How to start working out: The beginner’s ultimate guide

You may feel overwhelmed if you’re just getting started on your fitness journey. There’s a lot of information out there, and no one wants to feel like a complete newbie when they enter a gym or start shopping for home gym exercise equipment for the first time.

Plus, the fad diets and miracle #transformation posts on social media will tell you that exercise is easy and quick. The reality is that starting to exercise requires focus and determination. And the only way to begin is to begin.

The rewards for exercising far outweigh the time commitment and other sacrifices you’ll need to make to include it in your schedule. Exercise is good for you, and you’re about to embark on a lifestyle change that will have every cell in your body rejoicing.

Think of this ultimate guide as your introduction to everything you need to start exercising. From here, you’ll be ready to branch out and explore more focused and specific training programs and regimes to help you surpass your goals.

Why exercise is good for you 

Exercise is good for you. How’s that for the most obvious statement of the year? 

What you may not know is how good it really is. The benefits of working out go way beyond weight loss and looking better in your clothes. You could think of exercise as a magic cure for just about everything. And if it’s not a cure, then it’s certainly part of the solution. 

Thanks to modern technology and conveniences, most of us have removed physical activity from our daily routines. We take the car, ride the elevator, and sit for way longer than we should. A more convenient lifestyle is a plus, but the sad part is that physical inactivity is a primary and actual cause of most chronic diseases. 

A lack of exercise affects almost every cell, organ, and system in the body and leads to body dysfunction and accelerated death. 

The reasons for starting an exercise and workout routine are numerous, and it can save your life. 

For every problem caused by inactivity, there is a solution — activity. 

Top 12 reasons why working out is important 

  1. Improve — Improve cardiovascular and respiratory function
  2. Reduce — Reduce coronary artery disease risk factors
  3. Live — Live longer and decrease mortality
  4. Decrease — Decrease morbidity and chronic diseases
  5. Prevent — Prevent anxiety and reverse depression
  6. Increase — Increase the feeling of well-being
  7. Enhance — Enhance daily physical function 
  8. Cure — Cure diseases like heart disease and even cancers
  9. Lose — Lose weight and stay trim
  10. Gain — Increase muscle mass and functionality 
  11. Raise — Raise self-esteem 
  12. Develop — Develop cognitive and memory skills 

We told you exercise was good for you. And you knew that you knew but now you know that you know, and you can share with those around you that you have the magic cure.

How much exercise do you need a day? 

The great thing about exercise is that you don’t need to become a high-performance athlete to reap the benefits and see results. 

What’s the best way to start exercising today? Start today. 

There’s strong scientific evidence to support that 2 to 2.5 hours of moderate to high-intensity exercise per week is enough to reduce the risk of chronic disease and see results in other areas both mentally and physically. 

Sounds like a lot? The good news is you can divide these 2+ hours in any way that fits your schedule. 

  • Do a 30-minute workout five times a week. 
  • Try a 35 to 40-minute workout every other day. 
  • Take the 30 minutes and divide that into three 10-minute exercise sessions throughout your day. 

The main goal is to be active. Recent studies have even shown that packing this minimum requirement into 1 to 2 training sessions per week is as beneficial as spreading the sessions throughout the week. 

You need a daily minimum amount of physical activity for good health, but it’s still very important to let your body rest. This is especially important if you’re just beginning an exercise routine or are working out at a high intensity. 

Overtraining or exercising too much can also weaken your immune system and increase your risk of fatigue, injury, and burnout. 

To recap: As a general rule, go for 150 minutes a week — 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. 

It’s important to note that additional benefits occur with increased quantity and quality of physical activity. This means that something more needs to happen if you want to lose weight, gain muscle, improve endurance, or increase mobility. 

True, some physical activity is better than none. But if your goal is more focused and more specific, then you’ll need to adjust the variables within your training such as the intensity, frequency, or duration. This can be as simple as lifting heavier weights or pushing yourself that extra bit on a run. It can also include taking 2.5 hours and turning it into 4 a week. 

Adjusting the amount, and more importantly, the quality, of your exercise will help you reach more specific goals while reaping the benefits of an active lifestyle. 

Learn the lingo: Gym lingo and vocab 

Exercise and working out have their own unique language. It’s useful to know the most popular terminology so that you’ll be able to join any exercise class or online class and know what the trainer is talking about. 

