Starting a fitness routine can be daunting, especially if you are new to exercise or have fallen out of your routine. However, regular physical activity is essential for maintaining good health and well-being, and starting a fitness routine can be an excellent way to improve your physical and mental health.
In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide on starting a fitness routine and staying motivated. We will cover everything from setting fitness goals and choosing the right type of exercise to finding a workout partner and creating a schedule that works for you.
By following these steps, you can create a sustainable and enjoyable fitness routine that fits your lifestyle and keeps you motivated. Whether you are trying to lose weight, improve your fitness level, or simply maintain a healthy lifestyle, this guide will provide the tools and strategies you need to start a fitness routine and stay on track.
So, if you are ready to improve your physical and mental health and create a fitness routine that works for you, let’s dive into the world of fitness and motivation!
1. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
Shift your thinking from a couch potato mentality to thinking like an athlete. This may sound like a big challenge, but it’s not as big a leap as you think. Essex, Massachusetts, mom April Bowling, 33, stopped using her busy life as an excuse not to exercise. After the birth of her children (now ages five and three), Bowling started viewing exercise as a way to set a strong example for her kids.
“At first, I looked at it as time away from them, but I realized kids do what they see you doing,” she says. “Now both kids are very physically active.”
Bowling started thinking about her workouts at odd hours as a blessing rather than a sacrifice. She also found inspiration in others — looking outward for extra motivation. “Take inspiration from everyone you meet — even people who can’t be physically active,” she says. “It reinforces why I’m lucky.” Whether you need to put an “I’m lucky” sticky note on the mirror or you can see the power of health in your children’s eyes, committing to a fitness routine begins in your head.
2. SET A GOAL
There’s nothing more motivating than that first 5K looming in bold letters on the calendar. Register early and commit to an exercise program that will get you in shape by race day.
“Set realistic goals that include clear milestones, and as you progress toward your goal, you’ll find a ripple effect occurs and things fall into place in your work, home life, and health,” says Stacy Fowler, a Denver-based personal trainer and life coach.
The goal doesn’t even have to be an organized race. Maybe it’s a mission to fit into that bikini by the annual beach vacation or that old pair of jeans buried in your closet. Whatever it is, define it, write it down and revisit it daily.
Make sure it’s realistic, and you can actually adapt your life around meeting the goal, says Philip Haberstro, executive director of the National Association for Health and Fitness in Buffalo, New York. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Bowling started with a mini-triathlon in 2006 (250-yard swim, 10-mile bike ride, and 3.5-mile run). This year she completed Ironman Wisconsin (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run).
3. SCHEDULE A REGULAR WORKOUT TIME
Some of the most committed exercisers do it every day before the sun comes up or late at night when the kids are in bed. Sit down with your weekly schedule and try to build in an hour each day to be good to your body.
Tamira Cole, 24, a graduate student in Clarksville, Tennessee, was motivated to exercise regularly by the energy boost it brought to her day. “It’s easy to stay in bed. But you have to set the alarm and take the extra initiative,” she says. “Then you’ll find you have more energy and can be more efficient throughout the day.”
If you convince yourself you’ll fit in a workout sometime after that last meeting, once the kids go down for a nap or when your spouse arrives home on time, failure is certain. Chances are a last-minute invitation will come along, the weather will foil a bike ride, or the kids won’t nap. Write your workout on your calendar, set up a daycare, and rearrange things around this one hour as if it were any other important appointment you have to keep. Or use technology like daily e-mail reminders, workout journaling websites, or apps to keep you on task, says Haberstro.
4. THINK FUN AND VARIETY
By nature, humans need change and variety to stay motivated. We also need to have fun — even while we’re working hard. Do both!
Whether it’s a toning and sculpting class that changes choreography every week or a trail run that changes scenery every season, design your exercise routine around a variety of exercise methods. Make sure you include activities you truly enjoy and look forward to doing, and can even make you forget you’re working out — like dancing, hula hooping, or playing sports with family and friends.
Listen to your inner voice when choosing the best workout for you, says Fowler. Cole found a hip-hop class that satisfied her passion for dance. “I had more energy from dancing than I did from running,” she says.
Workout variety also challenges your body in unique ways, which may introduce you to new muscle groups you didn’t even know you had. Consider disciplines that give you more bang for your buck, suggests Haberstro. Ta’i chi and yoga, for example, serve dual purposes as mental therapy and physical activity. Or try a workout DVD to help you shake up your routine .
5. REACH OUT TO OTHERS FOR SUPPORT
In America, some tend to have trouble asking for help, says Bowling. Yet in order to stick to a fitness program, we need buy-in and encouragement from other people.
“Exercising is built into our family life,” Bowling adds. “We view it as a necessity. Sometimes it takes the place of watching TV together.”
For others, it’s finding a friend with a shared zest for running and planning scheduled workouts together. It’s easy to hit the snooze button when it’s just you, but much harder to leave a friend waiting at the track.
Consider joining a social networking site or online community with fitness trainers and nutrition experts — and support from other people trying to lose weight and maintain healthy eating and exercise routines. People who get this kind of online support are proven to lose up to three times more weight than people going it alone because of the daily fitness motivation they receive.
Lobbying your workplace to offer on-site fitness, yoga, or Pilates classes will also support your mission for a healthy lifestyle, Haberstro points out.
So start thinking of yourself as an athlete and not a spectator. Set a goal, enlist a friend, mark it on your calendar, and have some fun. You’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of better health, more happiness, and more energy for everything else in your life. Let us know if you have any other way to get motivated to work out or to motivate someone else to work out that work well for you!