So, you?ve been thinking for a while that you need to get into the gym and start exercising. You?ve read tons of articles about the benefits of being fit and healthy. Many of your friends and family have been bragging about how great they feel after starting to exercise regularly. You can find a load of fitness ideas on WebMD. You think that it?s a great idea for you to start exercising. But you?re worried about one, teeny, tiny thing? You?re wondering what starting to exercise will feel like? Because you haven?t exercised a day in your life, what effects will it have on your mind and body? Will the after-effects of the first time you exercise be so painful that you decide never to do this again? Start slowly If you?re starting an exercise program ? and this is the first time (in your life) that you?re doing so ? start slowly and gently. Remember that your muscles are probably very tight so they need to be warmed up and get used to the notion of regular exercise. If you go all out on your first exercise session ? such as going to a high-intensity spinning class ? you?ll feel great immediately after the class because of the endorphins which are released that have the effect of taking away any pain. However, the next day your entire body will be stiff and sore. According to the Tri Focus Fitness Academy, this will probably last a good couple of days and turn you off exercising entirely because you don?t want to feel the same sort of pain again. Instead of starting with high-intensity activity, rather go for something less strenuous such as a gentle ride on the stationery bike or a brisk walk on the treadmill. Yes, you?ll feel stiff after your workout but this will probably dissipate over a couple of days so that you will feel right as rain to start exercising again. Warm up and cool down Before you start an exercise session, it?s vital to warm up. This is because your muscles are cold and are thus less likely to help you do the exercise to your full potential. You?re also more likely to injure yourself because your muscles aren?t ready for exercise. At the end of your workout session, remember to cool down. This is to get your heart rate down to a manageable level and to stretch out the muscles that you?ve worked. If you do this, you?ll be less likely to experience cramps in the coming days. Pre-workout nutrition The body needs suitable nutritional fuel to sustain your workout. This means that you need to have an adequate snack before you exercise that will give you the sustained energy that you need to be able to push through your workout. Some of the best foods to eat before your workout are bananas, yoghurt, oats and wholewheat bread. Post-workout During your workout, your muscles microscopically tear. The action of them repairing themselves is what we see as muscles bulking up or getting leaner. To facilitate this rebuilding process, after your workout, you need to consume protein because this is an essential component of muscles. You can either opt for a protein shake ? such as whey protein ? or, if you want to go for protein-rich foods, look at lean chicken breasts, boiled eggs or lean cuts of meat. Conclusion Starting to exercise after a while ? be it years and years or after a two-week holiday at the beach ? can be challenging, to say the least. However, if you follow the tips above, it won?t be such a shock to your system.