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Hint: Your playlist is everything.
TikTok got you to start baking. It also got you to try fresh new dance moves in front of your mirror (even you, Millennials). And now, it just might inspire you to push past the hurdles of starting a new workout routine, all thanks to the fitness tips for beginners posted by people who have been there.
With countless videos under the hashtags #exercise tips,# beginner-friendly workouts, and #beginner workout tips, you can rest assured there are plenty of folks who are experiencing the same growing pains that come with being new to exercise. Are you unmotivated? Intimidated by the gym? Unsure of which workout routine might be best for you? There’s probably a video for that.
The vast amount of TikTok content featuring fitness tips for beginners also shows just how frustrating and mystifying the process can be. According to Sandra Gail Frayna, a physical therapist at Hudson Premier Physical Therapy & Sports, lots of folks don’t know where to begin and then give up because they don’t see results right away. It’s important to keep in mind that the muscles in your body take time to adapt, she tells Bustle, which is why creating a routine is key.
If you’re excited to get started on a fitness journey, don’t let the fear of being overwhelmed or intimidated hold you back. Instead, scroll through these videos to pick up a few tips — and then dive right in.
As you get started with your new workout routine, it’ll help to have a compelling “why” to fall back on, particularly on the days when you just aren’t feeling it. “It is a known fact that willpower is a finite resource,” says Cathy Spencer-Browning, vice president of programming and training at fitness platform MOSSA, so you really shouldn’t try to rely on it.
Just like in the TikTok above, your reason for working out should go beyond the generic. “Make it a compelling, juicy why,” Spencer-Browning says, like improving your mental health. “Write it down somewhere and keep it where you can reference it.”
Nothing will help you push through a new routine quite like a great playlist. In fact, studies have shown that a good tune can improve your performance by delaying feelings of fatigue and increasing your workout capacity. “This results in higher than expected levels of endurance, power, productivity, and strength,” Spencer-Browning says.
It’s recommended that you listen to something with a quick tempo to trigger your “rhythm response,” Spencer-Browning adds. “It’s scientifically proven that most people are wired to move in time with music.” Who knows? You might find it easier to jog to a Beyoncé beat.
TikTok is full of fun workout ideas, challenges, and inspiration, so use it to find a form of exercise you actually enjoy and feel comfortable doing, instead of forcing yourself to do something that’s boring or doesn’t feel quite “you.”
“The key to exercise longevity is finding something you can fall in ‘like’ with,” Spencer-Browning says. You don’t have to love it, but it should be doable and enjoyable, like TikTok user @marralpn has found with this chair workout above.
From there, it can help to create a more enticing environment for your new fave workout. “If you love yoga, invest in a beautiful yoga mat and enhance your experience by dimming the lights and burning a fragrant candle,” Spencer-Browning suggests. “If you love running to music, create great running playlists that keep you moving.”
If you feel anxious about going to the gym for the first time, it can help to go in with a plan, suggested TikTok user @elisabethfit. Write down a few exercises you’d like to try so you don’t glaze over and forget them all once you get inside. It might also feel nice to wear extra comfy workout clothes and pack a bag with essentials, like headphones and a trusty water bottle.
Another popular tip? Work out with a friend. Whether you meet up at the gym, agree to go for daily walks, or stream the same workout from your separate apartments, Spencer-Browning says you’re way more likely to exercise if you know someone’s waiting on you. “It might even call for a little friendly competition which, can be a big boost to motivation,” she says.
Once you get started, resist the urge to over-complicate your workout by doing too much too soon, says Luke Zocchi, head trainer at Centr. It’s OK to start off slow and keep things simple so you don’t overwhelm or exhaust yourself — take this TikTok from @jennyjfitness as inspo.
It’s also important to schedule in some rest days. As Frayna says, “Your muscles need time to properly rest and recover so that you don’t injure yourself.” One study even found over-exercing can lead to burnout, both physically and mentally.
User @kennnedynichole shared this video about how to use a treadmill, and there are so many more like it on TikTok. If you aren’t sure how to use a tool or machine at the gym, do some research online or ask the gym staff to give a quick rundown. And the same goes for working out at home where you can look up moves and tips.
The moment you feel tempted to look at the other people in spin class to see how hard they’re pedaling or at the yogi next to you who’s standing on their head, stop: Everyone’s body is different, Zocchi says, so everyone’s always going to be at different fitness levels.
“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and remember you’re not competing with anyone,” he says. Even if you agree to a friendly competition with a pal, it’s best to remain focused on what’s right for your body at any given moment. “Nobody will receive the same results as you at the same time,” he says, “so don’t hold yourself to anyone else’s journey but your own.”
If you can’t maintain a run, that’s OK! By staying consistent, you’ll see improvements before you know it.
This video from @mindsetwithkas has good tips for sticking with a new workout routine — and maybe even turning it into a habit. For instance, it may help to drink more water and get more sleep so that you feel awake and energized enough to get up and move. Small things like that can add up to make you even more motivated to sweat — and continue doing it on a regular basis.
Jäncke, L. (2019). Faculty opinions recommendation of neuro-computational impact of physical training overload on economic decision-making. Faculty Opinions – Post-Publication Peer Review of the Biomedical Literature. https://doi.org/10.3410/f.736669796.793565668.
Karageorghis, C. I., & Priest, D. L. (2012). Music in the exercise domain: a review and synthesis (Part I). International review of sport and exercise psychology, 5(1), 44–66. https://doi.org/10.1080/1750984X.2011.631026.
Sandra Gail Frayna, physical therapist at Hudson Premier Physical Therapy & Sports
Cathy Spencer-Browning, vice president of programming and training at MOSSA
Luke Zocchi, head trainer at Centr
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