5 Steps to Help Start Your Fitness Journey on the Right Foot

With the holidays officially in the rearview mirror, that means the nearly half of Americans that made a New Year’s Resolution this year are now thinking, planning, and working on those resolutions. While I believe you can start making changes in your life anytime you see fit, I also know the psychology behind making a change or starting something new at the beginning of a week, a month, or a year. So if you are one of the millions of Americans making a health or fitness related New Year’s Resolution and you’ve been thinking about beginning your fitness journey, or maybe picking up where you left off, these 5 steps will help you get off on the right foot.

Step 1: Decide on your why

It’s that time of year where basketball is in full swing, football is in bowl and playoff season and even the winter Olympics are coming up in a few weeks, so if you’ve been watching and getting inspired by all these phenomenal athletes, you’re not the only one. Maybe watching all these games is getting you fired you up and inspired you to want to get back in the gym or on the field or on the court. And if they are, that’s great! Here’s the catch though: Do you really want to go through this long and difficult journey, or do you just want to look and feel like an Olympian or professional athlete overnight? I think the answer is probably the second for all of us (myself included!), but that’s not the reality. Health and fitness is a lifetime journey, and if you’ve been away from it for a while, or never tried it, the reality is that it will be a difficult journey to start with. Before you jump in head first, you need to decide WHY you are really doing this. Maybe it is because you want to look and feel like an Olympic athlete. Maybe it’s because your doctor has been telling you to watch your health for some time now. Maybe you just want to look and feel better around your family and friends, or maybe you just want to feel better and be more energetic. Whatever the reason, make sure it’s solid. Make sure that when you are tired and out of breath with one last set to go in your workout or one last mile in your run, you can call that reason up and it will help push you through to the end. Make it real. Make it count.

Step 2: Determine your goal(s)

Some of this can be a part of your “why” as well, but when I say goals, I mean specific goals. Don’t just say “I want to lose weight”. Say “I want to lose 20 pounds by Memorial Day”. Don’t say “I want to be healthier”. Say “I want to bring my resting heart rate down by 10 beats and have a lower cholesterol count by the next time I see my doctor”. Similar to finding your “why”, if you don’t have specific goals, you will be hopelessly meandering around your workouts or your gym in the hopes of finding the right solution. Jumping into a fitness regimen without specific goals is like me telling you to solve a math problem. Which problem? See my point here?

Step 3: Determine your strategy

Have you worked out before and just had a brief hiatus? Was the last time you stepped foot in a gym in high school? Have you ever been involved with fitness? It doesn’t matter which one of these describes you, or anything in between. What matters is that you are honest with yourself about it and plan accordingly. If you’ve only been away a few months and you had a good routine and good results before, you probably know what to do next. If it’s been a while or you’ve never really been involved in fitness, you will probably want some guidance on how to get started and where to go from there.

Step 4: Ask for help

I know this is one of the hardest things for people to do, but this step is imperative. Call your friends that are into health and fitness. Read articles or blogs that relate to your goals and strategies. Check around at local gyms and see what kind of programs they offer. Look for personal trainers in your area to meet one on one or look into online trainers. You don’t necessarily have to work with a personal trainer or even join a gym. Many gyms offer classes and programs that you don’t even have to pay a membership fee for and most trainers will be happy to offer you a few words of free advice. As trainers, we get into the health and fitness industry to help people reach their health and fitness goals. Yes we do run a business, but trust me when I say there is nothing more rewarding than watching someone take your advice to heart and make a difference in their life with it.

Step 5: Get after it!

You’ve made it past the boring part, so now get out there and change your life for the better!

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