Starting An Exercise Routine Can Really SUCK…
Trust me…TRUST ME…I get it.
I am a FITNESS teacher and it’s STILL hard to start and stick with a good exercise routine.
You know why?
Because most workout routines aren’t fun.
There, I said it.
Working out can be boring as hell and, therefore, hard to stick with.
But there’s more to it than that. I think people, like myself, tend to go all in with something right at the beginning only to peter out before we actually get anywhere…
And it’s really exhausting. More exhausting than just going to the gym and working out, F.F.S.
So if you ARE anything like me, you have to find little ways to almost ‘trick’ yourself into continuing with things even when your immediate brain is saying, “No, no, no, don’t wanna”…
That’s What I’m Gonna Share With You Today
This is what I did to get and keep myself on the fitness bandwagon. It’s still gonna take work; anything worth having usually does.
But it’s all about setting goals and creating habits.You have train yourself to like it. Then you’ll begin to look forward to your daily workouts like I did.
Set Realistic Goals For Yourself
Before you do anything else, you wanna set some goals…
- Weight loss
Maybe not necessarily in that order, but you get it.
It can be really hard to get back into something you’ve left for a while… especially something as difficult (and even boring) as exercise. I mean, lets be real, unless you’re really passionate about something, work is never fun.
And working out is work.
So you have to set some goals early on to motivate yourself.
Think of it like your promise to your future self. When most people make a promise, they feel an obligation to keep it.
So promise yourself that you’ll lose X-amount of pounds, or drop X-amount of dress sizes by X-date.
Go to your doctor and get a physical, then make 2 more appointments: one 6 weeks later and another 6 weeks after that (or something). Set goals to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure a little by each appointment date.
I find it’s best to start with the big goals (say, ‘this time next year’) and then set the small ones in between (years, months, weeks, then days).
Start With Your Diet
I think there’s a bit of a misconception out there that simply running on a treadmill for 30 minutes every day will help you lose weight and get healthy. Sorry, but it’s not true. Trust me, I’ve tried. There’s not really any way around it: your diet plays a big part in your fitness.
So once you’ve set your goals, start working on your diet.
Yeah, I know…we all ate junk food for the holidays. But now it’s time to get back to reality, where refined sugar is bad for you and chocolate is a special treat.
My tried-and-true method is to start with breakfast one week, then lunch the next week and dinner the next.
The goal is to create something sustainable that you can replace your holiday diet foods with.
Avoid crash-diets like the plague. You know what I mean: those ‘cleanses’ that promise you’ll drop like 10 lbs. in a week? Ugh. Just no. Don’t even think about it.
Sure, you’ll lose the weight, but you’ll more than likely be miserable…and then guess what happens when you start eating your regular diet again?
Those 10 lbs. come RIGHT back.
So don’t be afraid of food…it’s not your enemy. Just start crowding out junk foods with healthy foods.
Begin Simple Exercises, 5-10 Minutes in The Morning
Once you’ve started working on making yourself healthier on the inside, you can start working on your outside.
But again, you don’t want to just hit the ground running. For one thing, you’ll probably lose steam pretty fast. Second, you could really hurt yourself if you go in too strong.
So take it easy. Start with like 5-10 minutes of Hatha Yoga in the morning to wake yourself up. This is how I got into a regular exercise routine, and it really helped me.
It doesn’t have to be yoga; it can be any kind of light exercise that you want. I just suggest yoga because it’s easy to keep calm and light.
Plus, there are a ton of great, free yoga videos out there on YouTube. If you’re not ready to commit to a gym membership yet, this is a great place to start.
Gradually Increase the Time Each Week
(Notice a pattern with the ‘week by week’ thing? Giving yourself 1 full week to adjust to something helps towards creating a habit. You’re not overwhelming yourself, but you’re not cooling your heels, either.)
As you start getting used to exercising again, you can increase the time little by little.
I’d say increasing by 5 minutes each week is reasonable. So that’s:
- Week 1: 10 min/day
- Week 2: 15 min/day
- Week 3: 20 min/day
- Week 4: 25 min/day
- Week 5: 30 min/day
I would NOT recommend doing more than 30 minutes of intense exercise every day. If you want to exercise for more time, you’ll want to take rest days. But we’ll get into that later.
