How to Start an Exercise Program
Getting started is often the hardest part of any new venture. Beginning a new exercise program is no different. For many of us this is something we know little or nothing about. Exercise is something that we know that we should do. We hear how good for us it is. Everyone makes it sound so easy. Others make it look so easy. But for some of us we are simply lost.
Step 1: Reframe your mind
Maybe your body is in pretty decent shape if you have exercised in the past and just gotten off track for a while. What about those that have never exercised? Maybe your body is extremely out of shape. Your muscles are weak, your joints don’t move as well as you would like, and you get out of breath doing simple things. Being out of shape can make it that much harder to exercise and get in better shape. After college I found myself steadily gaining weight, not exercising and out of shape. Luckily for me I had been active and played sports in the past. Yet I could not start where I used to be. Of course I tried to, but my body just wouldn’t have it. I learned very quickly just how much strength and stamina I had lost. It was very disheartening. A part of me wanted to just throw in the towel and say this is too hard. Thankfully, I did not quit. Instead I reframed my mind. I decided to start slow and accept that it may take longer than I would have liked to get to my goal.
Step 2: Figure out your starting point
Figure out your starting point with simple exercises such as walking, swimming, strength training, etc. I started with getting up before work and walking until I felt tired of walking. At first that was only about 10 minutes. Then I would stop. And I didn’t let myself feel bad about it most days. I gave myself credit for getting up before work and doing something. That is where I was and that was my starting point whether I liked it or not. Your starting point may be 30 seconds, 5 minutes, or even 60 minutes.
Step 3: Get Going
Put one foot in front of the other and get going. That may sound like cheesy advice but we have to get started or we will never reach our goals. Getting started does not have to be perfect. We do not have to know what we are doing. We will struggle along the way. I would have never thought that getting started walking would have led to me becoming a top professional fitness competitor winning the WNBF Ms. Universe and now being a Women’s Fat Loss Expert. If I were to tell that to my out of shape and overweight former self I would never have believed it would be possible. And it certainly wasn’t possible until I got going.
Step 4: Keep Going
After getting started on my “get up early and go walking” regimen I wanted to quit several times. I would stay up late the night before and be too tired for my early morning wake-up. I went through the normal get sick and get out of my exercise routine struggles. I would look in the mirror and still not be happy with the body starring back at me. Because I was out of shape my energy level was extremely low so it was hard to muster up the get up and go. But I kept going. When I fell down I picked myself back up. Sometimes faster than others. Even now I am still falling and picking myself back up. I should be pretty good at it by now J That is the real secret to living healthier and happier – Get started and when you fall down (and we will all fall down) pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and get back at it.
I would love to hear how you got started in the comments section below.