How to Workout for Beginners

By Danny Wong , last updated January 7, 2012

Instead of giving you a plan about what exercises to do, how much to do them, and how to do them, as a beginner you should really know how to work out. It is not just about hitting the gym 3 to 4 times a week and pumping whatever weights you see as soon as you walk in the door. There are important steps to take to ensure you have a safe and successful work out and that you are seeing the results you wanted. Here are some things to know about how to work out for beginners.

Starting Slow

Starting slow is one of the more important things that you should know as a beginner. Since your body is not used to all the strenuous activity that the other muscular guys you see at the gym are used to, you must take at least 2 to 3 weeks to ease your body into full on work out mode. Going all out from day one can have some serious repercussions because that much stress on your body that your body is not used to can cause pain and long term damage. Do not start pushing your limits right away either because it will seem more like a chore to work out and you will not want to commit to something that difficult.

Stretching and Warming Up

Stretching before and after a workout is crucial so that your muscles may have full range of motion and you can make the most out of your work out. Stretching also prevents your muscles from cramping up, which can be very bad especially if they cramp up while you are lifting heavy weights. Warming up before workouts is also important because you can get your blood flowing with a light jog, a few minutes on a stationary bike, or by jumping rope. Once you are warmed up, your body is ready to conquer the workouts you have scheduled for the day.

Proper Rest

Beginners should also know that working out does not have to be an everyday activity. In fact, it is often recommended that everyone should have a day's rest in between workout days, to ensure you have enough energy for your next workout. As part of your workout schedule, you should also make sure that you are working out different body parts during the week. Creating a fixed workout schedule helps you to stay on target with your workouts too. In order for your body to fully recover, you should be sleeping at least eight hours each day.

Eating Right

Nutrition is also an important part of working out. Beginners often neglect proper nutrition too, but in order to see the best results, you have to eat right. For weight loss, you have to eat less calories than you burn, but to build muscle, you actually have to eat more calories than you use. It is also important that you do not work out on an empty stomach. You should have eaten something light an hour or two before your workout, which ensures you have enough energy for your workout. Without food in your stomach, you will not be able to lift enough weight and complete all the exercises you were hoping to. Another important thing to remember is that you should be hydrated at all times. Drinking lots of water keeps your body healthy, and allows you to perform your best during your workouts.

Keeping Records

Something that all beginners should know about how to work out is that working out should not be a sporadic thing. In fact, as a beginner, you will want to keep a detailed record of your workouts from day one, and track your progress and improvement. If you start seeing results after a few weeks, then you know your workouts are working. If you do not see any results after several months of hard work, then there is a problem with how you are working out and you need to change up how you do things.

Get a Training Partner

Another thing you should know about working out as a beginner is that it is almost always more fun to work out with a partner. If you can find a reliable partner who will stick to your strict workout schedule with you, then you both will see great results as you continue to work out. A training partner also comes in handy when you are lifting heavy weights and need a spotter so you do not hurt yourself. As training partners, you also keep each other accountable, so neither one of you slips up and eats the wrong thing, or worse, forgets to eat the right things, and you both hit the gym 3 to 4 times a week as per your commitment to each other and your bodies.

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