This is a series of articles, videos and podcasts on how to start working out again after you’ve lost most, if not all of your gains. Leaving the military has been the real test of keeping in shape when you are not forced to. Same with high school or university athletes. I’ll also post articles and resources related videos for more depth and to answer specific reader questions as they come in to me:
For example: Answers to “What are sets and reps?”
Lots of tips and answers for subscribers on how to start working out in the monthly free newsletter which you can sign up for at the end of this article.
There is also a helpful podcast with lots of answers on how to start working out below. It’s after the newsletter sign up.
If you don’t find answers to the fitness questions you have, ask me in the comments after this post.
How To Start Working Out: Step 1
Thoughts lead to feelings, causing actions that create your results.
Change is hard. Let me set the record straight right here right now. You absolutely have the ability to improve your fitness and health. If you are human (and I hope you are, if not “live long and prosper”) then you can get in shape, lose weight, build muscle or whatever. But it will take work. Read that again. If you are human, you can get in shape.
I only say this because some people believe they are born a certain way and cannot improve. “It’s genetics,” they say. Genetics do matter. But effort, consistency and focus matter a whole lot more.
If you continue to believe that you are destined to be OUT of shape, then you will fight with your inner self to be anything better. In essence if you change and stop feeling lazy, weak willed or fat etc., you will lose your old identity. The “fat ego” has a way of wanting to self preserve it will fight you. This is why change is hard. This is why starting life style will be a challenge. You must recreate yourself and become something more wonderful and beautiful than before…. lose your old self and create a better you. Step up and become involved with life. Do not stand on the sidelines any longer.
Fight that “soft and weak” ego voice that wants to keep you down. Other people (even family who are often the cause of your personal pain) will get in the way. Obstacles and challenges will arise.
You must adapt and overcome.
This is about you and fixing yourself. You have to come first sometime. Now is the time.
If you want to change, you can get in shape if you put in the work. If you have trouble making it happen, it’s one of two things; medical, or discipline.
One of the things people don’t get is that know how to start working out is like balancing your bank account. Except now you want to be in the red. You can’t deposit more calories than you withdraw or your fat bank account grows. If you stay comfortable and keep that bank account balanced…. you’ll always have fat money in the over weight bank. There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat. So you must either cut that many calories from your diet (very hard) or burn off that many with exercise (doable) to lose a pound of fat a week. The trick is to use both.
But this takes discipline and discipline is hard work. This is where many people don’t push through and control their minds and bodies for the desired result.
If you are shooting for 2 pounds of fat loss per week, you are looking at withdrawing 7000 calories from you fat bank account. That’s 1000 calories a day my friend. When you’re hungry, you don’t want to lose that much food from your diet. So burn some of those fat calories away!
Break down your weight loss program something like this:
- 250 calories from a half hour weight training
- 350 calories from a half hour cardio
- 400 calories by diet
You must do this every day until you’ve withdrawn enough calories that you account is into the “sexy waist” zone.
Of course, this level of physical output and mental discipline takes time to work up to. You can just bang all this out if you’ve been sitting on the couch for months or years. You have to slowly work up to it or you’ll crash and burn.
A lot of people don’t want to hear that it takes 2-3 months to lose 15-20 pounds of fat.
Shortly, I will show you how to start working out with a progression that a raw beginner would be best to follow when wanting to start out with fitness. This is a routine that I have found to work for a lot of people of all ages that have come through the different clubs. It works around the idea that you should walk and then run! Lets get started by answering some basic questions before you head off to the gym!
How To Start Working Out – THE BIG QUESTIONS
Which muscles where?
In the beginning, sometimes you don’t know which muscles are supposed to do what! Well for that matter, even where they are. You hear the fit folks saying, “Man did those bench presses ever blast my pecs!” But the problem for many is that you don’t have a clue what a pec is except that chickens do it when they are hungry! So instead of giving you the scientific name like pectoralis major (chest), I’m going to explain things like you would hear it in the gym or in the muscle magazines. No more mystery…
Just remember, I’ve done my best here to cover all the angles and answer all the questions I’ve heard over the years. However, there is always something that needs clarification. I’m only an email away, and it’s free.
There are also videos of all the exercises on the website on my Youtube channel.
You will find demonstrations of everything there for you and if you can not see it, again, please just contact me through the link above and I’d be happy to point the way.
How do I know its safe to workout?
I think the real question is “How safe is it for you not to workout?” Did you know that obesity has just replaced smoking as the number one cause of health related problems? That’s incredible! Sorry to say, but that means North Americans are a bunch of overweight, inactive people! Back in the day when people milked cows and planted their own food you would never hear of something like this. Our desk jobs are killing us! We are not physically tired at the end of the day and we are mentally worn out.
Lets look at some of the real concerns you should tend to before working out.
It’s important to see your doctor and get a checkup. Make sure you get a blood pressure test and a blood test. Have your heart condition checked and make sure all the other stuff is done and o.k. Some people mistakenly hold back serious effort in the gym for too long because they are afraid something may be wrong with them.
You should get a check up and receive a clean bill of health because that’s one more excuse gone!
Next, your trainer will need to know about past and current injuries to know how to design your routine. If you are going to do it on your own, you will be able to do some research as to which exercises are the safest and most beneficial for you and what you should avoid.
Medications – A large part of working out these days involves sports supplements. It’s a good thing to know if any medications you’re on because they can interact adversely with these supplements. I.E. Blood pressure meds mixed with ephedrine and caffeine is not a good idea!
There is also a form called the PAR-Q (physical activity readiness questionnaire). It covers most questions that should be addressed before starting an exercise program. Most gyms stock these forms for liability reasons and it shouldn’t be hard to get a hold of one.
Last point; if you are just starting out and have a lot of questions about exercise and your health, invest in a trainer. It is the most sure fire way to make sure that you are doing everything correctly.
Next, we’ll talk about how to choose a gym if that’s where you want to workout, but also, how to start working out at home. There’s lots more info than just that but that’s what’s next in order of writing.
Before you go, there’s also this helpful podcast… It’s an hour long interview I did with David DeRose of American Indian Radio about How To Lose Weight If Nothing Seems To Work. There’s a lot of helpful info in this jam packed podcast.
This article above is from the book “How To Start Working Out” by Raymond Burton which you can purchase on amazon right here.
NEXT: We’ll get into the specifics of working out in the next article which should be posted by the time you read this.