Whether you are starting a workout routine or training program for the very first time or returning to one after well-deserved time off; starting and sticking to it can be daunting; even for experienced fitness enthusiasts and athletes.
The annoying this is, we all know just how beneficial exercise is for our bodies and minds – from improving weight management, increasing our energy levels and helping us to stay fit and active. Even for reducing anxiety, stress and improving our mood.
There is also endless varieties of free workout guides and food plans available online and at the touch of a button. Yet knowing why we need to exercise and having the training information available, more often than not isn’t enough to keep us exercising.
While having a hectic work & life schedule or poor health can make exercising more challenging, for the vast majority of us the biggest hurdle to overcome is our mind.
Whether it’s our motivation that gives up as we expected to see results quicker, or our self-confidence that stops us taking positive steps forward because we feel out of shape or unfit compared to others. The reality is that we get discouraged and give up before we’ve had the chance to reap the rewards of our workout routine.
In today’s blog, we are sharing our top tips for starting and sticking to your awesome workout routine, new or old. You don’t want to miss this.
Let’s look firstly at how often we should exercise:
A well-balanced exercise routine should include a mixture of weight training and cardiovascular workouts, but if we don’t have time for both, we should focus on doing 2-3 weight training sessions a week.
These don’t have to be done at the gym, there are a whole variety of bodyweight workouts we can do anywhere. A simple google search for ‘bodyweight workout at home’ will give us plenty of ideas, we just need to pick one that suits our current ability.
Full body workouts can be done 2-3 times a week, as long as we leave a day’s rest in between. These rest days are when we could go out of a brisk walk or even start a couch to 5km running program. U Perform have an 8-week couch to 5km program that is free to download – click here.
If you have any health concerns, we would recommend that you make an appointment to see your GP and discuss it with them first. Then hire the services of a personal trainer to help you put your plan together, this will help you start at the right level and progress at a rate that you can cope with.
Still a bit much for you right now?
Let’s look at some of the simpler ways we can start to become more active:
Walking is a great way to increase our daily activity levels. This doesn’t have to be a long walk in the countryside, although that would be great for both our body and our mind. According to numerous studies, walking in nature has a very measureable benefit on our mental health.
Taking the time to walk for 10 minutes, several times a day can also be very beneficial for our health. If we commute to work, maybe we could get off the tube or bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way, take a brisk walk during our lunchbreak or take the stairs more.
Other great ways of getting more active without over doing it include swimming and cycling, these are great family activities as well.
Overcoming obstacles and setbacks:
Setting goals is very easy… actually achieving them is where most of us stumble and fall. We don’t tend to fail because the goal was too hard, we tend to fail because we get derailed by unexpected obstacles and setback that get in our way.
Basically there are three types of obstacles that we may encounter as we try our best to achieve the goal we set ourselves. These are personal, environmental, and social obstacles.
Personal obstacles are things that relate to our state of mind, psychology and behaviour. For example we may have limiting beliefs about our ability, unhelpful habits that we struggle to break or even overwhelming emotions that stop us from taking action.
This negative mindset can prevent us from making objective decisions, finding solutions, and subsequently has us taking less optimal paths as we work toward our goal.
Social obstacles are things that related to other people’s ability to derail us. These are people who either actively try to sabotage our efforts, through their words or actions, or people who are not as positive about our ability to achieve our goal, and can negatively affect our personal obstacles.
These people can try to prevent us from achieving our goal, by trying to get us to go out instead of going to the gym, smoking around us when we are trying to quit or simply by stating that they don’t believe we can do it.
Unlike the previous two types of obstacles, environmental obstacles are often unexpected situations and circumstances that we typically have very little control over. These can be small obstacles, like being unable to train due to an illness, or big obstacles that change our life, like being made redundant.
Because these are unexpected, it is very difficult for us to plan for them. We will definitely have to revaluate our goal timeline, and also understand what the actual impact on us is, rather than the perceived impact we first see when we allow our emotions to do the thinking.
The bottom line is that we must remember everyone will meet obstacles in their life and experience setbacks. However, we are in control of how we react to them, how we face them and whether we are defeated by them.
We need to give ourselves the time to succeed and remember that the ups remind us of where we want to go, and the downs push us to get there. Everyone fails, we need to be kind to ourselves in those moments, retake control of the new situation and keep moving forward.
I AM ENOUGH! Say this to yourself daily!
How can we beat the odds and make exercise an enjoyable part of our daily lives once again?
Here are some simple tips to follow, whatever our age or our exercise history, which will help us find exercise more fun and less daunting.
- Be kind to yourself:
We know that we aren’t as fit or healthy as we would like to be, hence why we are going to start an exercise plan. So we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it, this will only demotivate us. Instead we should focus on the person we want to become, the fitter, healthier person, and understand it’s going to take time.
- Be realistic in your expectations:
None of us got unfit or out of shape overnight, and in spite of the marketing hype, none of us are going to get fit and healthy in just a few days, weeks. Understand that health and fitness is a lifestyle choice, not fad diets and quick fix exercise routines. You are what you consistently do, so find some exercise that you are able to build into your daily, weekly routine.
- Do something you enjoy:
We don’t have to spend hours in the gym or take part in activities that fill us with dread, in order to feel the physical and mental benefits of exercise. There are so many different type of activities to choose from, so let’s pick something that we actually enjoy.
Remember that adding small amounts of exercise to start with, that then become more regular over time, is a far better way to start than doing some extreme routine that we stop after two weeks.
If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a significant amount of time since you’ve attempted any strenuous physical activity, we would always recommend that you get medical clearance first. Especially if you have any health concerns such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before you start to exercise. Then, you’re ready to go!
We’ve love to hear what motivates you to stay fit and active? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this article with someone who you know would benefit from reading this. The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other.