Making the decision to start exercising is the easy part. The hard part is actually putting that plan into motion. You find a gym, took the tour, made the decision and signed up. You are ready! Your motivation is at an all-time high. Driving home you are beyond proud of yourself for making the leap and actually signing up for a gym. The night before you lay out your gym clothes and pack your bags with all the necessary essentials, including your shiny new water bottle and your towel for the pools of sweat you will be leaving behind because you are going to destroy your workouts.
The morning comes and it is time to conquer the gym. Your motivation remains at an all-time high. You can’t believe how easy it was to wake up and your excitement is surprisingly high. On the drive over you munch on your protein bar and start to hydrate. Once you have arrived you open the doors, walk proudly to the locker room, trying not to look like a rookie, drop off your gear and then head to the fitness floor. You are abruptly hit with, what do I do now, there is so much equipment? You know how important cardio is and a cardio machine can’t be too difficult to figure out so you hit the treadmill. So many buttons! It’s ok just start running. The person next to you gets faster so you get faster, pretty soon you realize you are incredibly out of breath so you stop and decide it’s time for some weights, how hard can that be. The machines look easy enough to understand, they even have little instructions on the sides. You decide to try every single machine. Why not, you mine as well figure out your favorites, you’re in this for the long haul. After about an hour you finish up your workout, hit the showers and begin the rest of your normally scheduled day feeling accomplished and inspired.
That night you repeat the process, set out clothes, pack your bag but you notice your motivation is a little lower and the soreness is beginning to set in. You lay down and you are out for the count! Your alarm goes off, you role to hit snooze when you realize every muscle, bone, tendon and whatever else hurts. I mean hurts! What happened, I must have hurt myself so I will take the day off. And here in lies the problem!
When starting a new exercise routine we tend to start out so strong and great with high hopes and great intentions. Unfortunately there are many unforeseen flaws in our plan. Here are a few tips to consider when starting out a new exercise plan.
- Slow Down, Be Realistic- It is very easy to remember the days when we could run 5 miles and then go out for the night. Or when you did a die hard bootcamp and didn’t need to immediately take a nap. Start slow! Our bodies respond to exercise differently and pushing too hard is not going to benefit anyone.
- Get Help- Ask questions! Don’t be shy. Every gym has fitness professionals that can help you figure out how to use equipment. Many gyms also have free orientations too. Learning how to properly use the gym equipment is going to make it safer and more comfortable for you to exercise. If you have done all that you can do to learn from the professionals and still feel like a fish out of water, pay for help. What I mean is hire a highly educated and experienced personal trainer. Interview several. Don’t settle on the first one you meet. Once you meet the right one you will know it. Remember, you are going to get very personal with your personal trainer, so make sure that you are comfortable discussing almost anything with them and make sure you like them. The more that you both get along the better team that you can be which creates more success!
- Don’t Get Competitive- The best thing you can do is turn on your blinders. Don’t pay attention to all the people that are around you. Remember, everyone has their own story, their own goals and their own insecurities. Focus on your goal and what you are there to achieve for that day.
- Set realistic goals- Most importantly, set realistic goals! Make a small goal for each day or each week. Setting too large of goals can become discouraging. Setting long term goals, is ok, but on a day to day basis it makes it hard to keep up your motivation. Small goals makes it achievable. For example, you want to lose 30 pounds. Realistically it will take you anywhere between 5-12 months. This is a long time to stay motivated and positive, right? Set your long term goal at 30 pounds but set your weekly goals at 2 pounds, the next week make it 3 more pounds. The small goals make it more achievable.
The biggest thing to remember is fitness and health is going to take time and is something that needs to change for a lifetime not for a year. Make the commitment to yourself to get fit and healthy for the rest of your life not just 2016. Happy New Year everyone now let’s get moving!