Beginning an exercise program is tough for many people, but once they do it, they’re usually happy when they see the progress they’ve made.
Before beginning a program, it is important to establish a baseline. A baseline, or your “day one,” can involve resting vitals, basic fitness-test results, functional fitness-test results and a variety of other types of information that may change when you participate in an exercise program.
Resting vitals are the easiest and safest to obtain and should be known even if you are not planning to exercise. The most common resting vitals used by certified personal trainers and exercise specialists are blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting glucose, resting heart rate, height and weight.
Many of these resting vitals can be obtained just by visiting your doctor, which should be done before beginning any exercise program anyway. During your visit, explain that you are thinking about starting an exercise program and ask if it is safe to exercise independently.
Ask what your blood pressure and total cholesterol are, as well as your LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). You may also be able to get your fasting glucose levels, depending on what tests the doctor orders for you. All of these will serve as part of your resting vitals. Your height, weight and resting heart rate can be obtained at the doctor’s visit, but you can also record these values on your own afterward.
Recording your weight is fairly straightforward and is usually measured in pounds. Always weigh in at the same time of day and also before a workout. In addition, try to use the same scale each time. It is not recommended to wear shoes or any heavy clothing when weighing in. Make sure the scale is calibrated by checking that it is at zero before you get on it. I recommend weighing yourself every few weeks, not every day.