I’m a Navy veteran. Here are my top tips for starting and sticking to a fitness routine
The military is known for its grueling regimes and rigid schedules.
But now a US Navy veteran wants to teach you how to design a fitness regimen and, crucially, stick to it.
Austen Alexander, 30, based in San Diego, California, revealed his top four tips to DailyMail.com, saying there was “no excuse” not to jump off the couch and get in shape today.
“There’s no reason someone can’t go out and do a series of push-ups to establish their baseline, or just run half a mile or a quarter mile or a mile to get the ball rolling” , he said.
“It’s all about momentum.”
Alexander, who manages a YouTube channel with 1.2 million followers and an Instagram account with 148,000 followers, regularly uploads videos with tips and tricks for fitness enthusiasts.
Austen Alexander, a Navy veteran and fitness expert, told DailyMail.com that training is “about momentum.” Alexander (pictured), who runs an Instagram channel with 148,000 followers, regularly uploads videos with tips and tricks for fitness enthusiasts
He worked as a naval security officer for seven years after dropping out of college in Florence, Alabama in 2013.
Below are his training tips:
The ex-Navy soldier said the ‘best tip’ he could give to those just starting their fitness training was to start with short training sessions.
Many people just starting their fitness journey tend to go too hard, too fast, he cautioned.
This puts them at risk of injury and loses motivation to stick with it over time.
“They look at themselves and say, ‘I want a bigger chest,’ ‘I want bigger shoulders,’ ‘I want bigger legs,'” he said. “And they’re all trying to achieve it.”
“What that does is it causes them to burn out.”
To avoid this, he recommends starting with a smaller exercise plan and building on it gradually.
For those focused on fitness and muscle building, he suggested starting with a 10-minute run for two or three days during the first week.
The following week, these runs should then be combined with an additional 20 minutes of other exercises, such as lifting weights.
“Implementing small variables that you can actually reach and stick to is the best route,” Alexander said.
This also applies to people who return to fitness or adjust their routines as they get older.
“Don’t think just because you squatted 480 pounds when you were 22 that you can still do it,” Alexander said. “Be sure to come in again.”
Women, don’t worry about lifting weights!
Many women avoid lifting weights when they first start in the gym because they fear they will get bulging biceps.
But Alexander urged them to drop the idea and instead opt to incorporate weightlifting into their workout routines.
“I see a lot of women saying, ‘I don’t want to lift weights because I think I’m going to get fat,'” he said.
‘[But] just because someone goes to the gym and lifts weights doesn’t mean they’re getting bulkier. Lifting weights can also be a form of losing weight.’
Weight training, also known as resistance training, builds muscle.
But because women have less anabolic or muscle-building hormones, it’s harder for them to build muscle mass, research shows.
There is also some evidence that lifting weights can improve weight loss. A 2020 meta-analysis in the Journal of Sports Sciencefound, for example, that resistance training increased metabolic rate more than aerobic exercise. This means that the body is still burning calories after the workout is completed.
Don’t stretch before your workout
Stretching before a workout might feel like a good idea.
But Alexander warned people to be on the road, saying getting the muscles ready to perform doesn’t help.
In static stretching, a muscle is lengthened and held in one position for a short period of time. This tells the muscles to relax and leaves them less ready for intense activity.
“Instead of stretching before a workout, warm up dynamically,” Alexander said. These can include activities such as running or going on an elliptical machine.
Dynamic warm-ups get the body moving with a series of controlled, joyful movements. These prepare the body to perform similar, more intense movements during training.
Alexander recommended saving static stretching for the end of a workout.
Hydration is key
Drinking water is vital to health no matter how physically active you are. However, if you exercise regularly, you probably need to hydrate even more.
According to the International Sports Nutrition Association, the most important nutritional improvement for athletes is water. Without it, you’re less likely to have the energy to train consistently.
Alexander recommends drinking one ounce of water per pound of body weight.
And don’t start puffing massive amounts right away. By taking small sips throughout the day, you can gradually reach that goal.
Besides athletic performance, it has numerous benefits.
“It’s not just important for sweat. It is important for healthy brain function, healthy skin, healthy eyesight and healthy digestion. It’s important for everything,” he said.