercises let your body get used to the proper groove for each movement. You’ve got to know how to do an exercise correctly before you can get the most benefit from it.

The basic exercises should be the foundation for your bodybuilding program both now and in the future. Stay away from cables and machines at this point. They’ll be important to your training later on. Concentrate on mastering the basic movements. Nearly every bodybuilding champion still uses basic movements as the cornerstone of his or her training routines.

One of the most important elements to laying the proper foundation for your bodybuilding success is using good form on every exercise. Good form means doing every exercise and every rep with complete control through the full range of motion. Incomplete reps build incomplete body parts, so always keep the weight under strict control through the full range of motion. Don’t be so concerned with how much weight you can lift. Concentrate on feeling the exercise and working the muscle completely.

Sloppy form is a major cause of injury to muscle and connective tissue. An injury can side line you for weeks and even months. When you train, you want results, not injuries and no progress. Use good form and you’ll avoid injuries while getting results toward your bodybuilding goals.

By Sandra Prior, Expert Articles

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