Breaking Through Your First Obstacle: Yourself
So you’re not in the best shape. I’ll tell you now that it’s imperative you come to grips with this. Why, you may ask? You’ll need to be prepared for your first few weeks of exercising and I’m not going to sugar coat it – they’re going to be uncomfortable, annoying and even draining. But that’s because you’re out of shape and once you break through this phase, exercise becomes second hand nature. Maybe even a fun, positive obsession.
I’m guessing you’re probably rolling your eyes at me right now, thinking how can exercise be fun? I’ll let you in on a little secret. After a few months, you’ll see your hard work coming into play and begin liking what you see. That adrenalin starts pumping through your veins and before you know it you’re craving results and not wanting to miss a workout. You’ll be sick less often too. Even feel more confident and have clear mental focus. You’ll want to feel and look this good all the time! Excited yet?
Breaking Through Your Second Obstacle: Yourself
Why haven’t you begun exercising yet? My guess would be that you’re making excuses or haven’t made any time to make yourself a priority. I’ve heard all the stories and I get it, you’re busy. Work. Kids. Errands. Social life. Things get hectic and it’s usually your health that suffers. Eating right and finding time for the gym is a constant struggle– especially since you don’t know you’re way around the gym or if you could even afford one. And then there’s always that self-conscious feeling that gym members look so much better than you and again, you give in to your insecurities about what others might be thinking.
The funny thing is, anyone that does notice is probably commending you on your efforts to get up and be active! Remember, they’ve been there too.
Where To Begin
First things first – Make sure you consult with your physician before beginning an exercise regimen. Once you have clearance, make the decision that today is the day. I hate that lousy excuse – “I’ll start on Monday, since that’s the beginning of the week.” Monday turns into Tuesday. Tuesday turns into next week. And next week turns into a year. Once you’ve decided you’re ready, take that day to plan everything out. The purpose of planning ahead of time is to create consistency.
Evaluate how fit you are for your chosen physical activity. After assessing your fitness level, set some workout goals. For example, do you want to run a marathon, or just be able to jog at a nice pace without getting winded? Setting realistic goals will definitely encourage you along the way. Then decide how active you want to be and plan out your week/month accordingly.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity, such as walking, on most days of the week. The key here is to get up and get that booty moving! I’m not saying you have to spend 2 hours pumping iron at the gym, but if your goal was weight loss make sure you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming.
The best part is there are so many exercise options to choose from – walking, jogging, running, golfing, volleyball, karate, aqua aerobics, circuit training, soccer, basketball, mountain climbing, hiking, zumba, yoga, pilates, plyometrics, football, pole dancing, kick boxing, gymnastics, rock climbing, canoeing, frisbee, tennis, racquet ball, skating, tae bo, spinning, badminton, jump rope, skiing, obstacle courses, and weight training. The important thing is to choose activities you enjoy because that will increase your chances of making exercise a habit. Switch up your routine every few weeks or try something new and kick boredom to the curb!
Ready. Set. Go! But Start Off Slow.
Make sure you warm up and do some light stretching before your workout begins. This will get the blood flowing through your muscles but you can save the majority of your stretching for after the workout.
I can’t stress this enough – Start Off Slow! You’ll be tempted to overdo it and starting off your exercise routine too aggressively can cause some fall backs. You may end up too tired, too sore the next day or even injured all because you thought this way of working out would produce quicker results. Ease into your training.
You can walk around your neighborhood until you build up enough endurance to run, jump rope through the park or go for a bike ride down town. If you know you’re one of those people that will need someone to hold them accountable, join your local running club. If you prefer to start out in comfort of your own home you can get down with squats, lunges, pushups, vertical leg crunches, planks, tricep dips, mountain climbers, and vertical jumps. These condition your body by using your own body weight as resistance. To boost your strength and aerobic capacity, you may also want to invest in some home exercise equipment.
If you need a little more insurance, find a gym that you feel has beneficial features and hire a personal trainer. A great way to boost activity and curve boredom is by involving yourself in the numerous club classes and activities they’ll have going on. Then once you begin your personal training sessions you’ll be guided by a true professional. And odds are, when you’re paying for something and have appointments scheduled, you’re more likely to progress and stick with it since you’re financially invested.
The Last Plan of Attack
Surround yourself with supportive people. Having supportive people in your life is like putting antibiotic and a bandage on a cut. These are the people that want to see you heal and genuinely want to see you succeed. Keep them in your corner! They’ll boost your confidence and be there when you get to brag about how hot you look! In return, you may inspire them to jump on board and follow your lead.
Being active is the fundamental key to your health. You are the one that can change things if you are 100% committed. Challenge yourself to be the best you can be.