I had recently asked a group of women what their biggest fitness obstacle was and the overwhelming answer was “how to get started”. For some people, exercise is just a part of their life, a piece of their daily routine. But for many others, it’s hard to even know where to start. Deciding to start a fitness routine shouldn’t be scary but getting started is often the hardest part.
Here are 9 tips on how to begin your fitness journey:
- Set realistic goals: Make SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). Think about your overall goal and break it down into actionable pieces. Many people start a fitness routine to lose weight. But focus on exercising 4 days a week, with 2 days being strength training and 2 days being cardio. Plan out which days you’ll workout and what you’ll do on those days. Then commit to 30 days of this plan and see where you are at the end. Most likely, you’ll lose weight or inches and gain the benefits of more energy and feeling great.
- Track your fitness progress: What gets measured gets managed right? So make sure you’re keeping track of measurable points so you can see your progress. This is more than just the number on the scale. Take your measurements and update them every few weeks. You may lose inches but not pounds, but it’s still progress! Or track how long you can run for or how long into a workout until you need a break. Seeing these numbers change will show you are making progress and your hard work is paying off!
- Celebrate your success everyday: Your fitness journey won’t always be easy, it’s challenging to change your lifestyle. It takes commitment, motivation and planning to make fitness a regular part of your lifestyle. But the benefits are totally worth it! Celebrate every day, no matter how small. Did you get in a workout when you totally didn’t feel like it? Maybe you tried something new or used a heavier weight. Or maybe you were able to make it 5 more minutes in your workout. Recognize these moments and congratulate yourself! You’re making a change and working towards your goal, each step towards that goal needs to be celebrated
- Get the right gear: You need to feel good and be prepared with the right clothes for your workout. If your clothes don’t fit right you could be distracted by having to constantly pull up your pants during your activity, trip over long pants, jiggle in places you don’t want to, chafing or feel uncomfortable jumping around without the proper support for the girls. All of these things could ruin your experience so make sure you invest in yourself and wear activewear meant for your activity. Plus having a new outfit will motivate you to want to show it off!
- Know your why: You need to have a good, strong reason as to why you want to make this change to your lifestyle and routine. There will be challenging times and you’ll want to give up, but you need something to keep you focused on your goals. Why do you want to get healthy? What’s driving you? It has to be something more than “I want to get healthy”. Put something real behind it like: I want to be able to run around with my kids, I want to participate in the activities with my friends, I want to be able to get up a flight of stairs and not feel winded, I want to run a 5K without stopping etc. Figure out your why and let it push you through those difficult times when you need motivation and inspiration.
- No workout is off limits: You may want to do a workout but think you have to be at a certain level or that you can’t do a specific workout. Get out of your comfort zone and try it! There are always ways to modify an exercise to make it doable. So even if it intimidates you but looks like something you’d like to do, you should! Maybe you have to take extra breaks to get through it, so what, you’re still doing the workout and it’s all part of your journey. Modifying the exercises will help you develop the strength and stamina so that over time you will get better and eventually might not need to modify.
- Don’t wait: It’s a common feeling to think I’ll start my fitness routine after I’ve lost some weight or once I feel more comfortable in my body. But exercise has an amazing benefit…it gives you confidence. It helps show you that you’re capable of amazing things and helps you feel good in your own body. So don’t wait until you feel better about yourself, start your fitness journey and use the body you have right now to get healthy.
- Make it fun: Find something that you enjoy! No one is going to keep doing something if they hate it or had a negative experience. It’s important to find a class or workout that you like. Try different things and you’ll find workouts that are enjoyable. Maybe you’re not the traditional workout type so get outside for a hike, sign up for a dance class or join a sports league. There’s many different ways exercise, so make sure to find something you enjoy so that you’ll want to keep doing it.
- Have a support system: Whether its working with a trainer or recruiting a friend to be an accountability partner, you need a support system. There will be times you’re tired or uninspired but your support team will help push you. Knowing there are other people counting on you will motivate to keep going and striving to achieve your goal!