I want to get fit, but where do I start?

A commonly asked question in our physiotherapy rooms is something along the lines of:

“I’m really keen to get fit but where should I start? I always end up injured.”

This is normally followed by another list of questions like…

“Do you think I should do Yoga and Pilates?”
“I enjoy running but isn’t that bad for your joints?”
“Weights are only really important for bodybuilders aren’t they?”
“I walk 10k steps a day, is that enough?”

The problem with all of this is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to health and fitness. One man’s potion is another man’s poison and to answer this question more effectively we need to define exactly what ‘getting fit’ means for you. The method and dosage we can safely prescribe are completely individual and dependent on you and your bodies needs.

Whether you are chasing Olympic podiums or your 6-year-old kids at Saturday sport, we understand that everybody is required to perform physical challenges at various times and under different conditions.

For that reason, we must all be prepared in a robust way.

But every person will start at a slightly different point and depending on your individual history and goals, you will require tweaks to what your priorities should be. As a starting point, a few things we would want to know before commencing you on your health and fitness journey are:

1. Your goals
2. Your training background and history
3. Your injury and medical history
4. Your current routine
5. Baseline measures (range of motion, stability, strength and aerobic fitness)

These 5 things will form the foundation of how we can incorporate a perfectly individualised fitness regime, specific to your goals into your busy 21st-century lifestyle. The perfect program is only as good as it can be adapted to the rest of your life.

For any person commencing a health and fitness journey, especially from a standing start, I strongly advise getting in touch with your physio/exercise physiologist/strength and conditioning coach. 

But if you’d prefer to go it alone, my advice is simple. Start at a level lower than you think you’re capable of and aim only for consistency. How does this play out?

Think you could run 3km at a stretch? Great. Start with a 2km run on 3 days per week and add 10% every few weeks.

Think you could bust out a 60min session in the gym? Awesome, but start with 30min just focussing on perfecting the basics. The weights, sets and reps don’t actually matter as much as people think in the early days.

Consistency is king!

Written by

Travis Waite

Trav is a Physiotherapist with an Exercise Science background who specialises in shoulder injuries and gym-based rehab. He believes that injury rehab is an opportunity to work on performance and to emerge better than before you were injured.

Travis Waite