Mix It Up
Keep your exercise routines interesting. Sometimes, if you start to feel too regimented, you get bored. It can start to become like ‘another day at the office’. Ick.
The good news is that there are so many free resources out there for you to use. You can watch YouTube videos, do challenges, get creative and try your own routines (once you feel comfortable enough).
My dad suggested a neat little thing with a deck of cards that he and my brother used to do for wrestling.
You take the deck of cards and draw one; each numbered card represents that number, face-cards represent 10, and Aces are 11. You choose an exercise (squats, crunches, push-ups, etc.) and do a set of those that correspond with the number on the card.
Set a timer for yourself of about 2-3 minutes on each exercise you do and keep drawing cards and doing sets until the timer runs out.
Keeps it interesting.
Start a Pattern and Make It A Habit
Try to stick with this stuff for 21 days straight. This is how you create a habit.
Once you hit the 21 day stretch, try to go for 60 days, then 100.
In fact, a long-ass time ago, there was a challenge called the #GiveIt100 challenge…you can still find it on Twitter. I have no clue how relevant this still is, but I highly encourage you to try it.
Hire A Personal Trainer
Having trouble sticking to your goals? Hire a personal trainer.
Yeah, I know, it costs money…but it can be SO worth it. Especially if you’re not sure if you’re exercising effectively on your own.
Having a personal trainer can literally transform your workout. They’re like a professional accountability partner, which you’ll want to get for your goal-setting anyway.
You tell them your fitness goals, they’ll help you reach them. But the best part is that all of your workouts will be personalized. So instead of watching a workout video or trying to push yourself around the circuit on your own, your trainer will create a workout for you to follow that is completely based on you.
It can be a little costly; depends on the trainer you choose. But think of it as an investment into your health.
Health is wealth, after all.
My God… I LOVE taking different kinds of fitness classes.
There are a couple ways that you can take advantage of fitness classes:
- You can join a gym and check out their schedule to see what they offer, or
- You can check out a few gyms or studios in your area and try drop-in classes
I’d recommend that you do a combination of the two. This way, you can have a weekly schedule of classes readily available to you and try a new one here and there.
Now here’s about the time I gotta throw in a shameless plug: you have GOT to try KaribFIT.
KaribFIT is a workout style that incorporates elements of African and Caribbean dance stylings for toning and endurance.
If you follow me on social media, you’ll see in my bios that I teach an up-and-coming KaribFIT style called FLOW. It’s a mixture of all that stuff I just mentioned, PLUS yoga for flexibility.
FLOW is coming soon!
REST WHEN YOU NEED TO
Giiiiirrrrl…TAKE A KNEE!!!
Make SURE that you take rest days in between…especially when you start exercising intensely. You don’t want to hurt or overwork yourself.
Over-exercising can be almost as counterproductive as not exercising at all. You can actually gain weight back. When you starve yourself or lose calories too fast, your body goes into survival mode and metabolism slows down. Among other things. So you might be working against yourself.
Remember that rest is just as important as action and it’s all about balance. This is an important life lesson, too. Not just for working out ;).
Be Patient With Yourself
Even once you’ve progressed, even with rest days in between, every day is different from the last.
You’re not always going to be able to do everything all the time. Some days, you’re gonna be able to do 15 good push-ups. Other days, you may only be able to do 10 good push-ups. It’s better to do those 10 really well than to try to do 15 shit ones.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t push yourself because you should. Push for the 15. But don’t be upset if it’s just not happening. Maybe switch to another workout.
Basically, keep in mind that this is about progress, not perfection. Perfection is utterly impossible. I’m gonna sound like a broken record with this because I literally covered it in my Wellness Wednesday post about my terrible excuse for veganism. But it’s true, and you should keep it in mind for everything you do.
Now It’s Your Turn
I shared all of this with you because this is what works for me. It worked when I was first starting my fitness journey, and it’s what works when I fall off and start up again.
And now I want to know if you think it may work for you, too.
Have you been struggling to get started with working out and getting healthier? Maybe you have no problem getting started, but you suck at sticking to it. Either way, I think this could be a great way for you to try and jump over the hurdle.
Drop a comment below and tell me what you think:
Do you think this could work for you? OR why don’t you go try, then come back and report how you’re doing?
I read every comment I get, so I’d be super happy to see how my suggestions are working.
See you on Sunday for the Spiritual Sunday post!