Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen: Plus Size Fitness Newbies: 10 Tips To Get Started Right

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Plus Size Fitness Newbies: 10 Tips To Get Started Right

There are times when I introduce myself as a health and fitness coach or let people know I am studying for my personal training certification, I get that nasty little voice in the back of my head saying, "I bet they are thinking, how can she be a fitness expert when she isn't even fit herself?" Well, you are right, I'm not skinny, lean, toned, ripped, or however people classify "fitness experts". I am a plus size woman smack dab in the middle of her journey, and I have felt that I need to help others just like me reach their goals too. So, I became a coach, and started training to be that expert. And guess what? I'm not the only plus size gal to do so!

Plus size is defined by clothing sizes, not by how physically strong someone is or what their endurance levels are. I am literally working my ass off to reach my goals to be lean, toned and strong and at a healthy fat percentage. But not skinny. I don't want to be skinny. I want to be strong! But these insecurities of not being good enough in the physique department I have had for awhile. It held me back for years from going to a gym or truly feeling comfortable at a gym. Wearing shorts in public.

So here are my tips if you are just getting started with your fitness or getting back into fitness after some time away and you body is not where you wish it were. Basically, on how you can over come fitness related insecurities.
1) Start With Something Fun
If you love dancing, DANCE! Sign up for a dance class, do Zumba, or Country Heat. Dance! When you are enjoying your workout, it won't feel like work and the time will fly by. Don't start with running if you don't like it just because XYZ lost a ton of weight when she started running. Do something that you enjoy. Don't know what you enjoy to do? Try a bunch of different things. MMA, Cross Fit, Dancing, strength training, cycling, get a personal trainer. There are tons out there that you can do that don't involve walking on the treadmill or using the elliptical for hours every week (unless you really like walking on the treadmill or using the elliptical). Or interested in having unlimited access to over 600 workouts and growing? SEND ME AN EMAIL and let's chat!
2) Don't Fall Back Into A Crutch Workout Routine
Years ago you were able to walk on the treadmill or elliptical and were able to maintain. So what do you do when you start going back to the gym? Start with the treadmill and or elliptical. I did that you guys! Because it was safe. Because it was what I was used to. Because I could watch TV! There are so many different types of exercises you can do now that will challenge you, that will help your bones get stronger, that will help your heart function better, that will help your body shape literally change. Don't start back in with your comfortable crutch workout routine. Try new things! (see above for ideas of other types of workouts)

3) Invest In A Good Bra
You don't have to invest in cute exercise clothing but you need to invest in a good sports bra. Especially if you are just back into working out, your size may have changed, or your old bra might be a little too worn down. Invest in a new bra to help keep you comfortable. I honestly love the new cute, strappy back bras. But they might not be good on runs, and sometimes I have to double up on them if I am doing plyometrics. So check the intensity meter on the bra before you buy. A cute one with medium intensity would be this Queenie Ke Strappy Back Energy Sports bra.

4) Exercise Clothing
I said above that you don't have to invest in cute exercise clothing, but you might want to buy a few key pieces to get you started. When I uncomfortable exercising in a guy, I wore a XL cotton shirt and exercise shorts with cotton undies. It was so hot and uncomfortable, but heaven forbid I wear a tank top and actually feel comfortable temperature wise at the gym. It wasn't until I decided, it's a gym who cares, that I started to wear tanks and then started to invest in new clothing to exercise in. Wear what you are comfortable in. But don't feel like you have to suffer in cotton shirts and undies or sleeved shirts and long pants when it is 105 inside and outside of the gym. There are so many cute and amazing affordable clothing out there now. And when you wear something cute you feel better too, and your whole experience just get better. I personally wear capris and longer shorts. Helps with chaffing issues. And eventually, you will need some good shoes too, especially if you are running. I personally love my Brooks running shoes and use them for my workouts right now until I find a pair of cross training shoes I love!

