A lot of friends ask me how I got started. And questions like: “How do you keep up?” “What if you can’t?” “Is it difficult?” “What do you wear?” “How do you commit?” And I figured I had the same bunch of questions too when I started out.
I had my taste of my first workout during an Adidas Event sometime late September last year. The event had 3 sessions: Warm-up, Calisthenics, and Acro-Yoga. There was a different instructor for each session. I went to the event with my cousin, Niki. I figured that I if fainted in the middle of the workout better have someone faint with me. Hahaha!
Long story short, our lungs nearly exploded as early as the warm-up; we hit the benches and missed the entire Calisthenics session. I thought my soul left my body during those mountain climbers! For the last session, Acro-Yoga, we decided to finally get off the benches and finish strong, well since my sister was teaching.
Looking back I realized that I got it all wrong. I thought that with everyone doing such a great job during the entire workout, I had to push as hard and as strong. I thought pausing was weakness and I gave all my energy in just one blow, just to keep up with everybody…as early as the warm-up. And maybe a lot of first timers like me would’ve done the same thing, or thought the same way. And well, the truth is everyone needs to start somewhere.
So I made a quick list to keep in mind for people who are just starting out:
1. Do It At Your Own Pace
Your body is your own machine. Everyone doesn’t have the same pace. If you’re a beginner, don’t pressure yourself to be as quick as everyone else. Some have been doing all these workouts for months, or years now, so don’t be too hard on yourself; you’ll get there. Start at your own pace. Remember that it’s your body. Only you know your limits. You have to understand your body. As you go on you’ll get to know more about it, when to stop and when to challenge yourself further. But your body’s strength should be your basis and not the person next to you. And to be honest, people at the gym don’t care whatever you’re doing; everyone’s more focused on their own thing, so should you.
2. Focus on Form
I used to think that the more sets I do, the better I am at doing it. But it actually doesn’t work that way. Quality should always be over quantity. If you’re not doing it right, you’re actually just wasting your time and energy, and worse, it might lead to injury. For one, always watch that back! Also, look out for your joints; like your knees when running and your wrists when lifting weights. Basic things you have to watch out for are: your posture, your range of motion, and the tension on your muscles. So whether it’s your personal trainer, your workout app, or your yoga instructor, make sure to pay special attention on how they do it. If you’re gonna do it, better do it right.
It seems simple but sometimes you tend to forget about it when you’re giving it your best. And it may sound simple, but it makes everything a lot easier. Hey, sometimes when you’re too focused on something you forget the important things. It sounds funny, but it happens. I remember doing yoga for the first time and I did not find it relaxing at all. I realized I was holding my breath most of the time, trying to do all those yoga positions (Haha!). Breathing not only keeps you from passing out but it’s actually relaxing.
You’re sweating. And you’re sweating a lot! You have to replace all those lost fluids in your body! But when you sweat, your body doesn’t only lose water but a lot of electrolytes as well. In simple terms that’s fuel to your muscles to keep you going. Personally, I find it more helpful to drink electrolyte sports drinks than water. But whichever works, keep that body hydrated. Hydrating not only replaces lost water in your body, but it also helps regulate your body temperature.
5. Dress Appropriately
The first time I showed up for my first sweat sesh I had no idea what to wear. For one, I knew I wanted to feel comfortable; which is by the way, important. So I decided to show up in some random shirt, a pair of leggings, and rubber shoes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, in fact, those are the basics; but if I only knew I’d share a photo with Solenn Heussaff then I wished I wore something better or at least picked out a better shirt (Ugh). But anyway, those three things I mentioned are actually the basics (Although for events you’d like to wear something nicer. My picture above explains why).
I’ve already mentioned comfort. Another you should consider is fabric. You’d like fabric that could wick off sweat, like Polyester or Latex. The workout technology of the fabric matters. It will keep you cool while working out. You don’t necessarily need to wear high-end brands. But honestly, in terms of quality there will be a difference. Adidas Climachill is the best I’ve ever tried so far; but since it’ll be quite an investment stocking up on outfits, focusing on fabric when shopping is a good start. There’s nothing wrong about cotton during light workouts; just keep in mind that the heavier the workout, the sweatier you get.
For leggings I like checking on the stitching. If you do a lot of leg work, make sure the quality of the stitching of your leggings would hold. You sure don’t want to end up with ripped trousers when you reach the finish line during your 5K run! One more thing I would like to add, for women, do wear a sports bra. It will give you more support than a regular bra can offer. You’ll be doing a lot of different movements, you’ll need it. Believe me. Make sure to get one that will give you good support, but is comfortable.
6. Have A Workout Partner
No matter how dedicated you are, you will have lazy days. With a partner, you tend to push each other further. You motivate each other to keep going, especially when you’re about to turn and give up.
Personally though, I learned that it’s better to have more than one workout partner. It’s such a big world and there are a bunch of workouts out there I would love to try; sometimes it’s hard to find someone who would be willing to try them out no matter how hard you try. And I had it convincing people to do stuff with me; not that I can’t do it on my own, but it’s just so much fun to share it with someone.
So I’ve decided to work around the problem. I have a friend who loves to go running with me, another who’s okay with just going to the gym, and yet another who just prefers Fitness events. Before even realizing it, although in different forms, I now have a “squad” who shares the love for fitness. And we push each other to go further. Plus, at least if one gives up entirely on everything, well at least I still have the rest of the girls to share this journey with.
I don’t know about you, but it works for me to surround myself with more than one person. It works. But if you don’t have much friends who are interested, well at least try to find one. And do push each other to just do it! Having a partner also takes away all the awkwardness during any first time in class.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Try New Things
The easiest way to try something new is to sign up for gym membership. Yes, the membership is worth it. Most gyms are kinda like a one-stop shop. Aside from the equipment and the private instructors, they also offer a lot of workout classes. From Piloxing to Cardio Martial Arts; Yoga to Indoor Cycling— they have a little of everything. If you’re still in a stage of trying to find out what kind of workout suits you, the gym is a perfect place to explore and find out.
There are a lot of studios out there nowadays that specialize on specific workouts. If you’re still sceptic about which to try, since classes in these fancy studios are kinda pricey, try attending classes in the gym. They will help you find out which you would enjoy and which is perfect for you. Classes are designed to be beginner friendly so you don’t have to worry about trying it out for the first time. And hey, you’ll never know if you’ll love it until you try it. And you’ll be surprised with what your body can do!
Also, make sure to watch out for Fitness Events; Adidas and Nike each host their own events, for example. It’s my favorite go-to place to try new things, meet people, and just experience the energy of their community.
I know these are just a few tips but I hope you find them helpful in your workouts. Just remember always, that you do it for yourself and not for anybody else. Above all, just have fun! (And Spoiler Alert: The best part is the happy hormones post-workout!) 😀