Once you get into a certain set of habits, it can be hard to escape. Wake up, brush teeth, have breakfast, go to work, come home, eat, watch TV, go to bed. It’s a tried and tested routine that you’ve been following for ages.
When people think of starting a fitness journey, people think that this puts their daily routine into jeopardy. They think that their entire schedule is going to be thrown off balance, creating chaos and discomfort. This is because they view fitness as something that’s not part of them; something that other people do that they don’t have the time or motivation or money or skills or whatever other excuse the might be holding onto.
In reality, your fitness journey can easily slide in your normal routine with just a few slight tweaks. It’s not as hard as you think, and whatever negative effects that appear will be heavily outweighed by the positives.
In this article, we’re going to explore some of the best tips for getting your fitness journey off to a good start and ensure its success.
- Create a Vision Board
You may not have a specific goal at the minute, but you can use your general idea to lock into where you want to go or what you want to do. For instance, at the minute you might just be thinking you want to lose weight or gain muscle. Finding pictures of what you want to look like can help you work out what you need to do in order to get there.
Alongside looks, think about some performance targets for you to hit or habits to include. Just judging your success by how you appear in the mirror is a sure fire way to lose motivation and become frustrated. How we look can fluctuate day by day depending on a number of factors.
Not to mention, our mind set plays a massive role in our perception. Even though you might look the same as you did yesterday, just waking up tired and feeling stressed can make you think you appear worse. The same goes for your weight. Both of these things are a good indicator of how well things are going, but neither tell the whole picture. That’s why it’s important to judge your success from various factors to get a more complete picture.
In terms of performance targets, think about the weights you want to lift, distance you want to run, or time you’d like to be able to complete a certain distance. For habits, you can include how many times you want to be going to the gym, how many meals you want to cook yourself, your sleep habits, and ways to de-stress.
Your vision board should encompass everything you want to achieve; the exact lifestyle you want to be living related to your health and fitness goals; who you want to be, why and how to get there. There’s no dream too big or too small.
- Be Realistic
After designing your vision board, you then need to focus in on the goals you want to achieve at what points. If you want to lose weight, then how much do you want to lose? The same goes for muscle and strength. It’s all well and good having these goals, but making them time-dependent means that you have a deadline you need to achieve them by, giving you more motivation and energy to complete them.
However, when you start going in deeper with each goal, make sure each one is realistic. If you want to lose 20lbs, then that’s not going to happen in a couple of weeks. Setting unrealistic goals can be as demotivating as not setting a deadline whatsoever. All that happens is the time comes when you should have reached the end and you’re far from where you wanted to be. Be honest with yourself about your lifestyle, timing, how many times you can get to the gym, diet, and other influencing factors.
- Never Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Pride can be a terrible thing. Not wanting to appear as though you don’t know something can stop us from reaching our full potential. Just as you have tips and tricks other people might now know, they’ll have some for you.
When people first start on their fitness journey, there tends to be a lot of research. Watching television shows, reading articles, flicking through magazines. All of this can lead us to believe we know more than we actually do. It’s fantastic to be enthusiastic about your goals, but don’t let yourself get in your own way. You should never be afraid to ask for advice or what worked for others. Maybe it won’t work for you, but it’s at least worth a shot. At the very least, you know what doesn’t work and what not to try again.
The same goes for shyness. Having fitness-phobia is completely understandable. The gym can seem like a daunting place where everyone’s judging you, but in reality everyone’s too worried about themselves to be thinking about others. If you see someone who’s experienced or doing what you want to be doing, they’ll be more than likely happy to give you some advice on what helped them.
- Find What You’re Interested In
There’s no one direct route to your goal. Finding something you enjoy means you’ll be more likely to stay consistent and dedicated. There’s no need to force yourself to commit to a specific activity or eating plan if you don’t enjoy it.
Let’s look at your diet as an example. It was once thought that carbohydrates were the enemy and fats were the bad guy. In actuality, both can be a part of a healthy eating plan. If excluding carbohydrates works for you and you actually enjoy it, then feel free to go ahead and do that, but there’s no necessity. You can lose equal amounts of weight and get the same results from each approach.
In terms of exercise, pounding the pavements can become dull and dreary for some people. Instead, why not find a class or sport that you enjoy? This way you can still get in the same amount of cardio, but it’s much less of a slog. There are a multitude of ways to reach a certain goal, so you just need find the way that ticks the following 3 boxes:
- It’s effective
- It’s enjoyable
- It’s sustainable
- Make Sure You Have Everything You Need
Just the same as if you were going on a physical journey from one location to another, you need to be prepared for your health and fitness journey. Here are some items you might want to think about:
- Recipe books
- Gym membership (check if it includes classes)
- Home gym equipment
- Calorie counting app
- The right clothing
- Water bottle
- Supplements (Protein powder, creatine, etc.)
You don’t need to get all of them, just the ones that are relevant to your journey and might have some use for your success. You’ll also want to think about other things such as a support network who will motivate and check in with you as you progress.
Before embarking on your fitness journey, make sure to fully plan it out so that you’re prepared. At the end of the day, a prepared plan is a successful plan.
- Consider Finding a Partner
Working out is much more fun when you do it with other people. That way you have someone to celebrate with when you succeed, and someone to pick you up when you fail. Your fitness journey is going to be rocky, but it can be easier to handle with someone by your side.
As well as this, fitness can become too much of a personal thing sometimes. It’s understandable to want to keep some information to yourself, but taking time out of your day again and again to focus on yourself can take the fun out of fitness. Including a partner gives you an excuse to socialise which is important for those with busy schedules who think they have to choose between their social and fitness lives.
You might also want to think about investing in a personal trainer. Personal trainers are essentially knowledge-filled workout buddies whose job it is to ensure you succeed. Imagine if your entire livelihood depended on you achieving your goal – I’m sure then you’d be much more inclined to go the extra mile. This is the same for personal trainers; they want you to succeed as much as you do.
- Remember That a Little Is Better Than Nothing…
There are going to be some days where you get to the gym and feel sluggish. You might not have the best workout, you might not even complete the whole workout, but you need to remember that you’re still doing more than you did before. Each little step is still a step forward and one more step than you would have taken otherwise.
If you slip up and order a takeaway, then you’ve still got healthy days go ahead and behind you. One little bad day doesn’t have to have a knock on effect for the rest of your success, nor does it label you as a failure. Lots of little progress will eventually build up to great success, and one little set back doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
- …And Try to Do a Little Every Day
Some of the little things that we often think are trivial can eventually add up into a big outcome. Taking the stairs instead of the escalator, choosing to walk/cycle instead of drive, standing at your desk instead of sitting, etc. Always try to choose the more active option even if you’re trying to gain weight.
Being active on a more regular basis will improve your GPP: General Physical Preparedness. This means that when you come to exercise, your body will be in a better condition to perform at its best. That’s just one of the many reasons why those who are trying to build muscle should indulge in some light cardio every now and again.
- Remind Yourself That Your Happiness Comes First
Finally, you always need to keep in mind what’s most important in your life: your happiness and mental wellbeing. Don’t suffer for the sake of trying to lose weight or change how you appear. Anything that does make you that miserable won’t be sustainable even if it does get results, and really, we’re trying to get long-term results opposed to just quick-fixes. You need to enjoy the journey as much as the result – maybe even more so!
Along your fitness journey, try to choose the path that makes you happy whilst still getting the results. What’s best isn’t necessarily what gets you the results fastest, it’s what gets you the results that last.
starting your fitness journey