Starting a health or fitness journey can be a daunting task. As with many other things in life it's quite often the starting point that's the most difficult. If you're ready to make some lifestyle changes but are stuck on where to begin, this post is for you.
As the famous Benjamin Franklin once said "By failing to prepare, you're preparing to fail"
When you're looking to start a new health and fitness chapter it's important to take a moment to gather your thoughts and make a plan. It's down to you to decide if you're actually ready to make a lifestyle change. The first step is ensuring you have the right mindset, are you going to fully commit to the process and all the unknowns along the way?
If you're ready to change, the next thing to consider is where you'd feel more comfortable exercising, this could be in a large commercial gym, private smaller gym, creating a home gym or simply just working out at home.
While gyms have dedicated space and equipment for a wide range of fitness needs, they also come at a wide range of monthly prices, shared facilities and you have to consider the location of your local gym. Exercising at home eliminates the need to commute to the gym. The comfort of your own home however can come with it's fair share of distractions.
After a little bit of research you can decide on the best possible option for you.
SETTING GOALS - CREATING A VISION
You've decided you're ready to make a healthy change and start your fitness journey. You know where you want to start exercising, now you need to decide what you want to achieve during this journey. It can be a really good motivation tool if you can actually visualise what you want to achieve. Whether this be a slimmer self or successfully completing an exercise task or event, have that vision in your head and use it steer you in the right direction.
A great way to aid with visualisation is to set yourself goals. Goals are simply an identification of something you want to accomplish. Those who set themselves goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals. Further still physically writing down the goal means you're highly likely to be more successful. It's been revealed that actually committing your goal to paper leads to achieving more than simply thinking of your goal (Gail Matthews).
"A goal without a plan is just a wish" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
To help establish these goals you need to make them specific to you and what you want to achieve. It helps if it's something that can be measured as this allows it to be tracked across your journey. Adding a timeframe to the goal helps provide added motivation by allowing you to set yourself deadlines, this increases accountability and desire to meet the deadline.
Everyone's fitness journey is different and individual to themselves, everyone starts their journey at different levels and stages. Therefore it is important to make it realistic and achievable for yourself. If you base the goal off someone else's journey or an unrealistic goal, this can lead to a loss of motivation. Nobody thrives off failure and you don't want set your journey up with unattainable goals to begin with.
If you're feeling creative, another tip for creating a vision for your fitness journey can be to create a vision board. What this is, is a poster or board that includes your goal alongside magazine snippets, inspirational quotes and pictures. When you're not feeling it, looking back at this board can give you that needed gentle push back onto the right path to achieve your goals. A vision board can be mentally stimulating and a great reminder of why you start this journey.
It's okay to be a beginner! Try not to get consumed with the idea of needing to impress or even just making huge improvements in a short space of time. You may have never worked out a day in your life, therefore anything at this stage is an achievement. It could be that you complete an exercise for the first time then build into a full exercise routine. Setting yourself a target to complete an exercise 10 times could be a great place to start. Can't do 10? thats perfectly okay, just do 5.
The important take home from starting small is progress is key. It's better to start small slowly adding yet progressing than perhaps starting too motivated or far ahead of yourself and giving up. Your body also gets more of a chance to adapt to the new demands and this is where improvements are made.
GO EASY ON YOURSELF
Following on from starting small, It is also important not to be too hard on yourself. If you're new to fitness then it's going to feel strange at first. It's not always something your body will be immediately be used to and it could take time to adapt to your new routine, both physically and mentally. Instead of being frustrated with yourself for perhaps not being able to complete everything you set out to do for that week. Remember something is always better than nothing and be pleased with yourself that you've achieved something that maybe you wouldn't of prior to starting your fitness journey.
When people look to transform themselves through a fitness journey, they tend to transform their everyday life as well. This is something that doesn't get accomplished overnight and instead look for opportunities to get better each day and this can take time, so be patient with yourself.
An important thing to remember is that you're looking to start this journey amongst your current life. What this means is some days will be busy with things you may not have anticipated, maybe you slept through your alarm or had to look after a poorly child. Instead of being frustrated with yourself or panic, can you look to adapt your original plan and do something? You can always chop and change your days around where possible to reschedule. Even if this is different from your original plan for example a brisk walk, something is better than nothing and you can feel better with yourself for doing that than nothing all together.
DON'T STRESS OVER WEIGHTS
It's possible to transform your body using no equipment and only your own body. This doesn't mean i'm discouraging you to go to the gym or exercise classes. What this means is that you don't always need to get caught up with all the fancy equipment, quite often a simple plan to start your journey off is also the most effective. This goes back to the preparation section above, it's all about whats right for yourself and sometimes this means you don't need to sign up for an extensive gym membership with all the bolt ons that come with it.
LOOK FOR AN EXERCISE BUDDY
For certain individuals it can be more enjoyable if the experience is shared with someone else. Similarly they might find that they're more successful sharing the journey with someone as the other person can be their support system. This is a important factor when you hit those days where you're in need of that added motivation. A fitness buddy can be anyone from a friend, partner, colleague or family member. When choosing your training partner, look for someone who is sharing similar goals to you.
LOOK FOR HELP
When starting your fitness journey you're not going to have it all figured out or have all the answers. Don't be afraid to ask for help as this can only enhance your journey and likelihood for success. According to a study a staggering 23% of gym users were too embarrassed to ask for help. If you can't ask for help, how can you progress or overcome barriers that might occur along the way?
If you're a beginner having an exercise plan in place is important for many reasons. You want to ensure what you're doing will lead you to your goals, you don't want to be investing time, effort and money into something that leads to a dead end. You also want to ensure that you're exercising correctly and safely. Asking a fitness coach will allow you to learn the correct techniques as well as how to use different types of equipment. Fitness trainers are great resources. They have vast experience within the industry and can answer any questions you may have before you begin. They can also tailor the exercise plan specifically to your goals and help you stick to them as well.
The internet is filled with content that can help you along your journey. If you're trying to avoid paying extra fees for a personal trainer places like Youtube contain video tutorials which can be used to aid you along your journey. Providing help with visual demonstrations in depth workout routines and information all for free. However, you have to be careful about who you choose to follow as not everything online is safe. It's also not tailored to you as an individual so please act with caution looking online.
Anything new is scary, but using our fears can be a powerful tool, it can give us the courage we need to be successful and go for it.
If you enjoyed this post, let me know what you thought in the comments section.
Wanting help with your fitness journey? Contact Me with any concerns or questions you might have around your own fitness journey now!