When I was in high school I hated physical activity. I was the kid who tried to find their way out of gym class and wasn’t on any sports teams. At almost 6 feet tall, this wasn’t because I didn’t have any natural athletic ability… I just didn’t have any motivation to move my body! I never “worked out” and the lazier that I was the lazier I wanted to be. It was a total cycle of inactivity. Then, just before my high school graduation, I started running in the park near my house. To be entirely honest I don’t even remember why I started. It wasn’t about weight loss or looking a certain way, I just wanted to get outside and get moving. From there, I started down a long (and sometimes bumpy) journey to learning to love fitness and working out regularly.
Finding a way to incorporate exercise into your life can be tricky. It never seems like we have enough time in the day to get into a routine that works, and as soon as we do something pops up that throws us for a loop. While it isn’t the easiest thing in the world, finding time to workout is really just a matter of finding something that you enjoy and prioritizing it!
If you’re starting from scratch, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind that will really help you build good habits and make your workout routine into something sustainable. For the record, I have a history of failing epically at a lot of these points and can say from personal experience that they really do make a big difference in ensuring that it is easy to stick to your decision to get in shape.
Exercising doesn’t need to be as big a deal as we make it. Start by carving out a half an hour every few days to go for light jog or doing a little yoga. This can be the doorway into making fitness more enjoyable and starting your path towards a more serious workout routine. Do what works for your life right now and once it becomes part of your routine, try dabbling in some new activities or setting some goals for yourself. This way, you won’t plateau or get bored.
Find something that you enjoy
This is key – I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to try a bunch of different things until you find an activity that you actually like to do. Forcing yourself to do something that you hate is not going to help you build a routine that you will want to stick to. Are you a more low-key person? Try weight lifting, yoga or a more low intensity form of cardio like swimming. Are you always buzzing and need a way to burn off some of you pent up energy? Try running, high intensity interval training or an endurance activity like cycling. If you’re like me and you prefer mixing it up, you can always do a little bit of everything throughout the week!
Find something that fits your budget
There is a fitness option for every budget. If you aren’t looking to invest a lot of money into your wellness journey yet, take a look online for articles and Youtube videos to help you get motivated and learn the technique for whatever activity you are interested in. There are also a lot of great apps available that offer virtual exercise classes or can record your progress. If you are able to invest a little bit more, consider joining a gym or getting a fitness pass to a studio that offers a bunch of different classes. Having someone walk you through what you’re doing is a great way to build confidence.
Overcome your fears
There is no time like the present to try out something that you have always wanted to do but are intimidated by. A few years ago, I started lifting weights at my University’s gym. It. Was. Terrifying. I stood my ground and decided that no matter how goofy I looked, or how intimidated I was by the other people there, I was committed to learning how to lift. I just educated myself and focussed on my own progress until I was so comfortable and confident that I was trying to talk other female friends into doing the same thing! It felt really empowering to achieve my goal and squash what had previously been such a big fear.
Stick it out for the first three weeks
Regardless of the level that you’re starting at, beginning a new workout routine can be physically rough. I have always found that after about the third week, my body starts to accept the new challenges I’m putting it through. The pain and stiffness start to make me feel proud and strong, rather than sorry for myself. If you’re feeling disheartened, just remember to take it one step at a time and that the first bit is the hardest. Not only will it get easier with time, but you will get faster, stronger, healthier and happier.
Do it for yourself
Figuring out your ultimate motivation is really important. Do you want to feel more confident and sure of yourself in your body? Do you want to regain some of your previous athletic abilities? Lose weight? Have more energy? Sleep better? Achieve a goal? Whatever the reason for starting your new commitment to working out, make sure that you find something that is important to you. You’re responsible for your own health and happiness, so find what motivates you and run with it!
Let me know if you have any other ideas for how to stay fit and motivated in the comments below!
Lots of love,