How to Survive Your First Month of Fitness

What to Expect

Pain, misery and possibly death.


I’m just kidding.  The focus for your first month will be to lay the physical foundation to make reaching your specific goal easier and sustainable. 

We run on a longevity model.  That is why we do not follow fad diets or exercise protocol.  

We want everything you do at Jacksonville Fitness Academy to be for the long term. We have no interest in helping you craft the body of your dreams, only to see it disappear if you stop training.

You can expect to be sore.  

This is just your body’s way of recovering from the new stimulus of weight lifting.  Being sore is a very natural thing, it is neither good nor bad, but it will lessen over time.  The first two or three workouts will be the worst.

You can expect to be tired.  

This is another way your body will want to recover.  Your body repairs itself during sleep, so your body will tell you to go to sleep earlier than normal.  Once again, this is a natural thing and should not be fought.  Extra sleep is a great thing, especially when embarking on a new workout and diet regiment. 

The first month of any endeavor will be the most difficult.  

This is simply because it is new, and the habits, actions and mindset required are new and different to what you are used to.  You’re going to be expending energy in new ways, and that can often be a shock to the system.
This does not mean the first month will not be fun, effective or enlightening.  It just means it will be difficult.  You will be sore, you might get tired and you might curse at us a few times.

In order to make your first month as easy as possible we focus on developing Healthy Habits.  

Taking the time to develop and reinforce these habits will make the rest of your fitness journey much easier, and ensure that you will constantly be progressing towards your goal.

The most important Healthy Habit revolves around the kitchen and your nutrition.  We have a simple rule:

80% of what you eat should be whole, unprocessed food.  We want you to eat food that is not from a bag.  In the long run this won't be as important as it is in the beginning, but you need to start changing dietary habits right away.

The majority of your diet should come from foods that are not processed and are as close to natural as possible.  This means creating a diet based on things like lean protein, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.  

Eating a diet based on whole, unprocessed foods will ensure that your body is getting the macronutrients, vitamins and minerals it needs to function at a high level.  

By taking the time to create this Habit you will be laying the foundation for future success and continuous results

How to Make Your First Month Easier

It is very important during the first month that you learn how to properly recover from your workouts.  As mentioned above this new training stimulus will make you sore and tired.  These are two natural recovery triggers, and there are a few simple things you can do to ensure that your body repairs itself in the most optimal way.

 1. Go For A Walk

Your muscles will not grow during a workout, they will grow while you are resting after that workout.  That is why we insist everyone takes at least 2 days off per week.  However, your off day does not have to be spent lying on the couch.

Active recovery is a lower volume “workout” that aids in repairing muscle damage from heavy training.

Walking is the perfect form of active recovery.  It triggers many systematic recovery methods that essentially help clear waste and buildup within your body.  By initiating blood flow to your lower extremities it forces a larger portion of blood bound nutrients to reach your muscles, which will enable them to heal.

2. Get More Sleep Than Normal

As we stated above- your muscles recover and grow while you’re resting.  Resting allows muscle tears to be repaired, and glycogen levels to be replenished so you have enough energy to move the following day.

The vast majority of your recovery process will happen while you are sleeping, it is extremely vital that you get enough sleep every night.  “Enough sleep” is very subjective and will be different from person to person.  Some people are fine with 5 hours sleep, other’s need 9 to feel energized.
Prioritize your sleep for the first month, aim to get to bed earlier than usual.  Blue light from TV screens, tablets and phones can negatively affect your ability to fall asleep so limit the time you allow them in your bed.

3. Drink More Water Than Normal

A lot of recent studies suggest that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.  That’s 3 out of every 4 people you meet, and most likely you fall into that category.  That is a disaster.  In order for your body to optimally perform it needs adequate water intake.
Being dehydrated makes nearly every process in your body slower.  It also magnifies hunger.

Proper hydration is needed for your muscles and joints to function without pain.  It’s also needed for peak physical performance.  To put it bluntly- your workouts are going to be more difficult if you are dehydrated. 

You need to drink more water.  

We recommend drinking at least one-gallon of water per day.  That breaks down to about 8 standard cups.  Set a reminder on your phone or carry around a water bottle, and chug a big cup of water first thing in the morning before you even brush your teeth.


4. Take These Two Supplements

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D controls the expression of over 1,000 genes,  That's about 1/24th of the human genome.  Almost 70 of people are vitamin D deficient,  

This can result in a host of bad things that make life worse, like increased aging, risk of depression and increased inflammation.  

What does that mean? It means that Vitamin D is extremely important and most of us do not get enough of it.  

Vitamin D is a supplement that nearly every person needs to be taking, unless otherwise stated by your doctor.  

We recommend taking 2,000 iu to 4,000 iu daily.  

Our favorite brand is Nature Made which can be found at almost any store.

Greens Powder

Greens Powders are basically just a multi-vitamin in powder form.  You mix it with water and drink it down.  Your body absorbs nutrients in liquid form easier and quicker than pill form.  

Greens powders also contain many essential nutrients that multi-vitamins don't. Spirulina, for example, provides 1000% of your daily iron needs. 

I recommend Amazing Grass, which can be found at Earth Fare or Amazon.  Onnit and Athletic Greens are great, but very pricey.


Basically the long term success of your fitness plans depends on your ability to develop good habits while getting rid of bad habits.  Here are the habits you need to focus on during your beginning period:

  1. 80% of your diet is from whole foods
  2. Drink 1 gallon of water per day
  3. Go to sleep earlier
  4. Take Vitamin D3 every day
  5. Take a Greens Powder drink every day.
  6. Drink a cup of water as soon as you wake up in the morning
  7. Walk more frequently
  8. Trust the Process and be patient

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Patrick Henigan