Today's post is one that I think many people can relate to (or so I hope). Awhile ago one of my reader's requested a post on how to get back into being fit again. I think we can all agree that fitness has become an increasingly popular trend lately. Whether it's just sporting some athleisure clothing, attending cardio kick boxing, trying out a barre class, sweating in a spin class, or attempting a new yoga post it's all over social media.
For me fitness has pretty much always been a part of my life. I have played sports since a young age, so I was always used to running and doing ab workouts. The older I got, the more I trained for my main sport-field hockey. I would spend much of my time running in order to enter each season in the best shape possible. It was never something I enjoyed, but it was something I always did to prevent myself from being punished. If I wasn't in shape, then I'd have to do more running as a punishment for not being in shape. This was a decent source of motivation, but over the years it minimized any pleasure I got from running. During my freshman year of college, I learned how to correctly lift weights and complete other exercises to enhance my field hockey performance. I enjoyed working out, but I definitely didn't love how muscular my legs became. My sophomore year of college, I began playing field hockey just for fun not to compete at the collegiate level. I chose to continue running by training for and completing a half marathon. The training as well as the race itself hurt my body, so after that I took a few years off from working out or running on a daily basis. I'd go to the gym from time to time, but I definitely wasn't doing anything consistency.
This summer I decided I was finally ready to workout for my own happiness. I realized that I needed to start being healthier as well as happier, and I thought working out would help me achieve these two things. So how did I get back into working out? It definitely wasn't easy at first and some weeks I'm better about it than others, but below you will find some things that have helped me get back on the fitness train again.
I'm a huge goal setter, so this part was a no brainer for me. Something that doesn't work for me is setting a goal to lose X amount of pounds. Center a goal based on weight loss brings too many negative feelings for me. Instead, I think it's better to set goals like working out five times a week, lifting X amount of weight doing a certain exercise, running a mile in a certain time, or signing up for a race that is a few months away. When you first get back into working out, short term goals are your friend. Sure long term goals are great, but setting goals for a shorter period of time allows you to feel more accomplished.
Make sure your diet fits your fitness goals
By no means do you need to go on a diet just because you're going to the gym again. However, you do need to be aware of what and how you are fueling your body. If your goal is to get abs, then it is important to know that abs are really made in the kitchen. If you are not fueling your body properly, then you will lack the energy to have quality workouts and have a productive day.
Realize how long it takes to see and feel results
Sure you might have a strand of great workouts, but you aren't necessarily going to see immediate results. Be patient with yourself. They say it takes about four weeks for you to start noticing a change, about eight weeks for those you're close with to notice, and about twelve weeks for everyone else to see the progress you've made.
In the beginning, consider a single workout as progress
It's going to be difficult when you first start working out again. You're going to be really sore, you might be disappointed that you can't lift as much or run as far as you once did. It's important not to beat yourself up over these things, and to be proud of every workout you do.
Everything is more fun with a friend, including working out. Regardless of your fitness level, a workout buddy is a great source of motivation. This person might be someone you go running with, attend barre with, compete against in your weekly Fitbit challenges, or it might just be someone you share your fitness goals with. You and your partner don't necessarily have to be in the same location doing the same workout at the same time. This person could just be someone you check in with to share your progress, or someone who provides you with motivation on those days when you really want to skip your workout. For me, my workout buddy is my mom. She's working on becoming more fit. We don't always do the same workout, but we motivate each other to keep moving forward with our fitness efforts.
Switch It Up
Don't do the same thing all the time. If you're like me, then maybe you got burnt out of working out because you did the same thing over and over again. Make sure you change things up each week. Participate in workouts that are fun for you. This might be trying a new fitness class, trying a new exercise out, running at different locations, etc. This summer I've switched it up by joining a gym and attending several yoga classes.
As you get back into workout, it is important to be aware of your body and how you are feeling. Take the time to stretch after each workout. Flexibility helps with injury prevention. Be sure to stretch any muscles that might be sore. For me, yoga has been helping me stretch have I run.
Make sure you're drinking enough water. Most workouts will make you sweat more, which means you'll need to replenish your body with water. If you need tips on how to stay hydrated check out this post I wrote earlier this month.
Do a one month challenge
Completing a one month challenge can be a great way to jump start you're re-dedication to fitness. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable and it provides you with a month long workout plan. You'll find lots of variations of these on Pinterest.
Do it for nobody other than YOU
This is the most important piece of advice I have. It's so so so important to choose to change your fitness habits or lack there of because you want to become the best version of yourself. If you're working out to impress others, then you're going to end up have negative feelings toward working out. Realize how good working out makes you feel as well as the positive results, and allow these things to motivate you to continue on your fitness journey. If you think about it, it's actually really cool how you have the power to sculpt your body into whatever you want it to be. Now take that power and become the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.
Best of luck on your fitness journey!