We all have things we want to do – goals that we have set for ourselves to reach. As a fitness trainer, one of the biggest issues I've seen people come across is the divide between wanting and doing; meaning, they know they want to be healthier and workout more, but they don't know where to begin.
With the internet chock-full of health smoothies and vitamins and supplements and different types of fitness gear, it can be extremely overwhelming and even a little intimidating to get started, so here is my guide to starting a fitness routine:
1. Be like Nike – Just do it:
The Nike tagline may seem a little cliché, but the more you think about doing something, the longer you're putting off actually getting it done. Don't psych yourself out! Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to be done.
Remember, you can (and should!) start small. If you haven't worked out in a long time, try simply throwing on some tennis shoes and going for a walk. The important part in the beginning is to just get yourself moving.
2. Don't worry about what others think of you:
Remember the last time you were embarrassed? You totally do. But think of this: when is the last time you noticed someone else was embarrassed? It's a little harder to recall, isn't it. Keep this in mind when you feel judged when you're trying a new exercise. People probably aren't noticing you nearly as much as you think they are.
3. Try new things:
Here's the thing: nobody becomes an expert in any field overnight. You may feel a little lost when you start working out, but that's normal, we've all been there! The important thing is that you are willing to learn. Figure out your learning style and use it to your advantage. Do you like planned workouts? Try online fitness guides (I have many available on my website for free that you can do at the gym or at home). Don't know how to do a movement? Search for it on YouTube. Or if you're a hands-on learner, ask for help in person. I assure you that guy in the corner doing perfect squats hasn't always have good form, but I bet he'd be happy to show you some pointers.
Another great way to try something new is to sign up for a local fitness class. Most gyms offer classes such as Zumba, spin class, yoga, and pilates. If you find a class you love, it can become a great incentive to keep exercising. However, if you take a class and absolutely hate it – don't force yourself to stick with it. Exercise isn't meant to be punishment.
4. Invest in the right gear:
I know this sounds contradictory to worrying about what others think of you, but you're not dressing well to be noticed. Wearing proper fitness clothes not only makes you feel amazing, it can help save you from some uncomfortable situations like chafing and sweating. Try to buy clothes that are comfortable and easy to move around in. Ideally, they should wick away moisture and keep you cool. One of my favorite brands is Hylete, but you can also find great workout gear at Dick's Sporting Goods, Nike, or any other major retailer.
With shoes, keep in mind what actions you'll be performing as shoe types vary by activity. There are different shoes for hiking, gym workouts, and running, etc. If you're unsure what shoes to buy, a number of stores will actually analyze you and suggest shoes with the proper support according to your foot arch, gait and exercise requirements. Just be sure to call ahead and ask if that is a service they offer.
That said – don't feel like you can't workout if you have the right gear. Make buying gear be a reward for hitting certain milestones, or a small commitment from each paycheck. Ideally you want to have enough fitness gear that you aren't having to wash the same outfit each time, because then you're more likely to skip workouts.
5. Find a support community:
Everybody needs a little encouragement from time to time! Find your tribe to support your efforts. This could be your spouse, children, coworkers, friends, or an online community. You could even use your social media channels to report your workouts and progress. The goal here is to keep you accountable, and have others around to celebrate your successes! The great part is you may even motivate someone else to start living a healthier lifestyle.
No matter where you start, keep in mind that progress is never linear, but it is rewarding knowing you're working towards a healthier lifestyle, one step at a time.