Starting a new fitness program can be a daunting task. It takes courage and a willingness to change for someone new to walk through our doors looking for a personal trainer. When it comes to starting a training program for beginners, I try to empathize with my clients here in Palo Alto, CA by thinking about how it is for me to start a new training program where I am a beginner. When I first started training for Track & Field I would get very self-conscious when learning a new event. Since I only had considerable experience in 2 events, I was a beginner or a straight up novice in all the others I attempted. Part of starting a new program is the technical portion. Knowing what exercises to do, how often, how many reps, etc. The other side is finding inspiration and motivation so you stick to your new fitness program and have fun doing it.
The nuts and bolts of a new program for beginners
Introduction to Body movements
This is where I start with everyone on their first session. I teach them how to do proper basic movements like a squat, hip hinge, and an elevated pushup. I also teach them some integrated movements like an easy step and pull motion, rotational motion like a cable chop, and a single leg balance motion.
Basic weight training form
There are some basic lifts that need to be learned if you have little or no experience in the weight room. I always teach someone how to row, press, lift, pulldown, and curl (as well as other lifts) in their first two sessions. Basic shoulder movement and stability is usually the same across many different weight training exercises. Always keep your shoulders down and back to keep proper lifting form.
Everyone comes in with a goal of being healthier, which typically includes some amount of weight loss. Burning extra calories will help speed up the process. Plus it’s good for your cardiovascular and respiratory system to elevate your heart rate for an extended time.
As boring as it sounds, I like to teach people nutrition basics. Diet fads come and go. They can range from extreme and unhealthy to reasonably comfortable and effective in the long term. The truth is they typically have a few things in common: Eat less, increase fiber, decrease or cut all sugar, and eat foods that have quality nutrition. We must start with the basics before we move on to specific nutritional plans.
Inspiration and Motivation
A positive and supportive setting
Where you workout should inspire you to push yourself while giving a sense of support and encouragement. Some people find inspiration from big gym’s and the energy they provide. Others prefer a home gym free of distractions and a place of solitude. I loved the hardcore gym atmosphere for years, but as my goals changed I saw the big gym in a different light. After one too many run ins with rude people, I canceled my membership and trained only in our private studio. The environment and people around you should provide support and encouragement. As a trainer I always try to provide my clients with positive energy while keeping them focused and still having fun.
Having someone else plan your workouts is a big help and even more so if you have someone right there with you. Of course having your own trainer is ideal, but sometimes, it’s just not possible due to time, financial, or personal reasons. A big reason why my clients get results is because they have the time set aside to focus on their goals and discuss everything about their fitness program. This can also be accomplished through scheduled workouts with friends or fitness classes. When I commit to workouts with friends, I become more focused and make better decisions to be prepared for a quality workout. When I join a class or hire a coach, I become very serious about all parts of my training plan. Nutrition, sleep, and workout structure are taken to the next level.
You really just have to get your weekly workouts in. If you are consistent then results will happen. I tell all my running clients that you really just need to get 3+ runs in week and over time you will get back into running shape. The distance doesn’t really matter, you just have to get running. Same with your fitness workouts, just spend some time doing it 3+ times a week. Some days we feel great and ready to get after it. Others days we may dread it, but it’s important to workout even if you need to bring down the intensity and cut the time short. A light workout is better than no workout, and you will feel much better afterward.
Jerry Yuhara, CPT, CSCS, CMT #75123
299 California Ave, Suite 120
Palo Alto, CA 94306
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