I’ve been through many times in my life where I’ve had to stop working out, and then start all over again, from what felt like scratch. So with my knowledge and experience, I’m sharing how to start an exercise routine! Regardless if you’re brand new to working out, or if you’re just wanting to get started again, I think you’ll find this post really helpful.
I’ve talked before about how I incorporated exercise with illness, how I got my first pull-up and increased my upper body strength without lifting weights, and even my current fitness routine – posts that you might find helpful, depending on where you’re at with your own exercise routine.
Obviously I’m not a trainer or fitness professional of any kind, and I don’t technically recommend anything that I’ve written in this post. I’m simply sharing what works for me and my body.
When I asked my readers what they loathe about working out, or what’s holding them back from having an exercise routine, out of all of responses, the overwhelming majority was about two topics.
These were the biggest struggles mentioned…
1. Being judged by others for not being in shape or knowing the correct movements.
Here’s the thing when it comes to being judged for anything in life…
If you feel that someone else is judging you, that’s their issue, not yours. Truly happy people don’t have a reason to judge others or put them down. I know it isn’t always easy, but it’s up to you to let their judgements go. It’s also important to consider if you’re just assuming that they’re judging you, without actually knowing if that’s the case.
It’s not your job to care what anyone else thinks about you, and anyone who’s judging someone else for any sort of reason is in a very sad place themselves. Remember that.
Now get on with yo bad self. 😉
1. The dread of doing certain moves…
Maybe you loath…
Or whatever your least favorite move is…
I used to be stuck in this mentality that I had to work out a certain way. WHY? I have no idea, but after hearing so many similar responses, apparently I’m not the only one who thought this.
The truth is if you loathe doing a certain type of exercise/workout, you can absolutely not do it. Maybe deep down, it’s not actually what your body needs anyway.
When it comes to actually getting started with working out, here’s a few tips other tips that I’ve got for you!
How to Start an Exercise Routine:
1. Know Your Why:
This is the backbone to getting pretty much anything done in life. Your why has to be bigger than any excuse that you could come up with.
WHY do you want to workout? Is it because you know how awesome you feel when you’re healthy and in shape, or because you want to be able to chase your kids around?
Whatever it is, write it down and place it somewhere that you’ll see it daily. If your why is bigger than your excuse, you’ll make it happen.
After all, we always find the time for what we value the most. It might take some creative thinking, but there is always time for what we truly want.
2. Hire a Trainer:
If you’re new to working out, lack the motivation to get started, or feel like you’ve got no clue what you’re doing…this is the time to hire a trainer, or find a workout partner!
This could mean hiring a trainer on your own or with a friend, finding a friend to workout with, finding a group coaching class at a local gym/park, going to a group class at a gym…anything that makes you feel more accountable to showing up, and in turn, makes working out more fun.
Going to a group class is a GREAT way to learn new workout moves, while finding what you do and don’t like! That’s exactly how I got started with finding the types of exercise that I love!
3. Have a Goal:
I ALWAYS do better when I have a goal that I’m working towards, so that I’m not just doing something aimlessly. While I’m not one to ever tell you what your goals should be, I personally like setting goals towards something that I want to accomplish in my fitness, which has absolutely nothing to do with the way that I look, or a number on a scale.
When I have a fitness goal, I break it down into an approachable strategy. Literally everything in life can be scaled down.
Let’s say that you have a goal of getting your first pistol squat. Starting with a straight up pistol squat isn’t possible for some (many), so it’s all about breaking that goal down. Search YouTube to find videos from trained professionals on how to start working towards a pistol squat, or hire a trainer to help.
Maybe it’s your first push-up? They’re tough, and you can always start working towards a regular pushu-up by on an elevated surface, such as against a wall, on stairs, a bench or a sturdy box!
Or, let’s say that you really want to get your first pull-up, or just gain upper body strength. I’ve been there myself, and created a video tutorial to help!
4. Create New Habits:
Getting started with any exercise routine can feel tough at first, but the more you stick with it, the easier and more natural it will become.
Many of us often create these massive goals – going from eating fast food and zero movement, to having a goal of working out 5 days a week and eating squeaky clean 100% of the time. While that’s great and all, it’ll also overwhelm just about anyone.
This is where scaling down your goal is key, in order to create a sustainable lifestyle change.
Consider starting a goal of going to the gym for 40 minutes, twice a week and having all homemade meals on those days. That seems much more attainable, right?
Once you’ve got that down and have created a new habit, you can always add onto it, and say, go for 3-4 days every week! Before you know it, this new, healthier way of life will simply become who you are.
5. Video Your Progress:
Our minds are tricky. I know for myself that the moment I achieve a goal, my mind instantly starts looking for what’s next. I don’t naturally take the time to realize what I’ve just accomplished, so I’ve found ways to help myself refocus. Videoing my progress is one of them. On Instagram, I use the hashtag #kristenxninja on all of my training videos, so that I (and anyone else) can see my progress since the very beginning!
Even if you’re the only one who will ever see it, taking videos of yourself to reflect back on can really help you to see how far you’ve come. Progress is pure motivation, no matter how big or small, if you see that you’re making progress, it can help to keep you going and wanting more.
6. Focus on What You CAN Do:
It’s so dang easy to get caught up in all the things that we aren’t able to do just yet. To look at that person working out next to you and assume that it must just be “easy” for them, because they can do X better than you can.
Am I right, or am I right?
I’ve been through many seasons of life where I’ve needed to stop working out for days, weeks and even months at a time.
So I get it. The struggle to start back up again is REAL.
This is why it’s so important to get your mind right, and focus on what your body IS capable of in this moment.
Do you have legs that move you from one place to another, day after day? Arms that pick things up for you? A heart that beats? Yeah? Then let’s celebrate what you have, instead of focusing on everything that you wish were different!
Recognizing that movement is truly a gift was a total game changer for me. Once I realized that not everyone gets the gift of movement, it changed the way that I looked at my workouts.
Recognize how far you’ve come in your body, and how far it’s gotten you. Sure, your body may look different that someone else’s, but it’s YOURS, and it’s a gift.