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Tips on getting started in working out from a competitive bikini fitness model

A competitive bikini fitness model shares her valuable tips on getting started in working out.

If you have the seed planted in your mind to get into working out but are yet to carry it out, there are some details that you should be aware of that will make a huge difference in whether you manage to go the distance in achieving your objective or call it quits after several sessions. 

As a fitness instructor who partakes in fitness competitions, I am frequently quizzed by prospective trainees or even friends and acquaintances on aspects related to working out – what type of exercises should I go for? Do you work out because of vanity? I loathe stretching, can I skip that? Should I gulp down a gallon of protein shakes after working out? – and so on. 

I think it is a good idea for me to dispel and correct some misconceptions. To get started, you have to understand your motivation and your ultimate goal. And yeah, about the necessity of protein shakes. Find out below my tips on getting started in working out. 

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How do I decide on which type of workouts to embark on? For example, anaerobic, aerobic, strength, HIIT? Or should it always be a combination?

Depending on your fitness goal and current condition. If you are skinny-fat, I advise you to focus on building muscle mass first. Whereas, if you are obese or overweight, my suggestion is for you to focus on fat loss first. HIIT plays an effective role in this.  

As aerobic exercise (cardio) stimulates the heart and respiratory (breathing) rate to provide your muscles with oxygenated blood, leading to reduced fat mass, this sort of training is more helpful for people experiencing obesity.  

Nonetheless, strength training is suitable for everyone. We can improve our quality of life through improved strength. Hence, I’m more of a fan of concurrent training (a combination of both aerobic and strength/weight training) within the same training session. This is because gaining more muscle mass can actually contribute greater to our resting metabolism, so you burn more calories even while idle! 

What should be the main motivation or the right mindset of working out?

Health is wealth and I have always believed in that. We should keep an active lifestyle to live better, healthier, and most importantly, improve quality of life! Working out is not just about giving you more confidence on your looks, it also improves your mental and emotional functioning. It even helps in boosting your productivity

Is a warm-up important? What would you recommend for simple warm-up exercises?

Certainly! Warming up can help boost athletic performance and also to prevent injuries. Gradually increase the heart rate and breathing from warm-up is to prepare you to meet the demands of your workout.

I propose a dynamic warm-up that involves a full range of motion such as inchworm, jumping jack, bird dog and thoracic rotation. You may progressively add more intense dynamic warm-up exercises like burpee, reverse lunge and push-up at around 10 reps prior to weight training.

What do I do after working out? Can I jump straight into the shower after consuming protein shakes?

It is best to end with a cool-down right after exercising. A good stretch helps relieve muscle for better recovery and let your heart rate gradually slow down. After that, you should drink plenty of water to rehydrate yourself or you can also consume protein shakes to replenish the nutrients that your body needs.  

It is acceptable to not drink protein shakes. In lieu, a nutritious post-workout meal is recommended. It doesn’t matter if you want to shower first or have dinner first, either of which won’t have much of an impact on your body. But please ensure you consume a proper amount of carbs and protein after exercise, so it will help stimulate muscle protein synthesis, improve recovery and performance for your next workout. It helps you feel much stronger too! 

Just as importantly, don’t skip meals as most people tend to do, as this may affect your metabolism rate. 

I also advise you to keep up healthy living – making better choices in your eating habits. There is a saying that abs are made in the kitchen and we know 70% of the effort comes from the kitchen. Building a good and consistent habit is key to success. Success can mean making your lifestyle more joyful, becoming healthier and more confident, and achieving an ideal body shape you have always wished for! 

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Hero and feature images by John Arano on Unsplash

Maggie Wong

Maggie is not just a fitness trainer and professional IFBB Bikini BodyBuilding competitor, diagnosed with thyroid disorder, she is one who defies the odds. Among her accolades is coming out top in Class A at 2019 Muscle Contest Vietnam Bikini BodyBuilding.