A Beginners Guide to Health & Fitness!

Congratulations on taking the first step in improving and controlling your health and appearance. It’s an amazing thing and I PROMISE it will get easier with time, practice and patience. Whenever you start something new, your body and brain are going to throw tantrums. It's okay! Just know that it will happen, let it happen and keep moving forward.

First thing is to get a clear image in your head of the person you want to be and how you want to look. Then come up with a realistic goal. For example, “I want to lose 15 pounds and be able to do 5 pull-ups.” Obviously your goal is your own. Be as specific as you can be for where you’re at right now.

Next set a time frame and deadline. Something like, “I want to lose 15 pounds and do 5 pull-ups in 4 months.” Again, this is your own. Set a challenging goal/deadline but don’t set yourself up for failure. You deserve to win. You deserve to be the person you want to be and look how you want to look. Don’t you EVER forget that.

Next, surround yourself with support. Friends, family, etc. Whomever you know and trust to stay positive with you and not bring you down with bullshit like, “Why are you doing that?” “Oh you don’t need to lose weight.” “Doesn’t this pizza look gooood though?” If you don’t have positive people around, it’s okay. Be your own cheerleader and use YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr as your motivation. There are so many people doing this with you. Working out hard, eating healthy and taking control of their lives and their happiness. You’re in very good company.

OKAY! That’s the mental/emotional stuff. Now for the physical! Don’t worry about the gym right now. You really don’t need it at this point anyway... or ever if you have space in your home, a park nearby or any space large enough for you to lay down flat with your arms and legs extended completely. And you don’t need any equipment right now either. Later you can add that stuff in if you want.

You can do a simple full-body routine with a bit of cardio and core for a great workout. Or split up the workouts like Upper Body and Cardio one day, Lower Body and Core the next and Cardio and Core the next. Start slow so your mind and body can adapt to your new lifestyle. Maybe a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule to begin with. Once you establish that routine and are consistent, switch to a 5-7 day a week workout if you want. These are the most simple and effective exercises for you right now. They will be difficult but just be patient and do what you can do. WE ALL START SOMEWHERE and that place is usually crappy.

(60 second rounds with 10 second rests) (Build up to repeating the circuit 3-5 times) or (3 sets of 10-15 reps) (Rest for 10 seconds between sets)

  • Jump Rope

  • Jumping Jacks

  • High Knees

  • Heel Ups

  • Mountain Climbers

(60 second rounds with 10 second rests) (Build up to repeating the circuit 3-5 times) or (3 sets of 10-15 reps) (Rest for 10 seconds between sets)

  • Arm Circles Forward

  • Arm Circles Backward

  • Push-ups

  • Dips

  • Pull-ups (If you can't do them yet, do another set of push-ups)

(60 second rounds with 10 second rests) (Build up to repeating the circuit 3-5 times) or (3 sets of 10-15 reps) (Rest for 10 seconds between sets)

  • Squats

  • Sumo Squats

  • Skier Squats

  • Alternating Lunges

  • Wall Sits (3, 60 second rounds)

(60 second rounds with 10 second rests) (Build up to repeating the circuit 3-5 times) or (3 sets of 10-15 reps) (Rest for 10 seconds between sets)

  • Crunches

  • Flutter Kicks

  • Russian Twists

  • Leg Raises

  • Plank (3, 60 second rounds)

Now all of that is great but your nutrition is BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT THING for your health, weight loss and muscle growth. To overuse the incredibly overused saying, “You build muscles in the gym but you see them in the kitchen.”

Again, keep it simple right now. You need successes not struggles. Here are some basic rules you can follow to start shedding fat almost immediately. If you can do all of these right away, great. If it's too daunting, then pick two two start with and then keep adding one every week or so.

  • Drink lots of water. First thing when you wake up, lots throughout the day and last thing before you sleep.

  • Eat lots of leafy green vegetables. Kale, spinach, broccoli, etc.

  • Eat more fish than any other meat. If you don’t like fish, then chicken is great. Other meats are fine too but chicken and fish are magical.

  • Eat smaller portions but do not starve yourself. You need to eat to lose weight and to get stronger. If you're goal is to get bigger, then you can increase your portion size and caloric intake. Using smaller plates & bowls is really helpful.

  • Cut down on carbs. You don’t have to swear them off altogether but you shouldn’t be eating carbs every meal or even every day… depending on your goals.

  • Get your carbs & sugars from fresh fruit but don’t overdo it. Have an apple as a mid day snack or a handful of strawberries or frozen grapes for dessert.

  • Try not to eat within a couple hours of bedtime and if you can stick to a 9-13 hour eating window, that will go a long way too.

  • No pasta.

  • No fried foods.

  • No sodas or candy.

  • No beer.

  • No cheat meals until you hit your first goal. After that, one meal a week, eat whatever you want! Just one meal though. A cheat day/weekend can completely ruin a healthy week.

Nutrition is the most important part but it is also the most challenging. Anyone can workout for an hour but staying focused for the other 23 hours of the day is obviously more taxing. Especially if you love to eat... which I do. So I feel your pain and I know your struggle. SO WHAT!? Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. 

That’s basically it. THERE IS NO SECRET. Consistent healthy nutrition and consistent focused workouts WILL make you lose fat and build strength and muscle. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself the time and space to change. You didn’t become overweight or underweight or unhealthy overnight and it won’t change overnight either. Just know, there is literally NOTHING stopping you from doing this and you can and should, be exactly who you want to be!

I know it seems like a lot but just take things one step at a time. I believe in you.

Be well and do good.

grahm baker