5) Don't Put Off What You Want To Do Because Of Your Weight
Just because you aren't at your goal weight doesn't mean you can't start a brand new at home program or go to a gym. Or be in a yoga class. Or do cross fit. Pole dancing. Belly dancing. Or whatever you want to do. Don't say, "when I get to my goal weight, then I can go..." or don't get in the habit of saying, "if only I could lose weight I could..." Your body knows what you are saying and those phrases are full of deep negativity. You have to change your mindset to reach your goals. Use this a a brand new step in your journey. A new adventure. One that is going to be totally different than all the times before because you can see the changes. Because you have free online support and motivation to help keep you going when the times get tough! Do what you want to do now, as you are now. You don't have to be a certain size to do any workout. All you have to do is just start doing that workout.
6) Don't Compare Yourself To Anyone
This goes along with #5 because honestly it is so easy to do this at the gym. When you see another plus size lady running on the treadmill, comfortably and you are dying at 2.5 speed, you start to compare. (BEEN THERE DONE THAT, many times!) Or seeing another woman in the "guys section" ripped and lifting major weights. It can be really intimidating to go over there and lift weights. You are where you are in your journey. And they are where they are in their journey. And for all you know, they could have started right where you are at. You never know where someone is in their journey. Don't think that you will never get there because you can. You just have to be consistent with the gym, and eating right and over time it will happen!
7) Be Sure To Always Warm Up, Cool Down and Stretch
Something that is easily forgotten when you just want to be done. Make sure you take a quick 5 minute warm up and cool down before and after every workout. Just on the treadmill, or around the track. Nothing too strenuous. Even before you go into a class. Get in a quick warm up so that you are ready to go before their warm up, sometimes those warm ups are like the start of the workout. It is just go-go-go! And stretch at the end too! This will help to avoid injuries. And if you are sore from the previous day it will help to loosen up those sore muscles so that you can torture, I mean work them again! Don't just finish and run to do something else. Take the time to stretch out your legs, back, arms so that you don't get too sore. Think of it as helping your body lengthen out into lean long muscles because that is what you are doing. You are helping your muscles relax out so they don't cramp up on you.

8) Weight Loss Shouldn't Be Your Only Goal
As easy as it is to exercise because you want to lose weight. It is just like the term "diet." It won't last. When the scale doesn't go down, or it goes up (as it often does in the beginning as the muscles are getting stronger and fat loss hasn't started yet) you can get frustrated and call it quits. But don't do that. Sure, the scale might not be moving, but think about all the other benefits you are doing for your body with exercise and healthy eating. Strengthening your heart, bones, muscles. Lubricating your joints so you don't hurt as much. Getting endorphins pumped into your body helping you feel happier. Body shape literally changing. Glowing from the inside out because your organs are working better, being more efficient because you are feeding your body what it needs and hydrating. The list goes on and on. When things get tough and you feel like quitting, just remember this is more than just losing weight. You are setting an example to your kids. You are being an inspiration to your friends or co-workers. You are showing people that being consistent with something in life is possible.
9) Celebrate EVERY Moment and Accomplishment No Matter How Big Or Small
Celebrate the fact you went to the gym 3 days, 4 days, 5 days in a row. Celebrate that you pants feel looser. Non Scale Victory as we like to call them. Celebrate how well you are feeling. Celebrate any time you drop 10 pounds, or a dress size. The key to celebrating is how you celebrate it. Don't use food as your way to celebrate, which is what we often equate celebrating to. Find something else to do to celebrate. Some people put money in a jar for every pound lost and when they hit X pounds lost they have enough money to buy a new outfit. Or purse. Or a trip. Celebrate with telling your friends your accomplishments, because they are watching your story. You are helping to inspire them to get off their butts and get moving too! Celebrate with new gym equipment at home. A Bosu ball. New free weights. Get a mani, or pedi! Anything way you can celebrate without it focusing on food. Don't get me wrong, you can still celebrate with foods, but make it for a really big goal. Like 50 pound loss. Or hitting your goal weight, or birthdays, holidays. And just stick with food type celebrations as a holiday.
Losing weight is the hardest thing you will ever do and it will take TIME. There are going to be times where you question yourself and think what you are doing is crazy. There are going to be times where you workouts sucks. There are going to be times where you don't have the energy or motivation to do it. But...BE CONSISTENT! Make a goal to exercise at home or go to the gym no matter what 3 times a week. No ifs, ands or butts about it. Every week. Make it a goal. That way you are still doing something for your body with ample rest time in between. But darn well try to exercise more often if you can. Aiming for 4-6 days a week is great! Again finding something you love will help out so much in the motivation department. Just be consistent with your exercising. With your healthy eating. With doing what you know you should do and you will make changes to your body. You will reach your goals. And the only thing that will determine how fast or slow you make it to those goals is you and how hard you work for them!

Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! Don't forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK!
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