Fitness for beginners: 7 tips to get you started

It’s never too late to get in shape: here are some easy ways to get you going.

Want to get fit but haven’t a clue where to start or even how to do it? Before you sign up for your first fitness class or subscribe to a gym, read this advice.

Set realistic goals

Before you so much as lift a weight or sign up for an aerobics class, be realistic with yourself. It’s unlikely you’re going to be running a marathon any time soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hope to in the future – just be kind to yourself. Set achievable goals like being able to lift a certain size of weight or get through a whole fitness class without stopping. You can reassess your goals every few weeks and move the goalposts – that way you’ll see progress instead of failure.

[Read more: 9 ways to get fit without realising you’re trying]

Start slow

Don’t think you’re going to be hitting it hard every day in your first week. Set aside a few days that you will be exercising, and spend the rest focused on being healthy with your diet. You can increase the amount you work as and when, but rest days are extremely important to give your body time to recover and recuperate.

Variety is key

If you find yourself not enjoying a certain exercise, change it; if the gym isn’t doing it for you, sign up for a class that sounds fun or intriguing. And try to mix up your workouts too – throw in a yoga class to counteract the cardio of a treadmill run or sign up for a barre class to challenge your body in a different way.

Kit yourself out

Of course, looking the part will give you a boost too. Check out the high street for great fitness gear and visit a proper sports shop for advice on the best trainers for you – make sure they’re comfortable and supportive to avoid any blisters.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Whether you’re a member of a gym or attending fitness classes, if something doesn’t feel right or you’re unsure on things, ask. The instructors are there to help, and will always offer alternative moves if a certain one doesn’t feel right for you and your body.

Find a buddy

Research has shown time and time again that if you have a friend to workout with, you’re less likely to cry off from a workout. Find a friend who will motivate you - or perhaps you can be their Mr or Ms Motivator - and you can go through the fitness journey together.

Know your body

It’s unlikely you’ll be ache-free from your first few weeks of working out but learn the difference between an ache and something more serious.

Meal prep

The “I’m hungry” excuse is a common one when it comes to skipping exercise. Be prepared by prepping your meals in advance – it’s a key activity for people who take fitness seriously. Think about batch-cooking meals on a Sunday, so you’re less likely to grab something unhealthy on the go and will have your meals all ready for whenever you work out.

Tips and advice brought to you by Voltarol. Voltarol has partnered with Sport Relief pledging to donate £100,000, aiming to motivate and inspire the nation to get off the sofa, get active and undertake their own challenge for Sport Relief. If you’re thinking of getting more active visit for inspiration.