4 Ways to Start a Workout Routine and Actually Stick to It!
I get asked a couple of questions all the time. 1) Have I always been active and into fitness? and 2) How did I become motivated enough to start a workout routine and stick with it? To answer these questions, I have to bring the story back to when I was a little kid. Maybe you had a similar upbringing and can relate to some of this too!
The Wonder Years
When my sisters and I were younger, my mom would basically lock us out of the house in the summer. We could go in to use the bathroom and eat lunch and that was about it. Left to own imaginations we were running around the neighborhood, riding bikes, climbing trees, playing tag and kickball, building hammocks out of old sheets, and making up games. Being free to roam and play – it was kind of an amazing way to grow up!
I also started playing softball around 8-yrs old and volleyball at 12. Back then I thought I’d play sports all the way through college. I mean, I was the 1988 MVP of our all-star softball game. Sorry for the poor quality, but here’s some awesome proof of my 10-year old self! Oh yes, I was rocking that short haircut and the shorty shorts!
But things didn’t quite turn out like I had thought they would. For high school, my dad moved us to a different state and I started at a new school. It was like beginning all over again – but in a much more competitive arena. I didn’t realize the kids there were being recruited for the high school teams from an early age. Yes, they let everyone try-out, but they already knew who they were taking. And sadly for me, I was not on that list, thus ending my “professional” career.
During college, I wasn’t very active at all and as promised I gained the “Freshman 15”. And by the time I graduated college, I was about 20lbs overweight. The irony was that I had a job in the weight room on campus, but had only used the equipment a handful of times. Thinking back it was such a missed opportunity, but there was NO WAY I was going to lift weights in front of a bunch of meatheads. Nope, not me! So instead, I sat there at my attendant’s desk, hiding in my big baggie clothes, pretending to not give a shit.
When I got my first apartment after college and it had a workout room, I decided it was time to finally get off my booty and lose some of that weight I gained. But I quickly realized I had no clue what I should even be doing in there. I mean, I spent so much time trying not to watch the meatheads, that none of it even stuck with me. I felt completely lost! Ugh!
Yes, You Can Start a Workout Routine
So trust me, if you’re brand spanking new or still in the early stages of trying to start a workout routine, I get it!! You’re probably feeling intimidated, insecure, or confused? Or maybe when you do go to the gym you just hop on the treadmill because you weren’t sure what else to do? Completely normal!
I want to lay out a couple of options you can start with in hopes that it will help you get past your initial fear, get into action, and start a workout routine too!
Before you start any new workout routine or workout program, I want you to think about how active you are right now. Be honest because this is just for you! Next, think about what a realistic activity level would look like for you (for your first 1-2 weeks). Will doing one workout during that time make a huge difference? Not really. But if you haven’t been active at all and you feel out of shape, starting with 7 days a week may be too ambitious.
You have to find your happy medium. It’s a good idea to start out with a shorter workout routine, about 10-20 minutes a day. By starting out slowly at first, your body will start getting used to being more active, building up your strength and endurance as you go. Then you can gradually increase the length, intensity, and frequency of your workout sessions when you’re ready. You may not realize it, but you’ll already be on your way to creating a new healthy habit – increasing your chances of successfully sticking to a regular workout routine as part of your lifestyle.
Pick a Type of Exercise
If you have no idea what kind of workout would be best for you, you can always start out by walking for the first couple of weeks. Start with a half a mile, and then increase the distance and speed. You can then start to explore your options by adding in some weight training, cardio, yoga, group lead classes, or another form of exercise. Start by thinking about what appeals to you the most.
Are you short on time? Maybe you don’t like the idea of having to share equipment or wait in line to use popular machines. If so, an at-home workout routine would be perfect for you. To get the most bang for your buck, I recommend checking out Beachbody on Demand (BOD).
I personally have a BOD subscription and do all my workouts at home and couldn’t be happier because I don’t like sharing my space or equipment. Yes, I’m a brat like that! I love the convenience of not having to spend time going to a gym. And I get to use my own shower after my workout – no waiting!
With this streaming service, you’re able to watch over 700 workouts from any of your Wi-Fi enabled devices (phone, tablet, smart tv, or computer) and can choose from options like cardio, weight training, HIIT, core, dance, core, yoga, Pilates, and much more!
Tip for success: With so much variety at your fingertips, you can switch it up, depending on what you feel like doing each day, and never get bored. It’s like having all the trainers and all the classes right in your living room, minus the sweat and grunts from everyone else!
Maybe you’re more of a social type, like to be around people, or do best in live classes with an instructor? If so, checking out what your local gym or YMCA has to offer might be more appealing to you. If you don’t have space at home for weights or extra equipment and want to take advantage of using the machines or even hire a personal trainer, the gym is a great option for starting your new workout routine.
Tip for success: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Talk to someone at the gym and have them give you instructions on how to use the machines properly to ensure your workout is done safely. It’s better to ask for help than to guess and end up in one of those viral videos for not knowing what you’re doing at the gym. Omg, no thank you!
Does your community sponsor adult sports clubs or leagues? If so, you can probably sign up to join a team in just about any sport you can think of! In Chicago we have several organizations to choose from and they offer leagues in basketball, kickball, softball, volleyball, soccer, just to name a few. And you can find one to meet your skill level – from beginner all the way up to college level teams.
Tip for success: If you don’t know enough people to form a team, don’t stress! There is usually an option to sign up as an individual (vs. a whole team) and get placed on a team that’s looking for additional players. You will get to neat new people, be part of a team, and have a lot of fun!
What’s the best part of getting active outdoors to create a workout routine? All you really need is decent weather and some motivation to get out there and get going! A workout routine doesn’t have to feel rigid and structured. If you like the idea of enjoying some fresh air and going wherever your feet can take you, go outside and just start moving! A couple of easy/beginner options that come to mind:
- Exploring nature walks
- Hiking local trails
- Jogging or running
- Swimming at the beach or neighborhood pool
Tip for success: Pick something you know you will enjoy or something you have always wanted to try and just go for it!
You CAN Do This
Whether it’s working out at home, going to the gym, taking a dance or yoga class, doing an outdoor activity, or playing organized sports, there’s something for everyone! There are no limits on what you can try. And believe me, working out doesn’t have to be boring or feel like a chore! Having fun with it is the key point to remember and why I’ve been able to stick with a workout routine as long as I have. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new!
The bottom line is DECIDING that exercise is a big enough priority in your life and then finding something you love.
If you’d like to keep reading on this topic on where to start with your fitness journey, you can also check out my Beginner’s Guide to Working Out blog post for more tips.
To work with me as your Fitness Coach, feel free to fill out my Health Assessment form so we can schedule a FREE 30-minute coaching call. No matter what your starting fitness level is, I can get you started with an effective at-home program to help you reach YOUR goals! It’s not always easy to start being more active, but I’m here to help support you in your journey!
*Disclaimer: If you have an injury or health condition, please check with your doctor and use your best judgment before starting or returning to any fitness routine. Rest when you need to, not when you just ‘want’ to. It’s important to listen to your body. If you’re sick or feel truly wiped out, it’s best to rest and recharge so you can come back even stronger.