The military is known for its grueling regimes and inflexible schedules.
But now a US Navy veteran wants to teach you how to design a fitness regime and, crucially, stick to it.
Austen Alexander, 30, based in San Diego, California, revealed his four top tips to DailyMail.com, saying that there was ‘no excuse’ not to jump up from the sofa and start to get in shape today.
‘There’s no reason why someone can’t go out and do a set of push-ups to establish their baseline, or just go run a half mile or quarter mile or a mile just to get the ball rolling,’ he said.
‘It’s all about momentum’.
Alexander, who runs 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 fanatics.
Austen Alexander, a Navy veteran and fitness expert, told DailyMail.com that working out is ‘about momentum’. Alexander (pictured) who runs an Instagram channel with 148,000 followers, regularly uploads videos with tips and tricks for fitness fanatics
He spent seven years working as naval security after dropping out of college in Florence, Alabama, in 2013.
Below are his workout tips:
The ex-Navy serviceman said the ‘best tip’ he could give to those just beginning their fitness training was to start with short exercise sessions.
Many people who are just getting started on their fitness journey tend to go too hard, too fast, he warned.
This can put them at risk of injury as well as of losing motivation to stick to it over time.
‘They look at themselves and they say, “I want a bigger chest,” “I want bigger shoulders,” “I want bigger legs”,’ he said. ‘And they try to achieve it all.’
‘What that does is it leads them to burn out.’
To avoid this, he recommends starting with a smaller exercise plan and then gradually building on it.
For those focusing on fitness and building muscle, he suggested starting with a 10-minute run for two or three days for the first week.
The following week, these runs should then be paired with an extra 20 minutes of other exercise — such as weight lifting.
‘Implementing small variables that you can actually achieve and stick to is the best route,’ Alexander said.
This also goes for people who are returning to fitness or adjusting their routines with age.
‘Don’t think that just because you squatted 480 pounds when you were 22 that you can still do it,’ Alexander said. ‘Ease back into it for sure.’
Women, don’t worry about lifting weights!
Many women steer clear of lifting weights when they first start out at the gym, worrying it will give them bulging biceps.
But Alexander urged them to drop the idea and instead, opt for incorporating weight lifting into their workout routines.
‘I see a lot of women who say “I don’t want to lift weights because I think I’ll get bulky,’ he said.
‘[But] just because somebody is going into the gym and lifting weights doesn’t mean they’re going to get more bulky. Lifting weights can be a form of weight loss as well.’
Weight training, also known as resistance training, does build muscle.
But because women have lower levels of anabolic, or muscle-building, hormones, it’s harder for them to put on muscle mass, research shows.
There is also evidence that weightlifting can improve weight loss. A 2020 meta-analysis in the Journal of Sports Sciences, for example, found that resistance training increased metabolic rate more than aerobic exercise. This means the body is still burning calories after the workout is completed.
Don’t stretch before your workout
Stretching before a workout may feel like a no-brainer.
But Alexander warned people off the move, saying it does not help to get the muscles ready to perform.
Static stretching involves lengthening a muscle and holding it 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. This could include activities like running or going on an elliptical machine.
Dynamic warm-ups get the body moving with a set of controlled, upbeat moves. These prepare the body to perform similar, more intense movements throughout the workout.
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 are working out on a regular basis, you likely need to hydrate even more.
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the most important nutritional enhancement for athletes is water. Without it, you’re less likely to have the energy to work out consistently.
Alexander recommends drinking one ounce of water per pound of body weight.
And don’t start chugging huge amounts at once. Taking small sips throughout the day can help you achieve that goal gradually.
Other than athletic performance, it has a host of benefits.
‘It’s not only important for sweat. It’s important for healthy brain function, healthy skin, healthy eyesight and healthy digestion. It’s important for everything,’ he said.