LEP Fitness


From Couch Potato to Gym Bunny: Building Up Your Fitness From Scratch…

Building Up Your Fitness

Have you been living a sedentary lifestyle for a while?

Maybe you’ve been recovering from an injury or operation, or perhaps you work a desk job, and your day to day tasks never involve that much physical activity.

Not only is this incredibly bad for your health, but it can be really impractical too. When your fitness levels drop very low, you can find yourself feeling breathless after climbing just one flight of stairs or even walking down the street. On the occasion that you do need to move your body, you’re puffing and panting and it can be unpleasant and actually quite embarrassing.

If you’ve found yourself at this stage- don’t panic. It’s perfectly possible to build your endurance back up, and you can do so quicker than you might think. Here’s how you can build a foundation level of fitness from scratch.

Set a schedule

You don’t need to be working out for hours at a time, however, if you’re serious about improving your fitness then this is something you will need to be doing on a regular basis.

Don’t set unrealistic goals as you’ll fail and then feel like quitting completely. Instead, work out what will suit you and your lifestyle. You could aim for three workouts a week, and then focus on standing and walking more the rest of the time.

Another tip I would highly recommend is… sitting down each week and planning out your weekly routine i.e.:

  • Monday – 10,000 step walk
  • Tuesday – Couch to 5k app
  • Wednesday – Gym class
  • Thursday – rest
  • Friday – Bootcamp training
  • Saturday – personal training session
  • Sunday – rest

You could also plan ahead i.e. monthly or even longer! For me, I typically plan 12 weeks ahead. I like to commit to a certain routine for 90 days as it’s enough time to see amazing results, and it’s a relatively short time frame.

Buy a Fitness tracker

If you invest in a fitness tracker, you’ll be able to keep tabs on exactly how much you’ve done and what you still need to do to meet your weekly goals. I like to use a Fitbit activity tracker but there are lots to choose from, so make sure to have a look online at the one that will suit you best.

Find an exercise that’s right for you and build it up gradually

If you haven’t exercised for a while, you probably won’t be able to hit the treadmill and go full speed. You won’t be able to do a class involving high impact or high energy workouts as these will tailored to those with higher fitness levels.

Even those that are no stranger to exercise can get hurt with these kinds of activities as they’re so hard on the body. Issues like body asymmetry can be one of the common hip pain running causes, and problems like plantar fasciitis can occur in those with naturally high arched feet. Start by finding an exercise that you feel comfortable doing, a stationary bike at the gym is a good one, and so is walking on a treadmill. Start on the lowest resistance and workout for up to an hour, it can feel hard at first but you’ll quickly adapt. As it becomes easier, put up the resistance. Eventually, you’ll reach a base level of fitness and will find that you can try other pieces of gym equipment.

If you work out three times a week, pushing yourself until you’re tired (but aren’t dangerously exhausted) you’re likely to see improvements in as little as four weeks. The more you do, the less like hard work it will feel and you’ll actually start to enjoy the burn.

Get some personal training sessions

Once you have a foundation level of fitness, it can be worth booking some PT sessions. They will be able to show you different exercises and different pieces of equipment. They will be able to recommend exercises based on your body type and goals. Even if you only have a few initial sessions, they can teach you what you need to know for working out by yourself in future.

If you can’t afford personal training (which is anything between £20-£100 per hour) then why not try group personal training? You can train with your friends for less (typically £5-£15 per session) and enjoy some social time too.

Other options to consider could include bootcamp training or fitness classes at the gym. There is a lot to be said for hiring an expert, it’s much easier than trying to figure it all out for yourself.