In my line of work, I hear a lot of excuses. They range from everything to the weather to parenting responsibilities — and everything in between. I get it, I know there are lots of reasons not to work out. But I know there are many, many more reasons why you should.
For those naysayers that won’t take my word for it and have indicated a desire to start exercising and working on healthy living goals, this post is for you. I’ll explain how to start exercising but more importantly, how to keep exercising.
Making Fitness a Habit: 9 Tips to Get You Started | Running on Happy
Set a [realist] goal.
The first step to starting any fitness routine is to set a goal. It can be any goal from “I want to workout 3 times per week” to “I want to run 1,000 miles” this year. So long as your goal is realistic, achievable, and will hold your attention, you’re in good shape. But I caution you — without setting a goal, you will set yourself up for failure.
Create repetition. Incorporate cues.
After you set your goal, you need to create an executable plan of action. While most people complain about working out in the morning, the vast majority of people — by and large — are most successful when they wake up and exercise first thing. The science backs this, too. Additionally, a common theme among the most consistent exercisers is they follow a cue to work out. For example, a morning alarm. Once you repeat your workout routine enough times, waking up to work out will begin to come naturally. This theory works for any time of the day, not just the morning. As long as you create repetition and incorporate cues, you’ll be programmed to work out and it will become a habit you’re not interested in quitting.
Recruit a running/training buddy.
A very simple way to stay on target with any new fitness regimen is to recruit a training partner. Don’t want to wake up at 6:00 am for a lonely, dark run? Call your friend who also likes to work out. Make a pact that you’ll hold each other accountable. Join a running group or CrossFit team that will cheer you on and encourage you as you progress in your goals.
Hire a coach for added accountability.
Coaches are fantastic for so many reasons, but one of the key components of coaching is accountability. Many coaches will say they’re not the ones doing the work — you are — and there’s no reason to apologize for missing a workout. But let me ask you something. When was the last time you wanted to disappoint someone for not holding up your end of the bargain? It’s human nature to want to please people and do what is expected so even though your coach won’t expect you to apologize for a missed workout, you’ll still want to live up to expectations set forth.
Make the goal of each workout achievable and challenging.
Do not, I repeat, do not set yourself up for failure by biting off more than you can chew. If you want to bench 200 pounds but you’re starting from zero, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure (and injury) if in your first few workouts your goal is 50 pounds. If your goal is to run 25 miles in a week but you’re starting at 10 miles per week, you can’t expect to run 7 miles in one workout. Choose an achievable goal that will challenge you but keep you safe. The quickest way to drop any workout plan is to take on too much, too soon. If you find that you’ve injured yourself, it is important that you find help to get better, there are places out there, for example, somewhere like Team8 Physio, that might be able to help you get over your injury and get you back on your run.
Record your progress daily.
One of the best ways to gauge your exercise and fitness is to track your progress on a daily basis. This will not only show you on paper (or phone or tablet) that you’re moving forward, but it will also help with the repetition and setting up cues to continue your momentum.
Invest in new apparel or footwear.
If you’re in a slump or just not sure where to start with a fitness regimen or running plan, invest in some new workout apparel or footwear. Nothing says “wear me and exercise!” like expensive athletic apparel. Believe me, the guilt alone of not wearing it will con you into moving your body.
Eat well, be well.
Cut out the junk and processed foods. This is a no-brainer but you’d be amazed at the amount of garbage people are still eating day in and day out. As a running coach, I try to instill healthy eating into my athletes’ brains early on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But believe me — having “been there, done that,” dropping the empty calories and refined sugars will do a phenomenal job at weight loss, muscle tone, and positive progress toward your fitness goals.
Reward yourself on a job well done.
Recap your progress weekly and congratulate yourself with every milestone you achieve. When you move from run/walk to pure running, give yourself a huge pat on the back. That’s no small feat. When you can cycle longer than ever before and feel strong and accomplished afterward, give yourself a high five. To celebrate, get a pedicure, sleep in late, or get a massage. (Guys, you can do this stuff, too. Equal opportunity, here!) If you want to get some more helpful tips and advice to help you on your fitness journey, check out Fitness Clone to learn more!
By following these simple steps, you too can make exercise, fitness, and healthy living a healthy habit that you continue with for many years to come. It’s never too late to make a positive change in your life. Write down your goal, incorporate repetition and cues, and watch yourself succeed. You’ve got this!!
TALK TO ME!
If you’re an avid exerciser, what’s one tip you can share to get people moving?
And if you’re someone trying to make a habit out of exercise, what’s one reason you haven’t been able to stick with it?