Today. Right here. Right now. You are going to start a fitness routine and finally step onto the path that will bring you the health, wellness, and quality of life you want (not to mention a body you love even more when you look in the mirror). There’s just one itty bitty problem. You aren’t sure how to start a workout routine.
Make that two itty bitty problems. Assuming you start your fitness plan, how do you stick to a workout routine? Not to worry. In this article, you’ll learn how to start an exercise routine and stick with it. Yes, seriously. You already have the capability to become a fitness god or goddess. You just need to learn the right tips and tricks to stay on the path and love every minute of it. Here is what you need to know about how to start and how to maintain a workout routine.
Step 1 – Define Your Fitness Goals
You may be surprised by how many people hit the gym with some amorphous impulse to “get into shape,” “lose weight,” or “build muscle.” If your goal is too indistinct, then how are you ever going to meet it? Not surprisingly, a lack of a clear goal makes it easy for you to lose focus and drop out.
First things first, figure out what you want to accomplish in the fitness realm. Then, turn your goal into a S.M.A.R.T. goal, meaning that it is:
The difference between a poorly-considered goal and a S.M.A.R.T. goal is the difference between thinking that you want to “run faster” and telling yourself, “I want to run a mile in under 10 minutes by the end of October so that I can eventually complete a 5k in under 30 minutes.”
Action Item: Write down your goal and stick it someplace where you see it often. Think bathroom mirror or computer monitor. Let this goal drive you each and every day.
Step 2 – Commit to a Fitness Schedule
The key to sticking to your fitness goal is to build the habit of fitness. That means scheduling time each week that will be dedicated to working out. Writing for the National Institute for Fitness and Sport, Hannah Peters says, “Consistency is arguably the most important component when working to accomplish goals, in or out of the gym.”
If possible, work out on the same days and even at the same time each week to help cement your habit. New exercisers should start small and build up. Even committing to 10 minutes of exercise two days a week is a great starting point.
Action Item: Open up your calendar and block out your workout time for the next month. This time is now sacred. Protect it at all costs.
Step 3 – Come Up with Your Fitness Plan
Showing up to the gym or stepping onto the yoga mat in your home is half the battle, but now what? If you have no idea what to actually do to achieve your fitness goals, you’re going to sputter out fast. Before you start your workout, come up with a plan.
A great way to plan your fitness is to consider your goal and work backward. For example, if your goal is to run a 5k, you may want to look up 5k training schedules online or set up a complimentary welcome workout with a certified personal trainer.
It can be difficult (and even intimidating) for new exercisers to build their own exercise plans. A great alternative is to sign up for group fitness classes or take online classes where the workouts are already programmed.
Action Item: Sit down and plan your workouts for the next two weeks. Not sure what to do? Check out this article on how to create your weekly gym routine.
Step 4 – Recruit an Accountability Buddy
You’ve started your fitness routine. Great job! Now, how are you going to stick with your workout routine? If you have trouble holding yourself accountable, delegate that task to an assigned accountability buddy. Writing for Medium, Dr. Benjamin Hardy notes, “by adding an accountability partner to your life, you’re simply increasing your odds of success. You don’t want to lie to someone you respect. So when you tell them you’re going to show up this week, you’re more likely to do so.”
Who should be your accountability partner? Someone who loves you and has the backbone to call you out if you shirk your fitness commitments. That could be your partner, roommate, best friend, sibling, parents, or even your kiddos. Let them know what your goals are (example – I want to work out for 20 minutes three days a week) and how you are going to report to them (I will text you before and after I start each workout.) Don’t forget to offer to return the favor and be their accountability buddy for their big life goals.
Action Item: You guessed it. Find an accountability buddy! You can also read this article on how creating accountability can increase your fitness results.
Step 5 – Bring on a Workout Partner
Accountability buddies are great, but you know what’s even better? A workout partner. Recruiting a workout partner makes it even more imperative that you show up to the gym or the track. Otherwise, you are going to be on the receiving end of some angry texts. A workout partner can also help push you, cheer you on, and make working out more fun. Oh, and they can help you improve your fitness results. A study out of Michigan State University found that exercisers who worked out with virtual fitness partners showed improved motivation and exercised longer.
Action Item: Start your search for a workout partner. Find someone who either wants to start a fitness plan or, better yet, someone who has already built the habit of regular fitness.
Step 5 – Change It Up
If you’ve been performing the same set of workouts for a while, you might begin to notice two things. First, you may find that your fitness results start to slow as the workouts become easier. Second, you’ll get bored. That’s not surprising. Your body is getting bored with the same workouts, too. Rachel Schultz, writing for Men’s Journal says, “The longer you do a single move, the more your muscles become used to it. Over time, that adaptation means you’ll stop seeing gains in the mirror.”
The solution? Mix up your fitness routine. Incorporate different exercises. Increase the intensity or weight. Try different workout styles. Heck, try a fitness class you’ve never taken before. You’ll feel the difference immediately as your body adapts to a whole new set of moves. You’ll also break through your mental plateau as well.
Action Item: Sign up for a fitness class you’ve never tried. You can start with EōS at-home workouts live and on-demand.
Step 6 – Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress and seeing real change is such a motivating experience. You’ll want to keep at it to see how far your body can go. Too many people make the mistake of only using the bathroom scale to track their fitness progress. Tracking your weight, however, can be unreliable. Muscle weighs more than fat. This means you could be losing fat and gaining muscle even as the numbers on the scale don’t budge or go higher. Also, your weight fluctuates over the day, week, and month, depending on when you’ve eaten, what you’ve eaten, and how much water you are retaining.
A better way to track your progress is to establish a baseline fitness workout at the start of your training and perform the same workout at a set point in the future. You can test the speed in which you complete the workout, the number of reps you can perform in a certain time limit, or how much weight you can lift for a certain number of reps. It’s also a good idea to measure different points of your body, especially if your goals are related to slimming down or building muscle.
Action item: Determine your S.M.A.R.T. goal and begin tracking. This excellent article from Nerd Fitness takes a detailed look at measuring your progress.
Step 7 – Hire a Personal Trainer
The ultimate accountability buddy is a personal trainer. As a certified fitness expert, your trainer can help you define your goals, perform baseline testing and measurements, and then design a fitness plan customized to your goals. They will hold you accountable and put you through each workout to make sure you get the most out of your fitness time.
Working with a trainer is an excellent idea for new exercisers, those who struggle with motivation, and anyone who wants to fast track their results. Take a look at nine ways a personal trainer can influence you for the better.
Action item: Hire a personal trainer to design your custom fitness plan. Together, you can also discuss how your diet can help support your fitness journey.
How to Maintain Your Workout Routine
Achieving a high level of fitness is a journey of a thousand steps. You’ll need to put in the work each week while also dialing in your nutrition. There are no magic bullets or shortcuts. Instead, it is all about building consistency and staying motivated. In this article, you learned how to start a workout routine and how to stick to a workout plan for the long haul.
Now, all you have to do is start. Find the nearest EōS Fitness to you.