Been A While Since Working Out? Let’s get re-started!
If the only working out you’ve done over the past year is beating yourself up for being lazy during the COVID pandemic, it’s time to forgive, forget and move on. Here are 10 tips on how to re-start (and stick with) working out after a lull, whether it’s a morning workout, lunchtime lifting session, or an evening round of stretching exercises or team training classes.
These tips will teach you how to start exercising like you never stopped (or like you’ve been doing it forever); with a little patience and determination, you’ll be hitting the gym (or the Zumba Dance Floor) in no time. Here’s how to get up, establish a workout routine, and stay motivated to get you ready for your summer body… or just to feel your best.
- Start Small But Steady. So you haven’t lifted a weight in months or even over a year? Give yourself a break. You may want to go back to where you were with your fitness a few months ago, but you can’t. The first week you’re easing back into exercising, start small. Know that any movement is a good movement. Commit to doing 10 minutes of an online fitness class or a light jog when walking your dog for exercise three days this week. This will help you establish behaviors and create the habit you want to have in place. Try some old school workouts like pushups, sit-ups, and squats…just focus on form and working up a little sweat.
- Pull That Phone Out For a Selfie. A fun way to accurately track your progress, it’s helpful to identify your starting point and then define your goal. Maybe even take measurements of your body and some photos so you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come. Throw on a sports bra and shorts, then take pics to capture your body from all angles. Do this every two to four weeks to track your progress. You might also want to use a tape measure and track measurements in your biceps, waist, hips, bust, and thigh areas so you can see how your body is changing. Post your ongoing results on Instagram to hold you accountable and share your journey – Tag #MyFitnessProject so we can cheer you on!
- Make One Change At A Time. The first week you intend to exercise, look ahead at your schedule and establish modest changes to your routine. On Sunday night, commit to getting your exercise clothes out for the next day and then setting your alarm to wake up 30 minutes early for some simple stretching or light exercise. Tuesday, plan a light jog for some cardio. Wednesday, visit the gym (we suggest FITNESS PROJECT and learn about our Fitness Clinic and other ways you can slowly get started. Set the bar low with new behavior modifications in order to make changes that’ll last. Don’t forget nutrition and eating healthy. Focusing on one or the other is only half the battle.
- Plan Out Your Workouts. Starting a workout routine is just like establishing any other new habit: It requires some plain-old hard work and dedication. Prep your days and try to avoid unnecessary distractions that might keep you from focusing on your fitness journey. A great way to do this is to have a workout buddy (or accountability partner).
- Overcome Any Fears of the Gym. The gym can be an intimidating place for many of us, and if you’re out of shape or just inexperienced you might be afraid that people are staring or judging you. Check out these 7 Tips on How To Overcome Gym Insecurities FYI, most of the time, everyone at the gym is focusing on themselves, even the fittest, most attractive person you’ll come across is dealing with their own insecurities. Start with cardio machines to build up your comfort level, or bring some weights to a quiet area of the gym to start training by yourself. Also, attending the FREE Fitness Clinics at FITNESS PROJECT can help with getting set up on certain equipment to make sure you’re using it properly.
- Expect to Fall. Here’s the reality of any journey, whether it’s business, relationships, or fitness—you’re going to make mistakes and stumble along the way. There will be times when life will get crazy and you’ll temporarily be derailed, everyone falls. It’s part of the experience and you should expect it. But the difference between failing on a diet or fitness routine and succeeding is that you pick yourself up from the fall and keep going.
- Be Ready to Challenge Yourself to Stay Motivated. Start this journey knowing you’re going to be tempted to drop your routine during that ‘red flag’ time and reward yourself so you’ll be inspired to keep going. Buy a new workout outfit, try a new GROUP class at your gym, download some new songs, buy new shoes, or reward yourself with a massage or pampering session. Get through that scary time when your motivation starts to wane and you’ll come out on the other side with your behaviors even more ingrained in those healthy habits.
- Look Beyond “Just” Weight Loss. Exercise for the health benefits that aren’t related to weight loss, such as feeling more energized, happier, and calmer and experiencing better sleep. When you don’t feel like exercising, remind yourself of how good you’ll feel during or after exercise. If you can begin to associate being active with pleasure and how good you feel as a result of it, you’ll be more inclined to stick to your exercise routine, which in turn will provide weight loss benefits.
- Find Something You Can Stick with & Make New Habits. Fitness experts often say the best exercise is the one you enjoy and will keep doing. If you’re not a fan of team training or studio fitness workouts or can’t see yourself making a weekly commitment to yoga, move on to something you’ll look forward to showing up for. Maybe a CYCLE class or Zumba dance class keeps you motivated and is fun. If you can nail down a few fitness habits—whether that’s getting up a few mornings a week or even showing up to the gym when you don’t feel like it—you’re more likely to be successful.
- Do it for YOU. If you made a promise to anyone else in your life—your husband, child, boss, or friend—you would stick to it, but because it’s you and because you can somehow always negotiate with yourself, you might not stick to your commitment. This is one of the most common problems we see. Treat the fitness and health commitments you make for yourself like you would your job, family, and friendships. You wouldn’t let important people in your life who are counting on you down, so why do it to yourself?