New-found motivation to start a workout routine is great! There’s nothing better than becoming dedicated to something that will make you a healthier person. But, if you’re going from working out only a little bit or not at all to working out regularly, you want to ease into your new routine.
If you jump right into the deep end, you could end up injuring yourself or burning yourself out and giving up on your efforts. You’re going to be working muscles in new ways and working muscles you may have never worked before, so it’s important to be careful. Also, working out is HARD. That’s why “work” is in the name of it. If you do it right, it’s not easy! Jumping right into an intense routine will burn your body out and exhaust and overwhelm you, which could cause you to throw in the towel. Even though you’re excited to get going, it’s important to slowly transition into the routine you ultimately want to have because then you’re much more likely to stick with it and to do it safely.
Here are some tips for easing into a new fitness routine:
Add an extra fitness day every week until you’re working out 5 days a week. This way you’re not making a massive change right off the bat and you let your body (and schedule) adjust to your new routine. Your goal should be to work out 5 consecutive days and to take 2 consecutive days off so that your body can fully recover.
Fit in fitness in your regular daily routines. If you normally take the elevator, take the stairs. Go on a walk on your lunch break. Park further away from the store when you go shopping. Adding little bursts of activity into your daily routine will keep you from feeling overwhelmed by changing up your routine. A great way to make sure you’re being active throughout your regular activities is to get a fitness tracker, like a FitBit.
Workout from home first. While the gym is an amazing tool or getting in shape, it can be intimidating to join one if you’re not confident in your athletic abilities. These days, it’s SO easy to workout from home with all of the videos that are available. You can also go for runs and walks around your neighborhood or even splurge on some at-home cardio equipment. Check Craigslist and local gyms to try to get a good deal on something!
Work on the basics. Don’t try to do all those intricate moves you see fitness professionals doing on Instagram. If you don’t know how to do basic moves correctly, you’ll end up injuring yourself doing more complicated moves or adding more weight than you’re ready for. Stick to the basics: squats, lunges, bicep curls, push-ups, and crunches.
Take introductory classes. Classes are a great way to get active because it’s always fun to be in a group setting and have a professional guide you through your workout. Find out which classes are more entry level, and stick with those when you’re getting started. If you take the hardest class and you’re not ready for it, you’re not going to stick with it. Talk to someone at your gym to see what they recommend for you!
Get a trainer. If you can afford a personal trainer, they’re an amazing tool to get into a fitness routine. They’ll sit with you to assess your athletic ability and talk about your goals, come up with a routine for you, and work with you one-on-one to safely achieve your goals. You’re not going to do repair work on your house if you don’t know what you’re doing, so don’t do repair work on your body if you don’t know how! But, don’t feel obligated to buy big packages of sessions from a trainer. Start out with a couple so they can get you on the right track and then make the best decision for yourself physically and financially afterwards.
Try different ways of working out. There are countless ways to work out, so it’s good to try a bunch of different things to see what you like. Whatever you like to do the most is what you’re most likely to stick to. How will you know if you like Zumba, yoga, cross-training, kickboxing, barre, cycling, strength training, swimming, or running (etc, etc, etc) unless you try them? If ClassPass is available in your area, consider using it because it’s a great way to try out different styles of fitness. Go to classpass.com to learn about it!
Find a fitness friend! Working out is WAY more fun if you have someone to do it with. Preferably, you want someone who’s at your same fitness level so you feel like you’re in it together and you can motivate each other. But if someone more advance than you is willing to take you under their wing, take advantage of it! It’s like having a pseudo-personal trainer without paying for it. A good friend will always know just what to say to motivate you and keep you working towards achieving your goals