So you’ve decided it’s time to get your butt in gear and start working out. Perhaps you’ve tried time and time again in the past, only to give up. New Year resolutions have come and gone with new goals, only to lose motivation after a few weeks. By February, you fall back into your comfortable routine, sans exercise.
Maybe you’re too busy and don’t have time. At least, that’s what you tell yourself. Or maybe you are not seeing the results quickly enough, so you get frustrated and throw in the towel. That’s been me time after time.
Well, let me burst your bubble real quick. Motivation may get you started, but motivation will NEVER keep you going. If you rely on motivation, you will fail every time.
Have I squashed your motivation? Good! Now let’s talk about what WILL keep you going!
Habit and Discipline
Some people have grown up with fitness and exercise as part of their lifestyle. For those people, there is no “I’m gonna start working out” because it’s already part of who they are. They have a lifetime habit of fitness resulting from ongoing discipline.
And then there is the rest of us. I was a band-nerd who didn’t do sports in high school. I was super-lazy, and had no outside encouragement or push to live an active lifestyle, much less teaching me how to work out.
I do believe if you don’t have the habit established in childhood, it can be super-difficult to establish the new habit in adulthood. (So parents, bring your kids into your fitness routine; start them young)
Stick with me now because there is hope. New habits CAN be established with only a little self-discipline. They say (whoever they are), it takes 21 days to form a habit. Truth be told, it takes me closer to 2 months, but everyone is different.
Discipline (in its non-punishment form) is defined as training oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way. So, you see, forming a new habit takes discipline. Don’t wait around for motivation to arrive. It all starts with a decision. A decision to start, to keep going, to not quit.
Finding Your Why
A key component to making the decision to keep going and NOT quitting is knowing why you want to work out in the first place. Typically guys want the rock-hard abs and girls want the bikini body. I mean, who doesn’t want to look good at the beach?
But I challenge you to have a deeper reason. Rock-hard abs and bikini bodies are great but super hard to achieve. They require a very low body-fat percentage that can only be achieved by implementing proper nutrition with your workout regimen.
After all, you can’t outrun a bad diet! I’ll cover that more in depth in a later blog post…
What do I mean by deeper reason? I’m talking about your overall health and quality of life. Physical exercise has many great benefits beyond your physical appearance. Linking your habit to a chosen lifestyle of health and fitness rather than how you look is easier to hold on to when you are lacking motivation.
However, if physical attributes are reason enough for you, then carry on my friend! The important thing to note here is you need to find your why, so when you don’t feel like working out, you have a reason to keep pushing forward.
How to Start Working Out for Beginners
Ok, you’ve decided to start working out. You’ve purchased (Or dusted off?) your home equipment or your gym membership… now what? How do you form that habit (whether it be in 21 days or 2 months)?
Short Workouts in the Beginning
This is the key to developing workout routines for beginners. Since many excuses for not working out revolve around time constraints, start with a short workout in the beginning. I’m talking 15 minutes. You can do anything for 15 minutes, and if you don’t have time to take 15 minutes to exercise in the beginning then just maybe you need to reassess the priorities in life. I’ve been there
Begin with Easy Workouts
Don’t over complicate your workout, to begin with. This is especially true if you’re trying to figure out how to start working out for the first time.
Remember, you first want to build the habit of working out. Maybe this means taking a 15-minute walk (or run if you’re super ambitious). Grab a couple of dumbbells for a quick arm workout and throw in a few abdominal crunches to strengthen your core.
Some days, if all you can manage is to grab a yoga mat and stretch for 15 minutes, do it. Anything is better than nothing. Focus on the habit, the commitment to yourself because you are worth it!
YouTube has an abundance of short and easy workout videos you can do at home.
Try Different Types of Workouts
Until you find your groove, change it up every few days until you find what kind of workout you really enjoy. You can switch up between running, riding a bike, strength training, yoga, Tabata, HIIT, taking a walk at a nearby greenway, group classes, etc.…Many people love group classes at the gym. I do not.
You may discover you like more than one type of exercise which is a great opportunity to develop your own rotation schedule. One thing I personally experienced, if I continue to make myself exercise in a way that I hate, I will eventually quit. Find those exercise styles that you can enjoy and you will find success.
Find a Workout Buddy
One of the best ways to stick with exercise is to have a workout buddy. Someone to push you when you aren’t “feeling it”, and vise versa. It’s tough to skip a workout when you have someone else depending on you.
A workout buddy can be a spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, friend, or even your kids. It does help to workout with someone that has similar goals and workout preferences.
Make Working Out a Priority
To make something a priority, you must intentionally place it at a higher importance than another thing. You will ALWAYS make time for the things you prioritize.
Do you skip work for a week because you do not “feel” like going? No! You go because it provides income to pay for your way of life.
Choose to prioritize your fitness too. You workout so that your body is operating at optimal performance. The stronger and healthier your body is, the more you can enjoy life. And, exercise has a positive effect on both our body and our mind.
And when trying to decide if you “have time”, ask yourself how much time you spend watching television or scrolling social media. If you’re like me, you’ll find that 15 minutes fairly quickly. It’s all about priorities!