Here are some of our favorite exercise terms: 

  • Physical activity — The CDC defines physical activity as “Any bodily movement produced by the contraction of skeletal muscle that increases energy expenditure above a base level.” This means you can stand up and get out of bed. 
  • Physical fitness — The CDC defines physical fitness as “The ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and respond to emergencies.” This means that you can get out of bed and run to catch the bus without feeling faint, tired, or sore the next day. 
  • Reps (repetitions) — You’ll often hear reps for short. A rep is a single performance of an exercise. One rep of a squat would be lowering your body to the floor and then returning to a standing position. 
  • Sets — A group of reps is a set. For most resistance training, 1 set consists of 8-12 reps. 
  • Load — This is how much weight you are using. To get fancy, load is a percentage of your one-rep-max (how much you can lift for 1 rep). Typically, it is simply the amount of weight expressed in pounds or kilograms. 
  • Volume — Volume refers to the number of exercises and sets you’re performing in your workout. 
  • Compound exercise / compound movement — These are exercises that use multiple joints and muscle groups at the same time. A dumbbell lunge is a prime example. You work your arms and upper body by holding the dumbbells, your lower body by lunging, and your core by maintaining balance and stability. 
  • Functional training / functional exercise — This type of training uses movements that help with daily functional tasks. It almost always utilizes compound exercises, and its goal is to improve your ability to perform daily movements. For example, an overhead press will help you develop the functional strength to place things on high shelves or lift things above your head. 
  • Isolation exercise — These exercises use one joint and fewer muscle groups at the same time. An example would be a seated leg extension. 
  • Heart rate training zone — This is usually used for weight loss and endurance training. It refers to how elevated your heart rate is during exercise and is usually expressed as a percentage of your maximum heart rate. Find your heart rate by taking 220 and subtracting your age. A 40-year-old would therefore have a maximum heart rate of 180. 
  • Intensity — This breaks down into intensity of load and intensity of effort. Intensity of load means how much actual weight you’re lifting. Intensity of effort refers to the actual effort exerted during the set or training. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a prime example of intensity of effort because it requires a large amount of energy.
  • Aerobic — This is exercising at a steady pace where the oxygen supply meets the demand. Aerobic training can continue for extended periods because the oxygen demand is constantly met. Running, cycling, walking, swimming, and dancing fall in this category.
  • Anaerobic — This is exercising at a fast pace where oxygen supply fails to meet oxygen demand. This type of exercise has a limited duration (sprinting for example) and will require rest before you can begin again. 
  • Cardiovascular — You may hear it called cardio for short. It refers to any exercise that specifically targets your heart and lungs. It affects the capacity of the cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) and respiratory (lungs) systems to supply oxygen-rich blood to the working skeletal muscles and the capacity of the muscles to use oxygen to produce energy for movement. 
  • Wellness — This has become quite a popular term in fitness. It refers to your general state of well-being and is closely associated with your lifestyle. Good nutrition, proper weight control, exercise, and controlling of risk factors such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse all play a role in wellness. 
  • Mobility — This is another buzzword in the exercise world recently. It refers to the ability of your joints to reach their full range of motion (ROM). This type of training involves core strengthening, flexibility, and specific exercise that help you reach your joints’ full potential regarding their ability to reach and extend. 
  • Flexibility training — This type of workout enhances the range of motion of joints and works with mobility training. Age and inactivity tend to cause muscles, tendons, and ligaments to shorten over time. Flexibility training helps reverse these negative side effects. 
  • Strength, weight, or resistance training — This type of exercise aims at improving the strength and function of muscles. Specific exercises strengthen each muscle group. 
  • Warm-up — This is the act of preparing your body for the stress of exercise. The body warms up with light-intensity aerobic movements like walking slowly. These movements increase blood flow, which in turn heats up muscles and joints. 
  • Cooldown — This happens at the end of your workout and allows your muscles to calm down (cool down) after intense activity. Stretching and flexibility training is often included in the cooldown. If you’re worried about feeling sore the next day thanks to DOMS — Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness — use a massage gun during the cooldown to relieve tight muscles and knots
  • Form — The way you perform an exercise is called your form. Proper exercise form means that you do your exercises as effectively and efficiently as possible while minimizing the risk of injury. Using too much weight, doing too many reps, being tired, or simply not knowing what you are doing can result in bad form. Exercises should always be performed in a smooth, continuous movement rather than jerky movements. Form also involves the way you breathe, and you should exhale during the greatest exertion (usually the lifting phase) and inhale when lowering the weight. It’s also important to maintain a neutral spine (shoulders over hips, hips over knees, and knees over ankles) as it plays a big part in your form.

