You know you should, you would really like to, you might have even tried several times... but you just don't know where to start.
What am I talking about?
Getting started is perhaps the hardest thing about it, whether you've never exercised before, or you used to do a lot but haven't been able to get back into it since the kids came along.
There's all sorts of reasons we find it difficult: time, work commitments, child care, responsibilities, a dislike of the gym... and, if this is you, working out at home is a great place to start. But even then, where do you actually start?
On the blog over the next few weeks, we're going to explore the various types of exercise which will fit into your life as it exists now - without the hassle of travelling to and from a gym - From activities you can do with the kids in your front room, to simple exercises you can add in to your daily walk with your muttley best friend, to throwing on your trainers and getting from the couch to 5k.
We'll look at the benefits of each type of exercise and how you can choose the right way to workout to meet your specific goals.
Stickability and accountability
The key to reaching your goals, whatever they are, is all about creating habits which are going to stick in the long term.
1. Accountability makes all the difference to this. Set yourself a plan and then involve others in that, whether it's telling your nearest and dearest what your goals are and how you're intending to achieve them, or actually getting them involved with you. I'm living proof of this as a now certified personal trainer through British Military Fitness after joining as a member with them 3 years' ago; it was meeting up with my friends session after session that created my ~~ obsession~~ fitness habits. This is also why a personal trainer is a great idea, if I'm turning up on your doorstep, you're going to stick with it! Get a friend involved and you're even more likely to keep your new habits going long after you've started.
2. Pacing yourself is also very important. It can be so easy to jump in with both feet, thinking it's the best way to achieve your goals quickly. Unfortunately, it's the opposite which tends to happen. If you've ever tried running a mile non-stop, having never run before, you'll know this feeing.
3. Know what your goals really are. Think about what it is you want to achieve... and by this I mean really achieve. Quite often we quantify our goals by the scale 'I want to lose weight' or 'I want to lose 10lbs' which is fine but these are goals that are hard to stick to and daily fluctuations in our body, especially when exercising can make it seem like nothing's happening when really it is. Really dig deeper down into why... do you want to be able to keep up with your kids? fit into that little black dress for the Christmas party? feel amazing? Have more energy throughout the day? If you can focus on the deeper reason, it'll make it much easier to stick to it. Read more about setting a mindset for success here.
4. Set yourself positive goals that are achievable week by week. Think about how you can break your goals down into tiny chunks that are achievable week by week. Maybe you want to be able to run 5k; your starting point will depend on your starting point so this week your goal could be to go out and walk briskly for 20 minutes or to walk/run for 15 minute. Your goal might be less specific at the moment, it might be to experience the satisfaction of completing your workout that day, or to feel more energetic by choosing a balanced, fresh, healthy meal for lunch instead of Maccy D's... Maybe you're aiming to improve your health and fitness by increasing the number of steps you do each day so you park at the back of the car park at work and the supermarket instead of parking as close as you can get. It's these, small, positive changes that all add up over time.
5. Make it fun, not a punishment. This goes back to mindset again. If you think of exercise as your punishment for eating that chocolate bar or drinking that glass (or few) of wine, it's not going to be something you want to do. Instead, think of it as something that's fun and rewarding. As, trust me, the more you do, the better you get, the more rewarded you'll feel. Equally, avoid the trap of rewarding yourself after exercise... you know what I mean 'I've just done a half hour of HIIT so I deserve a bag of crisps?'. If it's not a punishment, you don't need a reward!
Over the next few posts, we'll explore a range of ideas for how you can get started. We'll focus on workouts you can do if you're short on time or childcare. There are of course many more options out there from gyms to classes to bootcamps but if you're not feeling quite ready for this yet, or these just don't fit into your life at the moment, all is not lost, there are many things you can do now to spark a fit and healthy lifestyle for life.
Are you looking for more personal support?
Spark Fitness provides nutritional advice online and in-home personal training and nutrition support in north Manchester and the surrounding areas. Passionate about helping you become the healthiest, fittest and confident version of you, contact me for more information on how you can spark your fitness journey today.