If you’re completely new to activity, or it’s been a while, it can feel a little bit scary. What’s brilliant about Slimming World’s Body Magic programme is that it’s all about moving at your own pace – the most important thing is just getting going! These beginner’s tips will get you started with safe, steady activity sessions that, alongside the Slimming World eating plan, can help to supercharge your slimming progress.
Get an MOT
If it’s been a long time since you were last active, you feel like you’re very unfit, you have a health condition or you’re planning on trying something quite strenuous for the first time, then getting the thumbs up from your GP is a good idea.
Adding five minutes before your activity to warm up will help to prevent injury. You’ll find a good example of a warm-up, with video, here. And don’t forget to cool down with some gentle stretches, too.
When starting any type of fitness routine, taking things at a gentle pace is the smartest approach. You could begin with low-impact activities like cycling, walking, beginners’ yoga or some easy home exercises. Heading to your local pool (when it reopens) is excellent for exercise newbies, as the water supports your weight and reduces stress to the joints and muscles. While it provides a lovely low impact way to exercise, water also provides more resistance than air – so your muscles are actually getting a better workout, without it feeling too strenuous.
Try before you buy
Finding something that you enjoy is the key to sticking to a new activity – and trying lots of different things will help you to discover what floats your boat. A quick search online will throw up an endless variety of workouts, from simple circuits and dance sessions to floor exercises and much more.
Comfort is key
Whatever activity you’re planning to try, you’ll enjoy it a whole lot more if you feel comfortable. A basic outfit of leggings or jogging bottoms, a T-shirt and supportive trainers will see you through lots of activities, like jogging and home workouts. If you fancy hiking or running on rough terrain, though, the right footwear is vital. There’s no need to splash out on anything fancy or expensive – feeling comfortable is the main thing.
Think outside the box
If jogging, cycling or full-body workouts aren’t your thing, there are so many different ways to get active that there’s bound to be something with your name on it. Dog walking, hill hiking, ballet, boxing, skating, trampolining… the list goes on! Whether you love the great outdoors or prefer to be at home, like to buddy up or would rather go solo, there’s something to suit everyone.
Set small goals
Although it’s great to have something to aim for, setting really ambitious targets can sometimes be counterproductive. If you feel like you’re not progressing as quickly or as well as you’d like, a big end goal can forever seem out of your grasp – which will quickly become frustrating and demotivating.
Try taking little steps towards the end goal of a fitter, healthier you. Each time you hit one of these small targets, your sense of achievement will spur you on to the next one.
MORE FOR MEMBERS: Slimming World members can work towards Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Body Magic awards, which will take you through different levels of fitness and reward you for your efforts
It’s simple stuff and it’s essential during exercise. If you’re new to an activity it can be difficult to know how much you need to drink. NHS advice is to ensure that you start any exercise session ‘well hydrated’. This means drinking 6-8 mugs or glasses of fluid per day. The amount that you’ll need to drink during and after your workout will depend on how much you sweat, and will vary from person to person, but your thirst is a good barometer.
Think about food
A healthy, balanced diet is important, no matter what your activity levels, and the brilliant thing about Food Optimising is that no food groups are excluded. Some diets encourage you to cut carbs to lose weight, this food group is actually an essential source of energy that you need for fuelling your moving-more routine.. With Slimming World, carbs – including dried pasta, rice and potatoes – are Free Foods, so you can eat as much of them as you like to satisfy your appetite! Protein is also vital for repairing and building muscle – again, lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, meat replacements and many other good sources of protein are completely Free.
The NHS suggests having a light snack which contains some protein, and which is high in carbohydrates and low in fat, an hour before exercising if you feel that you need to. Quick-to-digest snacks like porridge, fruit (bananas are good!) or fat-free natural yogurt are great.
Ask the experts
If you decide (when lockdown restrictions are lifted) to join a gym or sign up to a class, activity or sports club, make use of the instructor. They’ll help ensure that you’re doing things correctly and using the right equipment for the results you want. If you prefer to work out alone, the NHS Live Well website is a fantastic resource for tips, quick workouts and exercise guides.
Plan it in
Consistency is key with exercise, so getting into a routine is the way forward. Body Magic is about finding an activity that you enjoy and doing it a bit more often until it becomes a healthy habit you’ll stick to for life. Setting aside Thursday evenings for Pilates or arranging to meet a friend for a brisk Saturday walk should make your more active lifestyle easier to stick to.
MORE FOR MEMBERS: Slimming World members get access to a handy online Planner to help plan and record activity and work towards Body Magic awards
Listen to your body
This is important, no matter what your level of fitness – if you’re just starting out, though, listening to your body can be tricky to master. A slow and steady approach will help you to discover what’s normal and comfortable for you. You should never push yourself so far that you’re at risk of injury or illness.
Just do it!
It can be really easy to talk ourselves out of exercise, especially if it’s outside of our comfort zone. Upping our activity levels doesn’t have to take a lot of planning and preparation. Sometimes, the very best tip is to just get started! A brisk walk around the block, a jog in the park or some simple body weight sets can be done with next to no notice. And even jobs in the house, like cleaning or washing the car count, as long as they raise our heart rate and get us feeling warmer – so make the most of your motivation when you feel it.You’ll soon be moving on from being a beginner to a Body Magic pro!
Join Slimming World to find out more about Body Magic, our unique activity programme, and the Body Magic awards.
What is Body Magic?
Body Magic is the synergy that is created when both new healthy eating habits and regular exercise become a part of our daily lives. When we increase our activity levels, alongside following the Slimming World Food Optimising plan, it can help us to lose weight more quickly and maintain that weight loss for life (with lots more brilliant benefits besides). Anything that gets you working harder than normal counts – so if it increases your heart rate and gets you slightly out of breath and feeling warmer, it’s great Body Magic. Our Body Magic activity programme can help you take steps to an active lifestyle, at a pace that’s right for you.