"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame Baseball player in his 1996 address to the graduates of Montclair State University
I'm dedicating this article to the beginner. To the person who is mentally preparing themselves to get in shape. The individual who suddenly has realized after many years that they simply cannot continue being overweight, tired and listless with muscles that resemble a bowl of Jell-O.
You want to begin eating right and exercising, but you have absolutely no idea where to begin. You're sort of scared. It is possible that you have never set foot in a health club and would almost rather not pursue this endeavor because it just seems so daunting. But you know you must! I've always taken great pleasure in training the man or woman who walks into the gym for the first time. I've always viewed it as a courageous, intelligent act of taking responsibility for one's own health. I enjoy training beginners, because they get to learn things correctly from the start as opposed to re-learning ineffective habits they picked up from an infomercial.
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Here are my top 10 tips for the beginner:
1. DON'T WORRY ABOUT FEAR. Understand that it's OK to feel somewhat unsure of yourself prior to starting an exercise and nutrition program. The psychological aspect is the first thing to accept. There will be a lot to learn concerning weight training, cardiovascular exercise and nutrition. However, recognize that as you begin the process, you will continually learn, get more comfortable and, most importantly, make progress.
2. DECIDE. In most articles, this point is referred to as goal setting. However, I prefer "DECIDE," because I see too many people fail with goal setting. I realize it's a play on words, but it seems to work. You'll need to write down and DECIDE what it is you want to accomplish.
For example, you may decide you want to lose 30 pounds of body fat and gain two to three pounds of muscle. Maybe you'll decide you want to be able to walk five miles without losing your breath, or possibly fit into that size 8 dress or 31" inch waist pants. Write it down and make it quantifiable. Just saying "I want to get in shape and lose weight" is not quantifiable. There's no target.