Starting a fitness routine or getting back into exercise can be daunting and full of negative thoughts surrounding it. A couple of my own personal thoughts that creep in include “I won’t be as flexible as I was so I have to start again”, “I think it will be tiring and I don’t know when I will start to see results” or the old “I’m just not ready for this”.
These are ideas to help with setting out where ever you are at.
- Support system – Having a person to give you a gentle nudge, inspire you, or go with you to work out can be a great boost to your own fitness routine. You can be a support to your friend as well – you would essentially be each other’s accountability partners. You are both more likely to stick to your commitments due to not letting the other person down by canceling last minute. There may be a competitive streak between you that helps with motivation. The camaraderie Support is so important to keep you on the journey.
- Keep a journal – this is for planning in your workouts, writing down what you achieved and how you feel about it at the time. It can be a digital record in your phone, a physical one that you document your appointments in or a separate one for exercise that you can doodle in. I use my journal for adding in what I weighed and measured at the start so then as the weeks progress and I can review how I am doing. It’s good to document and be ok with where you are at. Your body is an amazing entity that can evolve and adapt. Also it’s amazing to see the small milestones as you go. I was very uncoordinated doing burpees and now I would say there is a definite improvement. I’m still not passionate about them but who knows maybe one day… If you’ve added your planned workout in your schedule treat it like you would another appointment – you wouldn’t cancel on a friend for lunch or meeting a client for work so why cancel on something that will be benefiting your wellbeing? It’s important to put yourself first even if you have a busy schedule.
- Set goals – It’s important to set personal goals and realistic timelines to reach them. Goal setting can help you stay motivated. It’s about finding a goal that inspires you or where you want to be physically. For example your goal could be running a marathon, being able to play with your kids without getting out of breath or feeling strong. Spend some time creating a visual of how this goal would look for you and document in your own way how you would feel when you achieve it. It can be kept in your journal or notes some where that you can reference back. I sometimes prefer visual images to help me with my goals. Sharing your goals with your support system will help as they can remind you on the days when you don’t want to exercise and simply crash out on the sofa why you wanted to start exercising in the first place.
- Mix it up – have fun with the exercises that you are doing. If you don’t enjoy the exercise you are doing then you aren’t going to stick with it. You will always find an excuse to avoid it. Try new things that you haven’t before such as a kick boxing class or Pilates or even running outdoors rather than in the gym. Obviously classes can be budget depending but there are quite a few free classes run by companies such as Nike Run Clubs, Nike Training Clubs, Asics Running Club, Lululemon Yoga Club, Sweaty Betty and local parks or groups such as rollerblading. It may take a little hunting around to find a free class in your area but there are plenty out there. The classes are a great way to add a social aspect to your workout routine.
- Little and often – Building up a routine is like building a muscle. It takes time and small repetitions. Try to incorporate exercise into your everyday which can include 20 minutes walking to work, taking the stairs in the office building between meetings, volunteering to walk the dog, doing a 20 minute work out in the living room. I started to get back into exercise by incorporating a few small elements that over time have had a great impact. I usually follow a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout program which means each session is 20 minutes (AM & PM sessions) with the aim to do 40 minutes per day usually 5 days a week. I will usually aim to do at least 20 minutes and adjust my program according to my schedule. Even though the sessions can be super exhausting I am feeling stronger and more capable.