I’ve been involved in fitness my whole life-starting with teaching an aerobics class in college- but I haven’t always been in good shape, it took 20 years for me to learn what I needed to get the results I was looking for and truly become healthy. I meet people all the time that want to improve their health, but getting started can seem overwhelming and downright confusing. Should they start a fitness program, join a gym, change what they eat, take new supplements or all of the above? Some of you may already have started, but may be struggling to get the results you would like. So where and how does one get started (or take it to the next level) and what are some tips to help stay motivated and on track to reach our goals? Let’s look at some step by step tips to get you started or reset your fitness journey.
One more important point: Try not to focus on just losing weight or trying to add 5 years onto your life, instead focus on getting fit so you can go live life now, in the present, to the fullest. Focusing on feeling good and having energy will help in times when you plateau and may temporarily stop losing weight, but you will feel better after you workout and fuel your body with healthy foods, so you will be more apt to continue.
1. To start, pick an activity that you enjoy. If you like to swim, then start with that. If you like to walk or run, get some good quality sneakers. If you like aerobics, you can choose a gym or home videos or maybe a martial arts class is right for you. The point is to do something you like, so you’ll WANT to do it. Down the line you’ll need to add variety and I’ll go into more detail about that in a future article, but for now choose something you like. For those that need to reset their fitness, you’ll want to add variety. I was a runner for years, ran more miles than I care to ever count, but didn’t get the results I wanted until I added in a variety of other workouts which included strength training, cardio, yoga and sculpting. If you have an injury, I will be covering working out with injuries in a future article as well. It is highly suggested that you consult your doctor first before starting a new fitness routine.
2. Find a workout buddy! Research shows that people are more successful with their fitness goals if they have someone that is helping support them/working out with them. Since many of you may have spouses that are deployed, this will be especially helpful for you. Find a friend that is interested in the same activities you are. Some of my best friends in life came from asking a neighbor to walk or jog with me and as we improved our health, great friendships developed, too! If you don’t have anyone local, you can find a virtual buddy online on Facebook or fitness message boards. This gives you accountability, someone other than yourself that will hold you accountable and vice versa. If you simply can’t find a buddy, you can feel free to contact me, I love helping others with their fitness goals. That is why I became a free fitness coach. You can search for me and friend me on Facebook, just include a message with your request, so I know who you are and how I can help.
3. Start fueling your body with healthy foods. I honestly believe that good nutrition is 80% of the equation when you are trying to become fit and healthy. I am a former junk food junkie, and it wasn’t until I changed what I put in my body daily, that I actually started to feel better, become healthy and see fitness results. To start, replace whatever breakfast you are currently eating with a healthy breakfast. Whole wheat bagel thins, oatmeal, scrambled egg whites, fruit, etc. Your goal will be to eat whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and lean proteins, but to keep things simple as you get started, start the day off right with a healthy breakfast! We’ll talk more about nutrition in the future.
4. Just do it! Start, right away, while you’re excited about making a change. You will feel better after your very first workout or healthy meal. For the best success, you will need to commit to working out 5 to 6 times a week (take 1 day off a week for rest) for at least 20 minutes each workout. You will ultimately want to eat 90% healthy foods (non-processed foods). And it starts with taking the first steps, literally. To quote John S. Hinds, “Keys to success: Research your plan for success, expect success, and just do it.”