Working out can seem daunting when you don't know where to start. It's probably taken you a while just to admit that maybe it is time for some exercise in your life -- and trust me, I admire your bravery! Now that the hard part is complete, let's take the pressure off: you don't have to become a master athlete (or even like running or lifting weights) overnight. And starting an exercise routine isn't as difficult as it might sound--it's totally doable with only small steps forward each day. In this post, I will explain how to get started on working out no matter what kind of lifestyle or schedule you have. We’ll also outline tips and tricks so that by the end of this guide, a healthy lifestyle will seem attainable!
1) Decide what type of activities you are going to try.
Think about the types of activities that you like to do. Have you always enjoyed dancing? Do you like being in nature? Do you like the structure of a group fitness class? Did you used to run track or do taekwondo when you were younger? Think about what you have enjoyed in the past, and select something that relates to that.
If you love music, you would likely really enjoy a group fitness class with a great playlist. If you love feeling strong and challenging yourself, you might be ready to try some resistance training. Do you go to the park with the kids, or do you enjoy nature? Hiking and bike riding might be perfect choices for you.
Pick two or three activities and make it a point to try each of them. Find an exercise you enjoy - it's important to find an exercise that you enjoy so that you'll want to keep doing it. Try different activities and find what works best for you.
2) Decide how much time you can devote to exercise and health.
Which days of the week can you make time to prioritize your health? Can you squeeze in 30 minutes to an hour? Time block those days and times. Reserve them on your calendar just like you would a doctor appointment.
What can you give up in order to make time for your activity? Can you cut down on TV? Maybe instead of watching two hours each evening, you only watch one hour. Can you organize your errands and commute time to work in making it to the gym? Those are two examples of things you can do to make time for exercise.
Ultimately, you should aim for some type of physical activity most days of the week. Even an off day could consist of light stretching or yoga.
3) Find an exercise buddy or accountability partner.
Having an exercise buddy is an excellent way to help you stick to a workout routine. It's easier to keep yourself motivated when you have someone to share the experience with, and having a consistent training partner can help you stay on track and reach your fitness goals. An exercise buddy can also provide you with encouragement, feedback, and accountability—all of which are key components of a successful workout routine. Plus, having someone to celebrate successes with and to discuss challenges is a great way to stay motivated and make the most of your time together.
Group fitness classes are a great way to make new friends, and keep you coming back. It’s actually proven that retention at many gyms is driven by attendance in group fitness classes. There’s something about showing up at the same time and place regularly, knowing you will see your workout friends, ready to work up a sweat with you!
If you can’t find someone in person, there are multiple social media groups, and online coaches or challenges that can help keep you accountable. Many of these are free. So, if you're looking for a way to keep yourself motivated and committed to working out, having an exercise buddy or a group to be a part of is a great place to start!
4) Set goals that are reasonable and attainable in the area of fitness.
It's important to set realistic goals that you can achieve, and break them down into smaller, manageable pieces.
Setting goals that are reasonable and attainable in the area of fitness is key to achieving the results you desire. The first step is to determine what your current fitness level is. You can do this by tracking your daily activity, and your current cardiovascular health and strength. How quickly do you get winded? Have you ever lifted weights? If so, how heavy? Once you have an idea of your current fitness level, set a goal that is realistic and achievable. Start slowly - start with light exercises like walking, jogging, or biking and gradually increase the intensity over time.
For example, if you’re new to fitness, start with a goal of walking for 30 minutes a day, 4 days per week. As you become more comfortable, you can add additional days, increase the duration of your walk, or add in strength training. You should also track your progress, so you can adjust your goals as needed. Using a fitness tracker is a great way to do this. It keeps track of your steps and your activities through the watch or through an app. I personally enjoy the FitBit, as it is budget-friendly, and does what I need it to do.
You can also use an old-fashioned, paper diary or workout log. Download our free, printable food and habit tracker here. Setting realistic and attainable goals can help you stay motivated and reach your fitness goals.
All in all, starting to work out can be an intimidating process, but taking a few of these steps will help make it easier. You don't have to be a fitness guru overnight - it's all about taking small steps and gradually increasing your level of activity. Starting off with what you are most comfortable with and setting attainable goals will give you the best chance at success. Enlisting the help of an exercise buddy or accountability partner might just be the extra push you need to stick with it too.
Committing yourself to investing time into physical fitness can truly pay dividends in terms of increased energy levels, improved sleep patterns, and motivation for other goals as well. So, if you are ready to start making your health a priority today, then roll up your sleeves and get going! Take that first step towards bettering both your body and mind - try one of the activities we mentioned today and get started with your first workout today!