The 4 Questions Every Fitness Beginner Asks
The 4 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.
To help make your first few weeks a little easier, we’ve created a two-part series answering some of the common workout questions we receive from the SWEAT community. Here in the first part, we answer questions you might have as you embark on a new fitness routine.
Starting a new fitness routine
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.
Stay tuned for the second part of this series! We will answer questions commonly asked during the first few months of working out — whether you want to know what time of day to exercise, or how to keep yourself motivated, we provide all the guidance you need.
If you are looking for a support network to help you on your fitness journey, make sure you check in with the SWEAT community!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.