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Woman resting on the stairs after hard cross training outdoor.

You’ve browsed dozens of Instagram accounts, read the magazines, and even bought the clothes; but if you’ve never worked out before, how do you actually start?

It’s a pretty daunting task. Even if you do know what a dumbbell is, you might not necessarily know what to do with it, and even if you know what to do with it, it can be hard to know what is and what isn’t good form.

Here are a few quick tips if you’re a workout newbie:

Carve out the time.

Close up image of young woman checking the time on smartwatch device after jog, outdoors.

It might sound simple, but you need to figure out when is best for you to work out. Prime time is different for everyone – for some it’s when the kids have gone to bed, for others it’s before they wake up, for others still, lunch time is the only available slot. Figure out your times and PLAN them, book them into your schedule like you would a coffee date with friends. Making a solid plan increases your likelihood of actually going.

Don’t start alone.

Two girls jogging in the city

We’re not saying you need to force your friends to come with, (although that’s not a terrible idea!), we’re saying that if you’re new to this, it’s best you learn from the experts. There are two ways to go about this: Either book yourself a couple of sessions with a personal trainer, who will take your health goals and current fitness level into account and run you through how to use all the scary-looking machinery; or go for a couple of classes. Classes will help you make friends, (oh hey Jenny from Saturday morning yoga), and class instructors will carefully demonstrate each exercise for you so you don’t injure yourself. Both classes and personal trainers will help you figure out what workouts you enjoy, so that you can exercise and actually have fun doing it, so it’s a win-win!

Start slow and simple.

Photo of a man walking by the beach with his dog

While it can be tempting to go from zero to fitness hero in a week. Try to set a workout goal that’s sustainable. If you’ve never worked out, don’t book five classes in a week, start with one or two. Pick a workout with a good warmup and cool down, and use it to assess what you’re capable of. If you find that after a few weeks, two workouts a week doesn’t feel like enough, add another; and if you’re workout feels too easy, modify it to make it a little harder, or just try a workout that will challenge you more.

Have fun.

A beautiful young adult woman enjoys a peaceful moment on the water with her paddle board and faithful pet dog. The sun illuminates the scene, casting a golden glow. Shot in Austin, Texas, USA.

This is probably most important. When you’re new to working out, the last thing you want to do is make yourself hate it. These days, there are enough workouts available to find at least one that you’ll like. Barre, CrossFit, Aerial Yoga, Zumba, Running, Weight-Lifting, Tabata, Swimming, Boxing… the list is endless. So don’t force yourself to do something you hate, pick something you enjoy doing, and you can have fun and get fit while doing it.

Keep track of your progress.

Young woman resting after jogging in the park.

Progress is the best form of motivation! Keep note of how much you’ve worked out and watch it build up over time – when motivation is low, you can look back at what you’ve managed to do and be reminded that you can actually do this!

Don’t forget you can track your exercise in Lifesum. Click the plus button in the app to add your daily activity and head to the stats section to see all your exercise over time.

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams