You’ve joined a gym, purchased new gear and are committed to working out. Now, there’s only one thing left to do before you start your new fitness routine: Make sure your body is ready for it.

Here are five things to do before you start pushing your body to the brink:

  • Determine your overall fitness level. There are two key reasons to assess your level of overall fitness. First, you’ll be less likely to injure yourself by trying to do too much too soon. Second, you’ll have benchmarks that allow you to measure your progress. Take your resting pulse, see how long it takes to walk a mile, test your flexibility and measure your waist, legs and arms. As you progress through your workouts, re-test yourself periodically to see how you’re doing.

  • Find the right program. Once you how fit you are, determine your goals and find a workout that will help you reach them. Weight training builds muscle, cardio increases your vascular health and yoga can increase your flexibility. Make sure your routine matches your abilities and goals.

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  • Get familiar with the equipment. Go online and watch videos about how to properly lift weights and use exercise machines. Using them properly will improve your outcomes and help keep you from getting hurt.

  • Be realistic. Getting in shape is a marathon, not a sprint, so be honest with yourself. Recognize that reaching your goals will take some time, and don’t plan on doing everything right away. Know that you might have to start slow, rest often and even take breaks if you feel pain or can’t quite catch your breath.

  • Have a plan to measure your progress. Before you step on the treadmill or pick up a dumbbell for the first time, make sure you have a system in place to track your progress. Put it in writing and plan to re-take your fitness assessment from time to time. It will allow you to get the most out of your routine.

Starting a regular fitness routine is a great first step toward reaching your goals. Learn about other options at BeLite Weight.