5 Practical Steps to Begin a Fitness Program
We are half way through 2018 and you have yet to begin your New Year’s Resolution. Maybe you did begin but you quickly fell off your routine. Before you get down on yourself, know that it is never too late to start. But this time, you can start with a practical plan. Most people make the mistake of diving in to the unknown. They begin a fitness program without taking the appropriate steps to ensure success. Below are 5 practical steps you can begin today to ensure that your fitness program is successful, fun, and sustainable!
- Establish Your “Why”
Identifying why you want to start is the first step beginning a new fitness journey. This is your motivation. Reasons such as “I want to lose weight” or “My doctor told me too” are indeed valid reasons, but your motivation must come from something deeper in order for you to stick with it. Exercising to lose weight or because someone told you to will only carry you so far. Eventually you will lose the motivation and quit.
Dig a little deeper. Why do you want to lose the weight? Why has your doctor told you to exercise? What will exercising bring to your life? Identify your motivation and write it down where you can see it every day.
- Consult Your Doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor today and let them know you are interested in beginning a fitness routine. It is important to get clearance by your doctor and know what limitations you may have, if any. This is an important step prior to step #3.
- Consult a Fitness Professional
Do not try to take matters into your own hands. Let the professionals handle it. Consult a personal trainer, a fitness instructor, or coach at your local fitness facility. They can help you prioritize what you need to work on, address and mobility and stability issues, assess your nutritional needs, and guide you developing a plan that fits your lifestyle and availability.
Personal trainers are excellent resources for those new to exercises. Group fitness classes can be overwhelming if you do not know the exercises. Working with a personal trainer will help you develop body aware and become comfortable with a variety of movements and exercise modalities.
- Develop a Game Plan
When starting a new fitness routine, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and go all in the first week. More often than not, you either end up burnt out or injured shortly after. Develop a game plan that will address your concerns, fits your interests, and adheres to your commitment level.
Set SMART Goals that are specific, measureable, attainable, reasonable, and timely. Look at your schedule and be honest about the time and intensity level that you can commit to a new fitness program. It is much better to consistently go for a 30-minute walk, 3 days each week than to sign up for a 6 week program that meets for an hour every single day of the week and quickly fall off. Whatever you choose to do, own it. Consistency creates results. Develop your game plan and own it. And if you need help developing a plan that is right for you, go back Step #3.
- Have Fun!
Enjoying your fitness program is the MOST important key in ensuring success. Check out programs offered at your local fitness center or try out that new gym you drive by everyday on your way home from work. Maybe fitness centers are not for you and that’s okay. Try a rock climbing gym, join a workout class at your local park, or try a new dance class. You can even hire an online personal trainer if you feel constrained with time. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you enjoy it. You are more likely to make your fitness routine a part of your lifestyle is it is something that brings you joy.
BONUS TIP: Do not forget to ask on your spouse, best friend, or even your kids to join you. When you can make it a community affair, you have instant accountability. The more supported you feel, the more success will come your way!
Daniela Serna, CSCS, NASM CPT, ACE HC