What’s where: Beginner’s anatomy 

You’ll hear a lot of anatomical references and names of muscle groups when exercising. While you don’t need to know detailed physiology, it is important to know the basics. And knowing the basics will help you as you decide which muscle groups to work out together.  

Let’s look at a few of the major muscle groups that you’re going to come across as you exercise and train. 

  • Quadriceps — The muscles on the front of your thighs. They are often called quads for short. 
  • Hamstrings — The muscles on the back of your thighs. 
  • Gastrocnemius and Soleus — These are the calf muscles. 
  • Adductors — The muscles on the inside of your thighs.
  • Abductors — The muscles on the outside of your thighs.
  • Glutes — The butt muscles. 
  • Erector Spinae — The muscles that run up the sides of your spine (backbone). 
  • Rectus Abdominis — The muscle on the front of your stomach that makes up the six-pack. They are often called abs for short. 
  • Core — The collective name for the muscles around your abdomen and spine. Think of these as running like a corset around your midsection. 
  • Obliques — The muscles on the side of your waist. 
  • Latissimus Dorsi — The muscles on the side of your back below your armpits. They are often called the wing muscles. 
  • Trapezius — The muscles up your upper back. They are called traps for short. 
  • Deltoids — Your shoulder muscles. They are called delts for short. 
  • Pectorals — Your chest muscles. They are called pecs for short. 
  • Biceps — The muscles of the front of your upper arm. 
  • Triceps — The muscles of the back of your upper arm.

The 9 most important types of exercise 

The best type of exercise is the one that you’ll actually do. Choose activities you enjoy so your workouts never become boring or stale. 

With that in mind, let’s look at the common types of exercise and help you understand what makes each one special. Knowing a bit about each will help you grow your beginner’s knowledge and let you make the right choice when exercising. 

  1. Cardio training — Cardio training focuses on the capacity of the heart-lung system to deliver oxygen for sustained energy production. Examples include running, treadmill work, and interval training. Cardio improves your cardiovascular fitness and is the main method of burning fat and losing weight when combined with diet and strength training. 
  2. Aerobic training This is usually the core of any fitness program. It includes periods of continuous movement. Examples include swimming, running and dancing. Aerobic classes are called this because they involve continuous movement and improve cardiovascular function. 
  3. Strength training Increases your muscle power and strength. Examples include resistance training, plyometrics, weight lifting and sprinting. It focuses on the maximum force a muscle or muscle group can exert during contraction (shortening of a muscle). Strength training builds and strengthens your muscles, makes you stronger, and improves muscle definition. Resistance training is a form of strength training. It uses resistance (outside weight or force) to challenge the body. 
  4. Bodyweight training / Calisthenics — This is also known as bodyweight training and is a popular form of strength training. It involves training with little to no equipment and can be done anywhere. Examples include lunges and pushups.
  5. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) — This Includes repetitions of short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by low-intensity exercises or rest periods. Tabata training is a popular form of HIIT. 
  6. Boot camp training — These are group-based classes that use time, resistance training exercises, and HIIT to reach aerobic and strength goals.  
  7. Functional Training — Functional training uses compound movements and works to improve your daily functions and ability to handle tasks and movements. 
  8. Mobility training This training focuses on the ability to move joints through their normal full ranges of motion. Examples include yoga, some forms of dance, pilates, and flexibility training. 
  9. Balance and stability training —  With this type of training you’ll strengthen muscles and improve your body coordination. Examples include Pilates, yoga, and core training. 

What equipment do I need to start working out?

When it comes to working out, you don’t need a lot of equipment. Especially for beginners. 

With just a few essentials, you can tailor a full-body workout to match your goal. The most common form of resistance training is adding weight and resistance via free weights (dumbbells, barbells), bodyweight, machines, and suspension and cable training systems. 

If you’re starting to build your home gym arsenal, here are a few of the basics you should consider:


The kettlebell is a flat-bottomed iron ball with a handle. A kettlebell differs from a dumbbell, barbell, or medicine ball in that the center of mass is away from the handle, which may require more strength and coordination. Kettlebells require increased recruitment from the core stabilizers (muscles around the spine) and prime movers (major muscle groups) during certain movements.

Suspension training systems  

Most people have heard of suspension training by companies such as TRX or MobileFit. Suspension training is a creative approach to bodyweight fitness that uses ropes and tools which allow you to work against gravity and your weight. The greatest advantage is that most systems adapt to meet any level.

