Starting any new goal can be intimidating, but when it comes to working out, it can seem especially difficult.
However, the following tips can be a real game-changer in starting your workout routine if you use them and keep them in mind for the long haul.
Know Your “Why”
Before you even set out on your fitness journey, knowing where you want to go is crucial. Keeping up with your new exercise routine and turning it into a daily habit will not always be easy. You’ll want to turn that workout video off, skip going to the gym, or binge the ice cream in your freezer.
Your “why” is the thing that is going to help you stay motivated or resist temptation.
Your “why” is your end goal, the thing that will keep you motivated when you really want to quit. For example, your “why” may be because you want to button those skinny jeans again or take back your post-baby body. Your “why” could also be the numerous health benefits that our bodies reward us with when we exercise, like the slowing of the aging process, helping you feel happier, lengthening your lifespan, improving your body composition, boosting your mental health, strengthening your immune system, and fighting inflammation.
Set SMART Goals
If you’re setting fitness goals, make sure that they’re SMART ones.
Specific – Maybe your goal is to lose weight. That’s awesome, but not specific. How much weight do you want to lose? Are you going to lose weight through diet, exercise, or both? What types of exercises are you going to do? How often are you going to work out? These are all questions that you can answer to make your goal specific.
Measurable – You have to be able to somehow measure or track your progress to ensure that you will meet your goal in your set time frame. So before you start working toward your goal, have a plan. Consider using a Fitbit or Apple watch or fitness apps like MyFitnessPal to help keep track of your progress. You can even go the old-fashioned way by taking measurements with a tape measure!
Attainable – Make sure that your goal is attainable within your given timeframe. If your goal is to get back to the same weight you were in high school, then chances are, that goal is not attainable. However, getting back to your pre-baby body is doable if you’re willing to put in the work and give yourself enough time to get there.
Relevant – Make sure that your goals are achieving your long-term objectives. For example, if you want to build muscle and burn fat, it’s going to take more than just cardio to achieve your goals. As always, I suggest you pair cardio with strength training with HIIT workouts or a similar exercise program.
Time-Oriented – If you’ve worked out with me before, you’ve probably heard me talk about the importance of assigning a number to something so that you give yourself something to work toward. In class, we do this by giving ourselves countdowns, saying things like “5 more burpees” or something similar. However, you can also apply this to a long-term goal. You’ll work hard and keep going if you know the end is in sight.
Put It On Your Calendar
If you really want to implement a fitness routine, you need to start by scheduling it, especially if it’s something flexible, like a run, a trip to the gym, or an online workout.
Whether you’ve got a cute little planner or you’re a Google Calendar girl, I encourage you to physically schedule your workout like you would an appointment on your calendar. This busts the “I don’t have time to work out” excuse and makes it harder for you to sit on the couch and watch TV when you should be working out.
Start Slowly & Work Your Way Up
A common mistake people make when they start exercising is trying to do too much too soon by either scheduling more workouts than their calendar allows or doing exercises that are too intense for their skill level. The last thing you want is to be burnt out, dreading your workouts, and eventually skipping them.
I recommend at least 150 minutes of workout time a week. If this seems intimidating, start with just two workouts a week, adding one day every week. Within a month, you’ll be up to your goal of five 30-minute workouts a week.
When it comes to the intensity of a workout, you can also take your time, starting off with low-intensity activity, working up to moderate-intensity exercise, and eventually high-intensity exercise programs. If you’re weight training, one way to do this is to start with a lighter weight and work your way up to heavier weights. You may start with an 8lb weight, and when you notice your muscles aren’t burning as much when lifting weights, move up to 10 lbs.
Get Accountability Partners
Enlisting a friend as your accountability partner is a great way to stay on track with your fitness goal. If you’re going through the journey together, you can encourage each other along the way and plan workouts together, making you more likely to stick to it.
And when one of you tries to skip a workout or sleep in, you can get in their face and give them that tough love they need to stay on track. At the end of the day, you’re counting on each other to make this fitness dream a reality.
Find a Fitness Program You Love
It can take a while to get in the groove of working out.
You can think of working out like dating – you might try one type of exercise and decide it’s not for you. That’s okay. You don’t have to marry it or make it your one and only.
I encourage you to “date” different types of exercise. Maybe you’re not a runner, but you’ve found a hip-hop dance class that you really love. That’s awesome (just make sure you’re doing equal amounts of cardio and strength training).
The point is to find a physical activity that brings you joy while allowing you to get the most out of your daily routine workout.
At McClure Fitness, we offer a wide variety of programs, with classes taught by different instructors. That means you’re sure to find a program and instructor that you love, which will help you stay on track with your new workout routine.
Check out our online programs to jumpstart your fitness goals today!