Whether you’re a fitness newbie or a fitness veteran, starting a new fitness journey isn’t easy, but you can do a few things to set yourself up for success.
Generally speaking, being healthy and staying fit isn’t all that complicated. Most doctors, nutritionists and trainers would pretty much agree that it’s really about filling your diet with loads of fruits, vegetables and whole foods while regularly exercising. That’s the bottom line, but let’s be real. Not many things in this world are as simple as black and white, and that includes fitness – especially for busy/broke/stressed millennials.
Today, fitness looks and feels completely different than it felt when I was 21. Adulting has re-defined my idea of health, and rather than solely focusing on the term “fitness,” these days I’m more focused on finding a healthy balance. After a grueling year of all-things-media and neglecting my physical well-being, I’ve been keeping a pretty consistent fitness regimen that has me feeling better than I have in a long time.
Here are four tips for those who are ready to start that journey.
1. Get on a schedule
Purpose: To avoid setting yourself up for failure.
To reach success in most areas of life, you need some type of plan. When I was 20 years old, random gym days and midnight workouts weren’t a problem. I would go to the gym whenever I could, even if that meant my workout happened at 12 a.m. That actually worked for me back then, but if that were my plan now, I would never find the time to exercise and my workouts wouldn’t be consistent. Waiting until you have time to work out is essentially setting yourself up for failure. To combat this, you’ve got to make the time. Pick your days and times and pencil it in. You’ll be more likely to hold yourself accountable – and soon, it’ll become second nature.
2. Invest in things that will keep you consistent
Purpose: Eliminates room for excuses.
Everyone has a different lifestyle, a different work schedule, the list goes on…so, you need to invest in things that work for YOU and make fitness more accessible for YOU. This could mean investing in things like a gym membership, or a workout mat, or home weights. At some point in your fitness journey, you’re going to want to make investments – just make sure they’re the right investments for you.
For example, for 10 years, most of my workouts happened at the gym. Going to the gym was always the best form of exercise for me. I found motivation in getting out of my house and being surrounded by others who were working out. I never purchased any workout equipment or anything of that nature. After moving to Brooklyn, I could no longer take a three-minute drive to the gym. Gym trips would mean walking and riding the train, and hitting the gym would take a three-hour chunk out of my day. That’s not realistic for my current lifestyle, and for the last year I’ve found a lot success with at-home workouts. Something completely new to me.
3. Plan your workouts before your workout
Purpose: To avoid sub-par workouts and little results.
Time is of the essence. If you’re working out during your lunch break and have exactly one hour to get ready for your workout, hit the gym and shower (I did this for my first year in NYC), then you really don’t have 10 minutes of your workout time to ponder and think about your next exercise. You also don’t want to waste time standing around or thinking too much, when you could be using those minutes to get in more exercise and keep up the intensity. (side note: intensity matters)
To have a successful workout, you need to have some knowledge, and this means doing some research – luckily we have the internet. Tip: start by focusing on different muscle groups on different days of the week.
4. Make it a lifestyle, not a chore
Purpose: To ensure your fitness journey is a long-term one.
If it doesn’t become your lifestyle, it will eventually be replaced by other aspects of your life. Things will always come up, and things will always happen. Making fitness a lifestyle means changing your mindset on how you live day-to-day. But what do I really mean by “make it a lifestyle?”
Improve the way you eat and the way you exercise at the same time. Improve your schedule, and do what you can to make sure you get enough sleep. Stop accepting invitations to restaurants that only have unhealthy eats.
Starting your fitness journey off strong really means a whole lifestyle shift. As I get older I believe what they say more and more – it’s more mental than physical, so your mind has to be in the right place.