Suspension movements are different from traditional exercises in that either your hands or feet are supported by an anchor point, while the opposite end of the body is in contact with the ground. This enables the loading and unloading of movements to meet individual needs and goals. 

Free Weights (Dumbbells)

Free weights are another staple of most home gyms and fitness centers. This includes dumbbells and barbells and can be used at a variety of fitness levels to reach fitness goals. Dumbbells let you move in all planes of motion to match our functional movement patterns. That means that you can move side to side, front to back, and up and down… just like you do in real life. 

The use of free weights can be easily progressed to create higher demands on your core stability and balance. Free weights are also synonymous with multi-joint movements known as compound movements. Training with compound movements has the best result for endurance and strength improvements. Another result of multi-joint movements is caloric expenditure: it requires more energy to work more joints at one time, and therefore is great for weight loss!

While these are popular, the best type of exercise equipment for beginners is your body. That type of training even has its own name — bodyweight training. 

Bodyweight training is a great way to incorporate resistance training into your daily routine and can be done anywhere. It involves using your body weight as resistance. Building muscle is important for overall health and well-being. 

Bodyweight exercises are one of the best types of strength training, and they adapt to all levels of fitness. All you need is a yoga or exercise mat and your body. 

Research has shown that building lean muscle mass through bodyweight is also great for your heart, blood vessels, lungs, hormone production, and even brain activity.

How to exercise to hit your goal

Chances are you have a goal for wanting to exercise that includes weight loss, gaining muscle size, or increasing your physical strength. Most of us have a combination of these goals, and it’s important to understand that these work together. You can’t gain muscle size (get bigger biceps) without also getting stronger, and the best way to lose weight is to increase your muscle mass which requires improving your strength. 

There is no magic formula, but there are a few basics regarding reps, sets, and volume that help you focus more specifically on your goal. 

For beginners, every exercise program develops strength and size and helps you lose weight. This is because simply stressing your body with any load and volume combination is enough to build muscle and develop force… and this is how you get stronger. 

How to exercise for muscle growth

Increasing muscle mass (hypertrophy) occurs with an increase in the size and number of the small muscle fibers within the muscles. 

Muscle hypertrophy occurs by lifting moderate weights with reduced rest periods between sets and a high volume of sets or exercises. Training for an increase in muscle mass involves performing a high volume of activity for each muscle group.  

  • Complete three to five different exercises per muscle group, with three to six sets of each exercise. 
  • Select a weight in which muscle fatigue (when you just can’t lift anymore) is reached between eight to 12 repetitions. This means that the eleventh and twelfth rep should be quite difficult and almost, but not quite, impossible. 
  • Keep your rest between sets to 1-2 minutes. 

How to exercise for strength

Strength training is slightly different once you pass the initial beginner phase. The body develops an ability to produce more energy and force and enables you to lift heavier. 

Some of these internal changes include an increase in muscle glycogen (stored glucose in the muscles) and creatine phosphate and adenosine triphosphate substrate stores. These allow for quicker reactions within the body and more energy production. 

  • Improve your strength by lifting heavier weights with fewer reps and longer rests. 
  • Train by using fewer exercises and heavier weights. 
  • Aim for 2 to 3 exercises per muscle group and three to five sets per exercise of 4-8 reps. 
  • Keep your rest periods between sets at 2-3 minutes in length. 

How to exercise for weight loss

Working out for weight loss requires focus on cardio and strength training. Cardio burns more calories than strength (and burning more calories than you take in with food is how you lose weight), but you won’t gain muscle mass or tone by cardio alone. 

For long-term results, strength training also helps you continuously burn more calories and muscle burns more calories than fat. The bottom line is that a combination of cardio and strength will help you reach your goal weight, maintain it, and look good in your clothes! 

  • Focus on dividing your workout between cardio and strength training. 
  • Be sure to include compound exercises as you burn more calories by using more muscle groups. 
  • In a typical 1 hour session, aim for 6-8 compound exercises that target the entire body. 
  • Perform each exercise for 8-12 reps for a total of 3 sets. 

Is it better to work out outside or inside?

Just as important as how to exercise is the question of where to exercise. Many people prefer working out at a gym or fitness center. Others prefer the convenience of working out at home.

Both are great options and depend truly on what you’re looking for and how easily you self-motivate. Choose the option that best suits you and your personality and then go for it! 

Working out at the gym — Pros and cons 

Going to a gym means you have access to a wide variety of equipment and classes and there are usually trainers available to help and even spot if necessary. 

