Starting a Workout: 7 tips to starting a workout when you’re afraid to start
Starting a workout is the hardest part for many people. Why is that? I think it’s different for different people but something I hear a lot are things like “well I want to work out and lose the weight but I can’t because…” We all have our reasons, and sometimes they’re really good reasons. For example, “I can’t exercise because I just was in a major car accident and I’m in a full body cast,” Actually, I think that may be one of the few good excuses, everything else you can work with.
Excuses are something most of us (myself included) are really good at making. For instance, I put off creating and publishing this blog for six months because: I didn’t have enough content, I didn’t know enough about blogging, I didn’t have the time, I didn’t know how to make a website, we just had a baby, etc… The list went on and on. All of these were good, valid excuses, but they were still excuses that kept me from getting what I wanted.
If you ever find yourself putting your fitness off to another day, stop and think what it is you are doing and remember that, unless you are stuck in a full body cast with someone else controlling what you eat, you can always do something. Remember, even though it may be hard, being healthy and happy is what you want.
Seven tips on getting started:
- When starting a workout, start slowly. This is important for a few reasons. If you’re like me you aren’t in this for pain. The thing I hate most about starting a new exercise routine is the sore, cramping muscles. Beginning slowly will eliminate much of that pain as your body is able to adapt to the changes more comfortably. Remember, there are enough obstacles to making exercise a habit, don’t add painful muscles to the list. Also starting slowly is important if you have health problems like coronary artery disease.
- Make a plan but be flexible. Life happens, so if you’re the type to beat yourself up if you don’t do everything right you need to stop. Really, stop it, it’s a bad habit that’ll hurt you again and again. In his book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” Robert Kiyosaki explains that our education system teaches us that we have to be right the first time. In a test in school there are rarely redos. This is terrible preparation for life as often we have to try different options, failing each time, till we get the right one. If you make a plan for starting a workout and it doesn’t work, don’t get frustrated and give up, just change the plan.
- Pick a time and workout that fit your life. Most sources say the best time to work out is the morning, as it boosts your energy. Working out at night might keep you from falling asleep. However, the best time is when you have time. If you work a 4 am shift, or just aren’t a morning person then mornings probably won’t work. The same goes for the type of workout. I don’t care how good running is for you, if you hate running don’t do it. Find what you like to do and can do easily and do it.
- Make it fun. This is just an extension of number 3. An activity that’s fun to do is motivation enough. Conversely, if you hate doing something then you will find every possible reason to get out of it. Once again, there are enough obstacles to starting a workout, why make more?
- Get a support group. When you start make sure there is someone holding you accountable. Make sure that person will stick with you in your goals for as long as it takes. When Valerie was trying to get over her baby weight the first time I worked out with her. After the second kid, I just watched the kids since I was too tired from work to keep up with her workout. Whether they work out with you or just check up on you daily find someone who will give you the support you need.
- Don’t forget, pain is not mandatory. If you do overwork or injure a muscle don’t try to “push through it.” Rest the injured muscle group for a couple days. Also motrin 600 mg every eight hours for a few days at a time combined with icing helps a lot. (just remember to take it with food and stop if you have stomach pain). If you can’t take motrin, ask your doctor for other options.
- Even some exercise is better than none. The Center for Disease Control says that Even 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is good for you. That means that even if your health or schedule are restrictive, just getting your heart rate up 3 times a week for 20 minutes will improve your overall health.
A few final words:
I hope these will help as you consider starting a new workout regimen. Here are a few suggestions from the Mayo clinic which may be useful, but remember number 7. Even if you’re not doing everything you “should” be doing, the most important thing is to keep doing something.
Try to engage in a combination of vigorous and moderate aerobic exercises, such as running, walking or swimming. Squeeze in strength training at least twice per week by lifting free weights, using weight machines or doing body weight exercises.
Space out your activities throughout the week. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to ramp up your exercise efforts.
Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any concerns.