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5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Fitness Journey

Getting started is by far the hardest part when it comes to fitness and health, but here are a few things I learned the importance of quickly on my fitness journey.
After over a decade of coaching, training, and competing, these are the top 5 things I wish I knew when I got started. 
If you are just getting started or are fairly new, these 5 things maybe helpful for you. 

1. Staying hydrated. This not only improves overall performance but it also helps with mental clarity. And if you are someone who likes to get your steps in, walking to the bathroom 20+ times a day will add to your steps! 

What are the benefits to staying hydrated?

Staying hydrated offers a variety of benefits to your body, let me just name a few...

Proper hydration helps regulate body temperature, maintain blood pressure, carry nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, lubricate joints, aid digestion and much more. Additionally, staying hydrated can help improve your mood and mental performance while promoting healthy skin and a strong immune system. Proper hydration is also important for athletes, as it helps the body perform at its best and recover more quickly from strenuous physical activity.

Staying hydrated can also help reduce constipation and lead to fewer headaches. By ensuring that you remain properly hydrated throughout the day, you can enjoy all these benefits and live a healthier life. 

If you are not a fan of plain old fashioned water, there are all sorts of flavored water "enhancements" that make drinking all the water more enjoyable. Be prepared to add peeing to your list of hobbies lol.

2. Dynamic warm ups before lifting helps prevent injury. Don't sleep on this one, some of us learned the hard way. 

What are the benefits of dynamic warm-ups?

Dynamic warm-ups provide a number of benefits to those who take the time to do them... but really you should take the time to do them..

The benefits include improved flexibility, better range of motion and increased coordination.

They also help improve cardiovascular conditioning and reduce the risk of injury. Dynamic warm-ups can help enhance overall performance as they prepare the body for physical exertion by increasing body temperature and engaging the muscles. This helps to increase power, agility and speed while preparing the athlete for more vigorous activities.

Last but not least, dynamic warm-ups can help improve mental focus and energy levels as the exercises stimulate blood flow throughout the body. All of these benefits come together to create a better overall performance from athletes when they take the time to properly warm up.

3. Using HIIT as a form of cardio to maintain muscle and burn fat. I used to do all the cardio and wonder why i didn't "look" as muscular. Your body is going to use the next readily available energy source, which sadly, is typically muscle 

What are the benefits of HIIT training/cardio

HIIT cardio has several benefits that make it a popular choice for exercise. The most notable benefit of HIIT is its time-saving nature compared to other forms of cardio. Instead of spending hours on a treadmill, you can get the same results in 20-30 minutes with HIIT. Which back in the day, most would have referred to me as a cardio bunny.

HIIT cardio can help to boost your metabolism. As you exercise at a high intensity and then rest, your body continues to burn calories even after the workout is done due to a process called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). This helps to increase the amount of calories burned throughout the day.

Overall HIIT cardio can help to burn a lot of fat, sculpt and retain muscle mass, while also building anaerobic threshold and lactic threshold capacity.

4. Progressive overload - increasing weight overtime to help build muscle and strength. This was something that took me quite some time to understand. I would just choose the same weight because i knew i could do it, rather than pushing myself to go heavier. We also tend to limit ourselves by not believing we are strong enough, another topic for another day, i digress.

What are the benefits of progressive overload?

Progressive overload is a key principle of training that allows you to continue making progress in your workouts. It helps to increase strength, build muscle, and improve endurance. With progressive overload it is possible to achieve a desired result without plateauing.

The benefits of this technique include increased strength and size gains; improved muscular endurance; increased bone density; decreased risk of injury; improved posture and coordination; and improved cardiovascular health. Additionally, using progressive overload can help you break through plateaus that may have otherwise stopped your progress. Progressive overload can also help to prevent overtraining, as it avoids overworking the same muscle groups by using a gradual increase in intensity and volume. This will ensure you are able to make progress without the risk of injury or burnout.

By consistently following the principles of progressive overload, you can ensure that your workouts are challenging enough to stimulate continuous gains, while also avoiding injury and burnout. With this technique, you can make sure that your workouts are effective and enjoyable, allowing you to achieve the results you desire.

5. Rest and recovery, sleep is a key component to recovery. Listen, I used to be team no-days off, I'll sleep when I'm dead, blah blah blah. I learned the hard way that recovery is VITAL to not only build muscle, but for overall health.

What are the benefits of prioritizing rest AND recovery?

Rest and recovery are incredibly important components of any fitness regimen. When your body is properly rested, it has the chance to repair and rebuild muscles that have been damaged during physical activity.

Prioritizing this helps promote overall strength, endurance and health. Additionally, rest and recovery can help reduce fatigue, allowing you to perform at your best during workouts. Allowing yourself the time and space for recovery can also help reduce overall stress levels, as well as help improve your focus and mental clarity.

Getting adequate sleep can also help regulate hormones, allowing for improved appetite control and better overall health. Finally, recovery can help reduce the risk of injury by allowing your muscles to repair more quickly when you resume physical activity. All of these benefits make rest/recovery an indispensable element of any fitness program.  By taking the time to care for your body, you can maximize the positive effects of your workouts and reach your goals more quickly.

It is important to remember that rest and recovery can come in many different forms, including light exercise, complete rest days and active recovery. Whatever form you choose to incorporate into your fitness routine, it is essential that you listen to your body and give it the time and attention it needs. 

As always, as a coach and trainer I hope to provide value and helpful information. If you are looking for more help to reach your goals, click here! My passion is helping others love their bodies, and the biggest way to do this is by taking care of the one you live in!

Angie Marie Okon

Want to understand how I use macro tracking to eat intuitively while staying in shape? Get the macro cheat sheet guide.

I worked with my team to put together a quick list of some of the most common foods so you are able to reference this as you are focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyleSimpleEasyEffective.


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