Going to the gym for the first time is quite daunting, but many gyms have an introductory session with a trainer where you learn the lay of the land and get a feel for how to use the equipment. If your gym does not...then ask for one! Having an introduction will help you when you go by yourself and you won’t be left feeling anxious in the locker room. 


  • Socializing 
  • Wide range of equipment 
  • Can get help if needed 
  • Variety of classes offered 
  • Sense of competition 


  • Can be expensive 
  • Commuting 
  • Socializing 
  • Must work it into your schedule 
  • Sense of competition 

Working out at home — Pros and cons 

Exercising at home is also a great option for beginners. You can also work out in a public park or even on the beach. It depends on how well you self-motivate and push yourself to exercise when the couch and TV are so near. 

From pull-up bars that you attach above your doorway to weight benches set up in your garage, working out at home is becoming more and more popular. Here’s why…


  • Free 
  • No commute 
  • Quiet 
  • Can work out any time day or night 


  • Must buy your own equipment 
  • Quiet 
  • Must be able to self-motivate

How do you build a full-body workout?  

There are 4 components to every good workout and exercise session — warm-up, cardio, strength training, and cool down. 

Each part has an important role and should not be skipped. You can shorten each section depending on the amount of time you have or even find ways to combine sections. 

For example, certain exercises double as warm-up and cardio and others that build flexibility and strength. 

The most important part is that you do your best to focus on each area as each will help you develop and reach your goal. And… never skip the warm-up!  

1. Warm-up — The warm-up is what to do before working out. Your warm-up should be at 50% of your normal intensity and should last about 5-15 minutes. Some examples of warm-ups include biking, walking, swimming, or using a row machine. 

You can also include dynamic stretching to focus on areas that you’ll work on during the workout. You want to be warm and ready at the end of the warm-up, not tired or exhausted. 

If you’re working out 2 days in a row, you may want to use a foam roller to help relieve some of the muscle soreness. You can also incorporate it during the cooldown as a way to prevent muscle knots. 

2. Cardio Unless you are focusing on weight loss, you do not necessarily need to work on your cardio with every workout. Plan to do cardio exercises 3-5 days a week for 20-30 minutes per session for normal strength or size goals.  

If you want to lose weight, it’s recommended to include cardio with every workout. Examples of a cardiorespiratory workout include running, jogging, swimming, dancing, and biking or walking. 

Or, place the cardio at the end of a workout to make sure that you have enough energy for the strength section. 

A good tip is that at the end of the session you should not be able to hold a conversation — you should feel a bit winded. If you can hold a conversation without any problems then you want to focus on increasing the intensity of your cardio workout (change the speed, elevation, etc.)

3. Strength training — For the average workout, shoot for 8-9 exercises that train the entire body by using compound exercises. Each should include 8-12 repetitions with 3 sets of each. 

It’s suggested that you begin with a weight which you can relatively easily perform the exercise eight to 12 times in a set. It’s important to increase the weight when it feels too easy. You want to be challenged! Challenge is where change occurs. 

4. Cooldown — The cooldown is very important and should last about 5-15 minutes. You can include stretching and flexibility training here as well as some light cardio. To train your flexibility, hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and maintain a normal breathing pattern. 

What to wear when working out 

Deciding what to wear for your exercise routine should be easy compared to the actual exercising part. It’s fun to shop for workout wear with all of the options today. You can look like a total space-age superstar with some of the colors and fabric choices out there or go with a simple cotton t-shirt and quick-dry shorts. 

You don’t need to spend a fortune on your workout wardrobe to make sure you have the right clothing for the gym. The bottom line is that you need to wear exercise clothes that are comfortable and right for your workout. 

Ideally, your clothes should be unrestrictive and layered so you remove items as you warm up and sweat. Shoes will depend on the actual activity and it’s a good idea to purchase your sneakers from a reputable shop and ask for assistance from the experts. The basic rule is that the more impact there is, the more supportive and shock-absorbing your shoes should be.  

Always wash your gym wear and air out your shoes and gym bag to avoid unwanted odors. And don’t forget to bring a towel with you when you work out and keep that washed as well. 

What men should wear to work out 


When choosing workout tops, look for those that clearly show your arms so you can observe and correct your form. If it’s cold where you work out, start in a hoodie that you remove as you go through your workout. 

