Starting a new fitness routine is the hardest part of going to the gym. Even if you don’t have (or want) a gym membership, beginning to incorporate healthy physical activity into your routine can be difficult.
Movement is a huge part of becoming the healthiest, most fit version of yourself. You have probably heard of the numerous benefits of physical activity, from chronic disease prevention to aiding in mental health. The fact that working out improves sleep may even be enough to get you wanting to start a fitness regime!
But getting over that initial hump is hard. If you haven’t had an active lifestyle, or have simply fallen out of one, getting back into it is a process.
Here are a few tips to help you start that fitness routine in the healthiest, most sustainable way possible:
What to eat before and after a workout may seem confusing. To simplify it, just remember to eat a carbohydrate source 30 to 90 minutes before exercise, and a protein source within a couple hours afterwards. Food has an important function as fuel, so experiment to find what types of food and times work best for you.
Jumping into a super intense workout routine is unsustainable, and rarely fun for anyone. Instead, begin by trying out different forms of exercise to find what works for you. Find a balance of both strengthening activities and cardiovascular improving activities. You’ll want to find types of physical activity that are realistic and that you enjoy. From there, you can build on your fitness routine by increasing the frequency, time and intensity of your workouts.
Have a plan
When trying to establish new habits, being intentional is key. You will have to put time and effort into planning out when and where you will be working out. Visualizing what your individual exercise plan will look like will help you make it into a reality.
If one obstacle you have to work around is finding the time to workout, begin by literally scheduling workouts into your day. This way the workouts appear just as important as all the other things you have to do, and you are less likely to brush them off when the time comes.
Know when to push yourself (and when to stop)
According to the Overload Principle, you need to push your muscles harder than they are accustomed to in order to see improvements in your strength. This means that your workouts should be hard, but not hard to the point of feeling intense physical pain.
If you go into a workout with the mindset of forcing yourself or punishing yourself by doing something you do not enjoy, the likelihood is that your workout regime will not last. Allow yourself to rest when your body needs it, and be active when you know it will make you feel better in the long run. I find it helpful to think of exercise as something I want to do, not have to do.
The many things the human body is capable of are amazing. Exercising is a way of celebrating health and the joy of movement. There are so many fun ways to incorporate movement into your day! What are some of your favourite ways to be active? Let us know in the comments below.