For many of us, we convince ourselves that our friends stick to their great fitness programs simply because “they must have more time than I do.” For others, we may start well but eventually, give up due to lost momentum or enthusiasm. The key is to erase your excuses and just get started. Once you’re determined to get going, use these tips to help you stay on track.
Why? Think about, and even jot down, your reasons for starting a new fitness routine. Do you want to feel better? Have more energy? When your workout becomes more than just something you “should” do, you are more likely to stick to your program.
Get Ready. You’ve already said, “if I only had more time!” Make the time in your daily calendar. You are important enough to schedule that appointment with yourself and don’t cancel it. You wouldn’t just cancel a meeting with someone else, would you? Don’t cancel on yourself!
Get the goods. Make sure you have the right equipment before you get started. A good shoe is essential, one that is comfortable, supportive, and specific to the activity you plan to do. Your workout clothes can also make a huge difference. Purchase a few new items that you feel good wearing. Trust me; this is more important than you might realize!
Set specific goals. These will tie back to your “why.” Some examples here might be building more muscle, decreasing your body fat, or improving your cardiorespiratory training. These can be anything measurable and vital to you.
Set a time frame. Put a by-when date on the specific goals you have set. We all know that a deadline forces you to order your tasks in order of priority. This by-when date will help you move your health and wellness to the top of that list!
Start Slowly. If you’re just returning to exercise, start by doing something you know you can accomplish. By designing those first workouts to be “doable,” you are less likely to feel like giving up. If you do get off track, give yourself grace and just get right back to it. Don’t make the mistake of going “all or nothing!”
Find your friends. Share your goals; you’re more likely to stick to them when you put them out there. Surround yourself with friends who think positively, encourage you, and join you in your efforts (this makes it a lot more fun).
Include your family. They can be your biggest encouragers. Get them involved in your new active lifestyle. While your kids are at team practice, you can walk/run around the track. Ride bikes or play something like tennis or pickleball with your spouse. It’s a bonus to exercise and spend time with your loved ones at the same time.
Stick to one program. Find something you really enjoy and stick with it long enough to reap the benefits. There are so many options available to us, do what works for you instead of what social media “says” you should be doing.
Find a fun mix. Group exercise is so energizing (for me at least) because of the fun music. If you’re doing something on your own, find some fun playlists that motivate you. You can make your own, or there are many workout mixes available to download. Check out a few I’ve put on Spotify.
Just get there. So much of life is just about showing up. Whether it’s the gym, the park, the tennis court, just go! Once you’re there, you will get it done!
Make it fun. Find something you enjoy doing so you look forward to it. Don’t be afraid to try new things, even things you’ve never even considered. You might surprise yourself by how you enjoy getting fit.
Appreciate the ache. If you’re sore, that means you are challenging your body, and change is coming. Chances are your body has been through far greater pain than this. Can I get an amen from all of my moms out there?
Sign up for an event. Training for a specific event can add a bit more meaning to your everyday workout. Something like a future race or tournament date can give you a straightforward, timely goal. Success here can give you a sense of accomplishment and the desire to keep going.
Know your body. Try working out at different times during the day and take note of when you have the most energy. If you can identify the time you feel the strongest during your workouts and it’s a time that works consistently with your schedule, get that time on your calendar.
Eat healthy food. Food equals energy. As you incorporate more exercise into your routine, you won’t have enough energy to work out if you limit your calories too much. A significant decrease in calories can also cause your metabolism to slow down. Make sure you also stay hydrated during your workout by drinking plenty of water.
Take time to recover. Give your body the rest it needs between workouts and vary your routine enough, so you do not over-utilize specific muscles. You want to prevent injury so you can stick with your new program.
Give yourself a high five. Be proud of your accomplishments. You might even want to celebrate and reward yourself now with that cute new workout tank!