We all know the benefits of exercising and having a healthy lifestyle. Those lessons are taught early on in life, that moving your body has a tremendous amount of positive benefit. On a very basic level, consistent exercise helps to:
- Keep your weight under control
- Improve your sleep
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Reduce your risk of certain health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type II diabetes, and heart disease
- Improve your sex life
- Increase your longevity
On a deeper level, exercise not only can decrease the likelihood of depression, but can also be a huge confidence booster. Working out is like stepping into a lab and testing your strength and resiliency.
When you prove to yourself how strong you are, how capable you are, those lessons are easily translated into the rest of your life. Without even knowing it is happening, you are becoming a more confident and secure person.
They know that those benefits from exercising are a necessity, either intrinsically or because someone is telling them they need to make a lifestyle change, however, getting into an exercise routine can be extremely intimidating especially for someone who is newly embarking on a fitness journey.
Oftentimes, that intimidation will outweigh the necessity of creating a workout routine, and the embarrassment around not knowing How to start will prevent someone from trying to start at all.
1. How Do You Begin a Workout Routine?
First, stop thinking about the end result. We can get so focused on what the end of our journey will look like, that we neglect the steps it will take to get there. Remember: Rome was not built in a day, and neither will your exercise routine.
If your goal is to get a healthy lifestyle as a result of incorporating exercise into your daily routine, start with incremental changes. That does not always mean going out and getting the fancy gym equipment for your house or paying to go to the bougie gym down the street.
Once you get that clearance, start by taking daily activities and making them more active.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Wash your own car. Go for a bike ride with the kiddos or go for a walk after dinner. Incremental changes over time will create a lasting lifestyle that you enjoy because those habits are going to be engrained into your routine.
2. When Can I Start Doing Other Exercises?
Exercise can be a very subjective thing, so if you feel like you are ready for a new challenge, then go for it! If you are hesitant to take on a new challenge, give yourself a deadline for when you are going to start with a more formal workout routine.
3. What Should I Do?
Start with some at home workouts. Gyms can be intimidating, for novices and even for professionals. The worst thing to do is to get yourself stuck in the comparison game at the gym and it is something that happens to the best of us.
We get so caught up with what the person next to us is doing, that we forget about our own goals and instead we focus on what they are doing and why we are NOT doing the same thing. That cycle of negativity is only going to hinder your progress.
Your body, your life, your schedule, your journey is NOT the same as the person who is on the treadmill next to you, so comparing yourself to them is like comparing a dog and a cat.
At home workouts can be kept super simple with minimal space or equipment required and can get you moving quickly and without the temptation to look at what the person next to you is doing.
Want an easy at home workout?
- 5 Rounds
- 5 Push ups
- 10 Crunches
- 15 Squats
4. Should I Lift Weights Or Do Cardio?
Do what sounds more appealing to you. When you first start working out, you need to focus on exercising as a means of building a foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Everything you do will compound on one another until eventually, the exercise routine is a part of your daily routine.
That being said, if the exercise is not appealing to you, you will be less likely to do it, so start with something that sounds intriguing or excites you. Maybe you start with some weight lifting, maybe yoga is your thing, maybe you work your walks into jogs and then runs, maybe your cardio is a dance class, regardless of what you do, what matters is that you are doing something.
While there is a tremendous amount of power behind cross-training, do not stress about what you are doing when you start, just start. Over time you will expand what you are currently doing into other modalities of fitness.
5. Do I Need A Plan? How Often Am I Going To Do This?
Yes you need a plan. Please do not try to wing it. When you first start working out, the biggest thing is to figure out what you want to do, and then how it will fit into your day.
6. When I Lift Weights, How Much Should I Lift?
Before you even consider grabbing weights, take into account previous injury or body limitation that could impact the exercise. Because regardless of what you do, using weights will challenge you and will help you gain muscle.
Since every BODY is different, and everyone is at a different place on their fitness journey, here are some general rules of thumb when lifting:
Light weights and high repetitions challenge muscular endurance while heavy weights with lower repetitions challenge strength.
Both will make you stronger, both will have you seeing results, and both are beneficial to any lifting routine. Focus on the type of exercise you are doing, the number of reps you are going for, and then choose your weight accordingly.
7. How Many Calories Do I Burn When I Run?
When you start working out, I do not want you to be worried about the calories you are burning. I know it sounds crazy, especially if your intention behind working is to lose weight but I do not want it to be your main focus.
Because even while I could give you a general number of what the average person burns in terms of calories when they run, everyone is different. The way your body burns calories can be impacted by any number of things, and without more information, you would not be able to get an accurate idea.
Challenge yourself to let go of the focus of caloric burn, and instead be proud of yourself for making time in your busy schedule to take care of you and know that you have already done more in your workout than most people will do all month.
8. How Do I Avoid Getting Bored With My Workouts?
This is the number 1 reason why people stop working out. It is not because they cannot make the time or that they do not want to, it is because they are not being challenged. Working out is a mental game.
Working out is a science experiment in your strength, your resiliency and your ability to show up for yourself. Unfortunately, we are less likely to show up for the necessary aspects of lift, even if they are good for us, if they do not challenge us mentally.
When you start getting bored with a workout that is a huge indicator that the workout is too easy, your muscles are used to what you are doing, and that you need to switch something up.
Just like with anything new, there is a learning curve. Fitness is no different. Be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself, and above everything else remember to applaud your efforts.
No one else is going to get you healthy, no one else is going to take the time to work out for you, but you showing up for yourself and creating this healthy lifestyle is a radical demonstration of self-kindness and love.
When it gets hard, and when you want to quit or do not know where to go next, be sure to remind yourself that all of this hard work and all of the effort will pay off as long as you do not quit.