5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was a Fitness Newbie

by Anna D

The other day, I was thinking about my fitness journey and how far I’ve come. Gone were the days when I was a confused fitness newbie who didn’t know what the heck I was doing with my workouts and my nutrition. I learned a lot about myself during this process and I’m constantly learning each day. I’ve made some life changing decisions and actions and it has been quite an amazing ride. Then, it hit me. I got to thinking about the things that I wish I knew when I first started trying to lose weight. Then, I got to writing about the things I wish I knew back then. I made mistakes and learned from them. Now, it’s your turn to know them so you don’t make the same mistakes like I did.

Tip #1 The Right Way to Do Cardio

If you’ve read my previous posts about high intensity interval training, then you already know what I’m talking about. If not, go ahead and read this article, “Why Cardio is Overrated”. I go into much details why you should switch to sprinting in that article but in summary, doing sprints is way more effective than steady state cardio. Plus, you can perform it in less time and burn more calories even after your workout is done. Doing sprints will greatly improve your cardiovascular health not to mention trim down your mid-section as well.

Tip #2 Newbie Results

Newbie results are the really quick gains that you make when you are starting out. When you first start a workout and nutrition program, your body learns to adapt to your new ways. If you’re doing all the right things in these two areas, chances are you will get a lot of results during your first several weeks or few months.

You can expect a lot of weight loss during this time especially if your body responds well to your new programs. I’ve seen some of my clients who lose as much as 11 lbs during their first few weeks just because they follow what I tell them to do with their food and have 100% bootcamp attendance. Just like anything, you get what you put into it. If you’re not consistent during these first several weeks, your results will not be noticeable. Consistency is the key during this time if you want to take advantage of your newbie results. I really saw my results happen when I focused on my plan and followed through with it. The good news is, if you follow your plan 90% of the time, you will still see results.

Eclipse_1100HR_elliptical_trainer[Stay away from the Elliptical unless you’ve already done your sprints.]

Tip #3 Fasting for Weight Loss

I’ve touched upon this topic when I wrote this article called, “3 Tips to Getting Sexy Abs”. Fasting is the simplest way to lose weight in my opinion. The fasting protocol that I follow is Brad Pilon’s, “Eat Stop Eat”, where I do not eat anything for 24 hours at time, twice a week. For instance, if I wanted to start today, my last meal would be lunch then I won’t eat until lunch the next day. You might be thinking: 24 hours without food! I used to think that this was going to be difficult but it really isn’t. Once I read Brad’s book and all the benefits of fasting and how it doesn’t slow down your metabolism, I was sold. I am proof that it doesn’t slow down your metabolism since this was (and still is) my main lose-weight-and-keep-it-off-diet.

There are also other fasting protocols you can do if you think that 24 hours is just too long for you. I will discuss this in a later post as it requires some description.

Now, don’t get the idea that I force my clients to follow whatever has worked for me. All of my the bootcampers choose their own nutrition programs. I pretty much say that people have different preferences and personalities. If you’ve tried something in the past and it has worked for you and followed it through then, it would be wise to stick it. Until you find something that works, you’re going to have to do some trial and error.

Tip #4 Not all Workout Programs are Equal

I used to think that I would get the body I’ve always wanted by following the workouts in women’s magazines. While those have helped me get a little bit stronger, they didn’t give me nearly enough work to burn calories. If you’re not seeing the results you want, it’s either your workout program sucks or it’s not designed for the goal that you’re working towards. For instance, I design the bootcamp workouts so you can burn as much calories as possible in a short time. Also, I design them so my clients target different muscles each day. This way, they can be sure that no area is missed and their body functions and moves efficiently as a whole.

I will be honest with you that if you’re goal is to gain muscle mass, ATD Fitness is not the bootcamp for you. But, I should also say that you can expect to gain muscle tone, get stronger, and feel energized when you workout with me.

Tip #5 Nutrition is Big Part of Your Results

No matter how we cut it, food is a big part of our lives. Think about it, we eat 3-6 times a day. This means that we have 3-6 times a day to mess up our nutrition whereas most people only workout 3 times a week! It’s not difficult to mess up a workout especially if you have a great workout program that you’re following. But, it’s easy to make a ton of mistakes in terms of our food choices.

fast-food-exit-sign[Be aware of how often you respond to fast food signs too. These are designed for you to take notice and get hungry :)]

If you think that you’re eating “healthy” and not getting the results you’re expecting, try writing down every morsel of food you eat for a week. After the week is up, go through your journal and count how many times you ate the not-so-healthy-foods. You might be surprised how much “unhealthy” foods make its way to your diet on a daily basis. Remember the 90% rule? Make sure you stick to your nutrition plan 90% of the time. Of course, any fat loss program is not complete unless you’re working out consistently so make sure you’re on track in that area too.

I wish I knew these 5 tips when I first started trying to lose weight. It takes a lot of time and experience to find out what really worked for me. You can apply most of these tips right away and I know that you will start seeing results as soon as you apply these to your daily lifestyle. When you do try them, please let me know and tell me what kind of results you saw. I’d also be happy to answer any questions you have.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Darrin May 14, 2010 at 7:23 pm

These five things definitely ring true for me, too! One thing that I would put on my list is the importance of walking, biking, and other low-intensity exercises. (OUTSIDE! Not in a gym.) I used to always think walking was for people who couldn’t run, but I now believe the health benefits are much greater and you do less damage to your body long-term.

Anna_d May 15, 2010 at 9:45 am

Hey Darrin, you are right! I like low intensity exercises too and I should’ve put that on the list. We can’t go hard all the time so doing low intensity stuff definitely helps with recovery. Thanks for stopping by!


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