How to Get Started With Fitness (Before Even Pushing Play)
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If you haven’t exercised or tried to eat clean in a while (or ever!), Day 1 of a 30, 60, or 90-day fitness and nutrition program can feel intimidating.
It doesn’t have to be. Here are several small things you can do to get started. With these simple tips, you can begin to prepare your body and mind for a healthier lifestyle before you even break a sweat or eat your first green vegetable. Though you could snack on some snap peas while reading this article…
Figure Out How Many Calories You Should Eat
Knowing is half the battle, right? Use this simple method to determine approximately how many calories you should try to eat each day, or consult your fitness program’s nutrition guide, and begin to make small adjustments to reach that daily goal. Using a nutrition tracker like MyFitnessPal can be extremely useful in helping you figure out how many calories are in the foods you eat and where you’re overindulging.
Get those muscles ready to move. If you haven’t used them in a while, do some gentle stretching to wake them up and get familiar with the current limits of your flexibility. Knowing where you’re tight can help prevent injury. Try these stretches to improve hip and lower back flexibility so you’ll be ready to move comfortably in workouts.
Start to Move More
Even if you’re not Pushing Play yet, you can begin to make an effort to move your body more every day. Take a walk, stand (or do squats!) when you talk on the phone, take the stairs, park a little farther away from your destination, stretch during television commercials, rearrange the furniture in your living room. What suggestions do you have for adding gentle movement to your day? Share your ideas in the comments.
Being dehydrated can make you sore even if you don’t exercise. Set yourself up for success, and minimize initial muscle soreness, by drinking plenty of water in the days leading up to the start of your fitness program. Get in the habit of drinking enough water every day. Read this article to find out how much water you need and get tips to help you drink enough.
Throw Away Junk Food
Empty your desk, cupboards, fridge, freezer, car, and secret snack stash drawer of foods and drinks you know you shouldn’t be eating. If you want to reach your fitness goal, prevent temptation by removing junk food from your house. If the packaged foods are unopened, donate them. We know you spent good money on those Ding Dongs and Doritos, but they are doing the opposite of helping you reach your health and fitness goals. If throwing them away seems like a daunting task, try these 6 tips to kick your junk food habit.
Build a Healthy Pantry
Now that you’ve eliminated the processed junk food from your home, replace it with good-for-you staples that will help you create healthy meals every day. Here is a list of 17 pantry essentials to get you started.
Set Up Your Work Out Space
This could be as easy as moving the coffee table in your living room, or as elaborate as setting up a dedicated gym in your garage or basement. You won’t need much space to exercise, but it’s a good idea to figure out where you’ll do it and make the space usable and inviting for the workouts you’ll be doing.
Plan an Outing that Involves Exercise
A great way to get into the spirit of exercise before you actually commit to a fitness program is to plan activities with friends that get you moving. Invite friends or family for a hike, go ice skating, or organize a softball or flag-football game.
Find Your Reason Why
In this video, Tony Horton says, “If you’re really caught up in the numbers on the scale, or the dress size, and what’s happening with the tape measure, chances are that does’t really motivate or inspire you. Find a new purpose. Find a new reason why. The reason why has got to be so powerful, so strong that you’re not going to quit, you’re not going to fail, and you’re going to be consistent, and show up 5-7 days a week for the rest of your life.” Watch the whole video here to find out Tony’s “Reasons Why.” What’s your Reason Why?
Build a Support System
Getting fit doesn’t have to be something you do alone! Announce your commitment to get healthier and stronger to your friends, family, and coworkers. Start or join a Challenge Group, join a Facebook group, or recruit workout buddies and accountability partners to help you stay motivated when your resolve starts to slip or you feel tempted to make unhealthy choices.
Make Time in Your Schedule
Figure out when you’ll fit exercise into your daily schedule and begin to make adjustments to reserve that time slot every day. Will you work out in the morning? During your lunch break? In the evenings? Schedule exercise time in your calendar andcommit to it as an important meeting with yourself. You wouldn’t skip a meeting with your boss just because you feel tired or grumpy, would you? No, you’d be there on time with a smile on your face and do your best to impress.
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It’s OK to Start Slowly
You don’t have to Push Play and go full speed on the first day. If you’ve been spending the last few months or years sitting on the couch, just do what you can. It’s OK to start with a few minutes of exercise and work your way up to a full workout. Five or ten minutes of exercise a day is better than no minutes. Try to add one minute each day until you can do a full workout. In his article, 5 Steps to Avoid Muscle Soreness, our fitness expert Steve Edwards said, “It’s very tempting to begin an exercise program with a lot of enthusiasm, but try your best to go at a reasonable pace. If you’ve never exercised, or it’s been a long time since you have, go much easier than you feel you are capable of on Day 1 and ramp things up at a pace that is based on how you feel. If you’re not sore, go a little harder the next day. If you’re a little sore, take it down a notch.”
What tips do you have that could help someone else get started? Share them below.