How to Create a Sustainable Fitness Lifestyle
We’ve all been there… tons of motivation and excitement with your new gym membership card in hand. You can almost envision all of the incredible workouts you’re going to have, and how strong, fit, and healthy you’re going to be! This time, you’ve got it! There’s no going back… you are starting your fitness journey for good!
Then you walk into a gym and see all of the equipment… and all the people… some who even seem to know what they are doing… and the overwhelm sets in. You hide on a treadmill, a bike, or the oh-so-safe leg extension machine. Maybe you get the gumption to trek over to the free weight area, only to feel bombarded by the meatheads with their gigantic headphones and muscle tees.
And the cycle of reduced motivation begins.
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place, as we’ve got 4 tips for starting and sticking to your fitness lifestyle!
#1 Start with finding a gym or a place that you feel comfortable in.
Not every gym will be the same. Some places will have more free weights (which I will dive into later) or machines than other places. Some will be bigger and some smaller. Some glamorous and some basic. Find the one that speaks to you and where you feel at home in the environment.
Regardless of size or equipment, the best piece of advice on choosing the right location for you, will be finding something that is close to home or close to your work so that you can create a consistent schedule. If you choose a facility out of the way it will certainly hinder consistency.
It’s also worth checking to see if your insurance offers any reimbursement if you go a certain amount of times throughout the month.
Lastly, you want to choose a place that has dumbbells and barbells. Once you become more familiar with working out, you will want and need more exercises aside from machines.
#2 Assess your fitness level and find your goals.
Be sure to record a baseline for yourself so you can see the progress that you will be making. Finding some of those baselines might take one or two times while you are working out but in the long run it will be more beneficial for you. Some of the baselines that you could set for yourself could be:
- How long it takes for you to walk 1 mile
- How many push ups you can do, either standard or modified
- How many squats you can do in a minute
- Fan favorite: your weight!
There are many other baselines you could look at but they should be things that get you excited about getting stronger/faster at performing, and it’s good to choose a variety of baselines (different muscle groups; strength and endurance; etc.) so you can see your improvement in multiple areas.
After you find out where you are at, you will want to write down your goals. Having clear goals (both process and outcome) will help motivate you on the days that get tougher. They will also help you determine how you are doing compared to when you started. Even if only one of your baselines has improved, progress is progress and you’re on the right track.
The overarching tip here is to be sure to track everything! Having a record of your progress is incredibly rewarding to look back on!
#3 Create a routine with intention, to ensure sustainability
This is where you get to have some fun with it. There are a number of ways that you can create a routine that you enjoy.
Here are some examples:
- Create a new playlist to listen to
- Eat a small quick meal before your workout
- Listen to a podcast while you drive to the gym
- Warm up or stretch before your workout
Creating a routine is very important to being consistent. Without a routine, true habits are not formed and it makes it all too easy to veer off track. If you create a routine with intention and incorporate things you enjoy, you will soon find yourself looking forward to the routine AND your workouts!
It’s also important to have a plan for the workout itself. This will help you stay more accountable to yourself and your workouts. By creating a plan you then will be able to track how your exercises are going. If you are unsure of where to start or even what to do, this is the perfect time to reach out to a professional to help ensure that you get the most of your workouts. Making sure that you are progressing even if it is just one extra rep or adding 2.5 pounds on a lift.
There is so much that can go into a workout routine.
Most importantly, start slow!!
When starting a new workout routine, you will be sore in the beginning and you don’t want to over do it. Start with two or three days a week, and once that has been a consistent habit for 6-8 weeks, you can start to add more workouts. Under no circumstances should you start a new workout routine with daily workouts. Your body needs time to get used to the process.
#4 Start exercising
Okay this one goes without saying, BUT, it has to be said because sometimes we get so caught up in getting the gym membership, buying new workout shoes, reading blogs, and setting up our schedules, that we forget to actually take the necessary final step – which is to do the work!
So get to work, have fun and enjoy the process!
Along the way there will be times that things feel easy and times that things won’t. Just keep in mind your goals and make sure that you stay consistent and you will CRUSH any goal that you have set for yourself!