If there is one thing that I hear A LOT, it’s that people “really need to get back into a workout routine” but just don’t know where to start.
Let me assure you, getting started is the hardest part. Beginning a workout routine means divvying from your current routine, and who likes change? It also means starting something that is not going to feel all that great for a few days and, in fact, may cause more pain!
However, beginning a workout routine will improve your physical and mental health almost immediately. It’s something that you NEED to do. I”m not saying that you jump straight into competitive Crossfit or running marathons, but this article will help you find something that works for you!
block out time
In order to begin a regular workout routine, you first need to find the time, something we all struggle with.
In terms of time, as you are just starting out, don’t stress yourself out that you have to create 1-2 hour block in between work, kids, after school activities, dinner and bedtime routines. You need a realistic period of time that works for you.
This can mean ten minutes before you shower in the morning and another ten minutes while dinner simmers at night. If your schedule is a bit more flexible, try to block off 20-30 minutes. I know plenty of people who plan their workouts for 10pm and others that are happy to wake up at the crack of dawn and get started as 6am. What works for you, is what’s important.
create a space
Where are you planning to workout?
Personally, I prefer to workout at my house as my social butterfly skills have morphed into wallflower camoflage. What is your preference?
Many people find that they are able to stay more accountable to their workout routine if they commit to working out at a gym. After all, having paid the fee to get fit you might as well do so! However, keep in mind that going to a gym to workout is going to add time to your workout.
One advantage of the gym is access to trainers. If you are just starting out you may want to take advantage of this feature.
If you choose to workout at home, make sure that you have enough space to do so. I say this loosely as you really don’t need a lot of room. I workout in a 4ft by 8ft space, everyday. You don’t need your own dance studio, I promise.
With the space taken care of, what workouts will you do? Are you planning to hop around youtube or purchase dvds? Will you take the advice of a trainer or research your own moves? All of these are great. I am a youtube workout junkie for sure, but when you are just starting out make sure that you have 3-5 workouts that you can stick with for a few weeks. Jillian Michaels has some great workouts with 3 different levels of difficulty that are perfect for getting started.
Also make sure that you have a few dumbbells lying around if you are planning to workout from home. I would start with 3, 5, 8, and maybe even 10 pounds sets to start. This is what i use at home and they have served me well for years.
For a few other equipment ideas and access to workout DVD’s that I recommend click here.
determine your fitness level
The last thing you want to do when beginning a new workout routine, is overdo it on the first day. If you wake up for day 2 or 3 of your new routine and you can barely walk or lift your arms, your motivation will plummet and you will end up skipping a workout. This isn’t a terrible thing once your routine is firmly established, but when it’s new, taking time off is a precurser to skipping too many workouts down the road and eventually falling completely off the workout wagon.
If this is the first time you have worked out in years, then you want to start very slow. A great place to start is with “walking” workouts (many can be found on youtube) and and routines that say “low-impact.” These will get your muscles moving and your heart rate up without all the moves that could cause serious muscle pain the next day. Once you have done these for a few weeks you can bump it up a notch, just be aware of your body and what it is telling you. You can always modify workouts and moves so that they are lower impact or do fewer reps when you first start out.
If you are more fit but are simply trying to get into better fitness habits, you need to be sure that you are challenging yourself enough to cause changes in your body but not so much that you may cause injury. A common mistake is for people to think that because they have been spending 40 minutes on an eliptical machine for 6 months they can easily jump into to more dynamic movements with weights. This will cause you injury very quickly. Always take your time when beginning new movements and don’t be afraid to modify at first.
Find your motivation
This is one of the hardest parts of working out. When you are first beginning a workout routine your motivation is KEY. Once your routine is firmly established, however, your motivation takes a backseat to your desire to continue your routine. My workouts are simply a part of my day now that I am used to doing them, and if I miss one I don’t feel right, physically or mentally.
What is your motivation? Are you trying to lose weight? Tone up? Find a healthy balance in your life? Whatever your motivation, make sure it is STRONG. You need this to push yourself to do the first few workouts. Quitting is so easy, especially at the beginning when you’re tired, you don’t know the workout, aren’t seeing results, and are sore. Try writing down your motivation on sticky notes and leaving them where you know you will see them. It’s harder to skip workouts when you have constant reminders of why you want to do them.
For a few more tips on motivations, click HERE.
Don’t Expect too much too fast
As a coach and personal trainer, my husband sees this a lot with his clients. After a few sessions they are disappointed that they haven’t lost 20 pounds or X amount of inches.
Make sure that your expectations are realistic. You’re not going to see immediate results in weight loss or toning. If these are your only goals your best bet for seeing results is to take a full frontal picture in your bathing suit and take one each month on the same day to compare. You will see results this way that you won’t notice on a day to day basis.
After a week or two your routine will begin to feel more NORMAL, and you won’t have to push yourself so hard to begin each day. Don’t expect your workouts to get EASY, however. As you get stronger your workouts should progress as well. If you continue doing the same workout despite having progressed beyond it, you will find your body no longer improving.
GET going fitness champ!
STICK TO YOUR SCHEDULE! This is the one piece of advice I can give that will really establish your routine and get your fitness goals kicking. No matter what your motivation, no matter your time constraints or sore muscles, stick with your workout. If you need milk, it can wait til after your workout. Don’t let mundane chores interfere with your fitness schedule or you will find that you no longer have one.
Make your fitness a priority! YOU are important.
If you do have to put off or skip a workout for some reason, be sure to pencil it back in ASAP. Try to get to it later the same day if possible but definitely fit it in sometime the same week. DO NOT JUST SKIP IT. You may be tired, sore, bored, etc…you won’t always want to workout, but you always SHOULD.
So, are you ready to get your fitness routine in gear!? You can do it! The hardest part is getting started, and that only lasts few days!