Deciding that you need to exercise is easy, figuring out where to start can be a little more difficult. Don’t be stuck in fitness limbo because you don’t know what to do! Follow these steps to get you started..
Finding your “why”
It’s a good idea at the beginning to understand why you want to increase your fitness level ..is it because you want to improve a medical condition? So you will have the energy to play with your kids? Because there is an event coming up (like a high school or family reunion) and you want to look your best? Having a clear understanding of your reasons will help your motivation to stay on track if/when you start to get discouraged. Remember that working towards your fitness goals is a process ..it won’t happen overnight!
Set your goals
Is your “why” that you want to be able to run around with your kids without losing your breath? Make your goal something like running 2 miles without stopping (so you can play with your kids). Want to fit into your old tux at that family wedding? Make your goal losing 30 pounds (so you can fit into that tux)!
Making a connection in this way will attach an emotional response to your goal, helping you stay determined when the going gets tough.
Determine your fitness level
Know your limits!
Figure out where you are with your strength and endurance before you jump whole-hog into a fitness program. Test yourself to see how much you can lift, or how long you can jog before you have to stop to walk. Use those figures as a starting point and work from there. If you can’t jog, start with walking and slowly build up to jogging. Don’t try to do too much too fast or you may cause yourself injury.
What are your preferences?
Do you like working out at the gym or at home? Do you prefer strength training or cardio? Do you like dancing, kickboxing or yoga? Are you into sports? Determine what type of activity you like so you don’t end up doing something you hate just because you think you should..this is setting yourself up for failure! Do some research on the internet, ask your friends for suggestions, or think back to a time when you did something fun and use the memory as inspiration.
Decide on a program
You’ve discovered your why and made your goals, know what your fitness level is, and determined what activities you like/don’t like. Now you can start looking for a program that fits all of these factors!
Try these resources to help you find the right program for you:
- Social media sites like Pinterest or Instagram
- Local (the gym around the corner) or national (Beachbody) businesses
- Internet searches
- Online health and fitness coaches, or personal trainers
- Recommendations from people you know
- Local sports or fitness groups
Once you find a program you can do it on your own, or you can find an accountability partner, or someone who will be there to support you in your fitness journey. Who you choose is up to you (friend/family, member of a support group you belong to, a coach) but it should be someone who can help you remember why you’re doing this and can lift you up when you’re feeling down.
One last bit of advice:
Make sure that you are fueling your body properly. You can exercise for 8 hours a day (not recommended), but if you go to a fast food joint everyday after working out, you won’t get the results you want. Eat clean foods, drink lots of water, and stay away from anything processed. Proper nutrition is important and should be a part of every fitness program!!