You want to wear a shirt that is fitted and not tight or too large. You may want to look for shirts made from a dry-fit material that allow your body to breathe better and dry quickly. The problem is that they smell bad after a few wears even with washing. Be sure to skip the old and ripped or overly graphic tees and avoid singlets or tank tops. Tank tops have their place...but for beginners, it’s best to dress comfortably and conservatively. 


In general, look for workout bottoms that provide support without being too constrictive. A dry-fit workout short dries quickly and they come in a range of colors — black hides sweat. 

Choose shorts that fall right above your knees — not too short and not too long. Avoid traditional sweatpants (they only worked for Rocky) as they highlight your perspiration, and it’s never a good look. 

Black tapered-leg fitness pants are always a yes and are made by most sports brands. If you're participating in yoga or Pilates, look for pants and shorts that fit tighter to the body so the trainer can see your form.


Compression shorts and leggings are fine as long as you wear shorts over the top. Otherwise, wear fitted underwear to keep everything in place while working out. 

What women should wear to work out 


As a general rule, wear form-fitting tops that give you an idea of your posture and form. Whether you choose t-shirts or tank tops, select material that naturally breathes (cotton) and that is fresh and clean. 

Remember that you should be comfortable in your gym wear! You are there to exercise and not put on a fashion show. If you are constantly concerned over your top because your bra strap is showing, then change your top and get back to focusing on your workout. 


Women have a wide variety of gym bottoms to choose from, including shorts, cropped leggings, and stretch pants. Look for good-quality bottoms that don't stretch out after a few wearings. 

Avoid wearing anything too baggy because it hinders your movements and may even get caught in the machines. Compression pants and shorts are also a choice if you are concerned with your size. These are designed to give you a more secure everything-is-in-its-place feeling. 


Purchasing a well-fitting sports bra can be the difference between a great workout and a painful experience. Visit a reputable store and ask for assistance. 

Be sure to move around while trying it on to make sure that it will work during a workout.  

What to eat before, during, and after exercise

If you want to burn fat, it’s okay to exercise on an empty stomach but some people find they exercise harder and longer after a small meal or snack. Experiment and see what approach works best for you. 

If you do choose to have a snack before you exercise, make sure it is easily digestible, contains some fast-acting carbohydrates and is as healthy as possible. A banana is a great pre-exercise snack while a donut is not.

Another great pre-workout snack that you’ll often see fitness pros swear by is pre-workout supplements. These are drinkable supplements that give you energy for a tough workout. 

Whether you use pre-workouts or not, here are the basics of what to eat before, during and after working out.

  • Carbs are particularly important because they fuel your muscles before exercise.
  • Carbs are also important after exercise to replenish glycogen stores and assist the absorption of amino acids into your muscles during recovery.
  • Protein improves muscle recovery after exercise, repairs tissue damage and builds muscle mass. If your diet doesn’t include enough protein, or if you’re trying to build muscle size and really pack it on, check out protein powders and supplements. These are drinkable and help you make sure that you're getting the protein and nutrients you need after a hard workout. 

Exercise causes water loss through sweat and exhaled water vapor (every time you breathe out, water comes with that breath). This water needs to be replaced. This means you’ll need to drink water before, during and after your workout. 

  • That’s 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of liquids a day for men. 
  • And 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of liquids a day for women. 

If it is especially warm or you are a heavy sweater, you may want to consume more than this. If your goal is weight loss, plain water is best because it's calorie-free. 

While working out, it is important to stay hydrated. Signs of dehydration include frequent headaches, low blood pressure, fatigue, dizziness, and dry mouth or skin. Did you know that when you have the feeling of thirst, your body is already in the early stages of dehydration?

How to start working out if you’ve never exercised before 

Knowing all of the gym lingo and the difference between your quads and hamstrings is great and all… but how do you start exercising if you’ve never tried it before. 

We know that it may seem daunting. Trust us, we’ve all been there. But the way to start working out is just to start. Tell yourself that it’s a process and build from there. No one (not even you) should expect you to become an Olympic athlete after one workout. Give yourself the space, time and support you need to start slowly. 

Start by making small changes. For example, start taking the elevator instead of the stairs. Or purchase a yoga mat and try to hold a 30-second plank while watching TV during a commercial break. Small changes equal big steps down the line. 

From there, turn those small steps into habits. Park your car farther away from the door of the supermarket so you need to walk. Instead of binge-watching TV at night, go for a short 10-minute walk after dinner. It’s these habits that build into a lifestyle. 

And it’s the lifestyle change that you’re really after.


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