Where to start for beginners

confused-man

The idea of starting a fitness routine can be a little overwhelming for the beginner. Where do I start? What program do I do? What about supplements? Do I really need them? You might even be a little timid to try something new for fear of getting hurt. Well that’s ok because it’s a legitimate feeling and those are legitimate questions.

Here I’ll answer some common questions.

Where do I start? You want to start by getting your movements assessed. It’s important to figure out where your limitations are so you can start targeting those areas and avoid injury. Having limited mobility is a very normal thing believe it or not. The good news is, it is correctable. I would suggest setting up an appointment with a physical therapist and explain to them what you’re trying to do. I would also highly suggest you pick a physical therapist that works with crossfit athletes.

What program do I do? People are overly picky about programs. The best program is the one you believe in because it’s most likely the one you’ll actually put the effort into and remain consitent with. After all consistency is the most important factor in success. So check out our programming here and on other websites and find one you think you’ll enjoy. If you pick one and realize you don’t like it then go ahead and pick a different one.

Should I take supplements? Yes. You should take a whey protein shake after your workouts. It will help you see results and results are the ultimate motivator. Women tend to be less likely to drink a shake after a workout because there is this fear of bulking or becoming huge. I promise ladies, you will not get huge. You will however get tight, and I think you will enjoy that very much.

I’m afraid of getting hurt. If you’re afraid of getting hurt find some professional help. Sign up for a crossfit gym and take some classes. I didn’t start olympic weightlifting until I was 29 because I wanted to learn from someone who actually knew what they were talking about.

I’ve always ran to get in shape, why can’t I just do that? I would respond with another question. Why did you stop then? Because running is boring after long enough! Plus it’s not that great for you. Running here and there is fantastic don’t get me wrong but over the long-term it is a lot of wear and tear on your joints and body. You would do your mind and body some good by adding some strength in there too. Some of the most immobile people are the hard-core runners, and then when you add in some dynamic movement you have a recipe for injury. The goal should be freedom of movement without pain.

Recovery matters

When people first start an exercise program the most overlooked aspect tends to be recovery.  This plays a huge factor in your results, which ultimately helps keep you motivated and on track.

To explain just how important recovery is I’ll tell you a story.  On my second deployment I had a workout partner.  We set up a team competition with two other guys that was to take place at the end of the deployment.  It consisted of a 1.5 mile run, 2k row on the concept2 rower, max strict pull ups, dead lift, bench press, and back squat.  Me and my partner literally did 95% of our training together.  The only real difference was my devotion to the recovery process and his lack of devotion to recovery.  Don’t get me wrong about his work ethic,  he always crushed his workouts to the best of his ability, but over time the difference between the two of us became clear.  By the end of it the competition was based on points.  The more points the better and the best combined total for each pair wins.  I ended up scoring 18 and my partner scored 3.

Now I’ll go into three major factors in recovery.

Nutrition.

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I recommend taking a protein shake 30-60 minutes before working out or eating a meal 90 minutes before a workout.  You want to have an adequate energy supply to get the right amount of intensity.  An absolute must is getting something in your system after you exercise.  Your body is starting the adaptation process and without getting the proper nutrients your workout was completely worthless.  When it comes to a post workout shake you get what you pay for.  The more expensive recovery shakes tend to digest much faster helping you recover faster.

The next important phase of recovery is sleep.

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The following information is from ninds.nih.gov

“Deep sleep coincides with the release of growth hormone in children and young adults. Many of the body’s cells also show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins during deep sleep. Since proteins are the building blocks needed for cell growth and for repair of damage from factors like stress and ultraviolet rays, deep sleep may truly be “beauty sleep.” Activity in parts of the brain that control emotions, decision-making processes, and social interactions is drastically reduced during deep sleep, suggesting that this type of sleep may help people maintain optimal emotional and social functioning while they are awake. A study in rats also showed that certain nerve-signaling patterns which the rats generated during the day were repeated during deep sleep. This pattern repetition may help encode memories and improve learning.”

I think they explained it better than I ever could.  To add to that, since I’ve put more emphasis on sleeping better I’ve made massive improvements on all my max lifts and metabolic conditioning workouts. I’ve felt generally better all around and had a more consistent good mood.

Lastly, I’ll cover massage therapy or some people call it trigger point.

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There is a lot of technical jargon out there about myofacial release and foam rolling/trigger pointing.  Here I’ll keep it super simple.  By rolling out and massaging your muscles you can reduce soreness, increase blood flow, and speed up recovery.  It also helps to prevent injury.  This is the perfect thing to do on the living room floor while you watch TV.  It may be painful, and if it is that means your muscles are unhealthy so the more you treat yourself the less painful it becomes.  Eventually, you’ll actually look forward to it.

So there you have three major components to recovery.  I hope you make a solid effort to each one of them because the benefits are tremendous.