ShFit Talk #27 - Starting that Fitness Journey
We are coming up towards the end of the year, that means those New Year Goals are coming soon! Weight loss is one of the most popular new year's resolutions that people make. In 2019 about 48% of people made a weight loss resolution (according to one survey done by YouGov). But making the resolution isn’t the hardest part, keeping it is. In fact according to the same survey 80% fail within the first year and 20% fail within the FIRST WEEK!
That is crazy, so many people making the same resolution over and over again, year after year. Considering all the benefits you can get out of incorporating more physical activity into your life including reducing your risk of chronic disease, improving your balance and coordination, helping you lose weight, and even boosting your self-esteem.
So how do you start and stick with a fitness journey?!
Design a fitness program & set a plan. Take some time to think about what you enjoy in the world of fitness. Do you like going to spin? Do you like swimming? Do you enjoy group exercise? Find a few things that you enjoy doing and consider what will work BEST with your lifestyle. Some people like to get up at 5 am and workout, others spend their lunch at the gym. Just because you think you should go to the gym at 5 pm Mon - Fri and lift weights because that is what your fit friend does, doesn’t mean that will work for you and your lifestyle. This is not a decision you should rush, this is probably the MOST important decision you will make when starting this adventure so take the time to carefully consider all your options, try things out and find out what works BEST for you.
Look at You Past. Is this your first time starting a fitness journey or your 10th? Most of us have a diet and fitness history even if it hasn’t been since you needed to lose that freshman 15 or change up your post pregnancy eating habits. Perhaps you jumped on the keto bandwagon back in 2019 when it was all the rage and fell off hard because well, bread is freaking delicious damn it and pizza people! PIZZA! Or maybe you took advantage of last New Years Gym sales and joined up with all kinda goals but never went. Maybe intermittent fasting isn’t your thing, maybe you like to have afternoon snacks to get you through the end of the work day. Don’t attempt to change who you are. You are amazing already. Be realistic about who you are and what you are able to do. Then go from there.
Discover Your Current Fitness Level! We all have a general idea of how fit (or unfit) we are, but it is always important to have a realistic baseline for yourself before you jump in with both feet in. This will not only help you to set realistic goals that you can measure as you make progress towards them but help you avoid injury and burnout. Whenever I first start working with a new client, we always use the first session to go through a “Fitness Assessment” to determine their fitness level. We will do things like:
Determining Resting and Max Heart Rate
Determining Body Fat, BMI, & Body Measurements
Max number of Sit-ups & Push-ups in 1 min
Stability & Balance
Flexibility & Range of Motion
Define your Goals! Once you have all your base numbers, and know where you currently stand on your fitness level, you can begin to set real clear goals. You want to make them as clear as possible, instead of using vague goals like: lose weight, start working out. Lift more. The more clear you make them the better. Goals like: lose 12 lbs, Deadlift your Bodyweight in 2021, Run a 5K. If you are working with a personal trainer, they will have already take the time to sit down with you after the assessment and define CLEAR MEASURABLE REALISTIC goals to help you have something to work towards. Once you reach one goal, set another one for yourself. NO need to set 10 fitness goals at one time, that would be overwhelming for anyone. Start slow and set one goal at a time.
Consider your Budget! Sure you may want to jump feet first into the gym, take specialty yoga classes at that classy new studio with customized gym towels and cucumber water that just opened up down the road. Or maybe you are considering working with a personal trainer (which as a personal trainer I will always recommend, especially if you are new to the gym just so you can learn how to do everything safely.) but before you make ANY financial commitments, look at your budget. We all know first come rent/mortgage, insurance, bills, car/gas, phone, internet/utilities, food, student loan/college tuition, etc. This, the gym stuff, comes out of that discretionary fund. Some gyms like the YMCA or community centers will have gyms for up to HALF the price of places like LA Fitness. I know after college I couldn’t afford a proper gym, but the $10 per/mt community center was right up my alley. Sure it didn’t have as many pieces of equipment or all the group ex classes, but it had a pool, locker room, showers, track, limited machines and free weights. Gadda do what you gadda do. You have to take into consideration studios, Box Gyms and Specialty facilities are going to cost more. Would it be more cost effective and budget friendly for you to buy a few light weights and resistance bands and just use a corner in your home??? For example, I could pay $35-40 to go a nearby gym, but I, personally, also train BJJ and that is an additional cost each month of another $150ish so I use the military base gym (which is free for active duty and their family) to help fit BJJ into my budget (although 2020 has really put a kibosh on that). PLUS after this whole covid thing, I have definitely decided to increase my home weight supply in 2021. The last thing you want to do is get yourself into a legally binding contract for something that you can’t financially cover.
Have Variety in your Workouts! Remember fitness is not just all about one thing. Fitness is made up of a number of things which is why you often hear the term “cross-training” being used. Incorporating Aerobic and Anaerobic exercises into your routine. This will give you the most bang for your buck. So maybe you can lift some days and the other days you can just simply go for a long walk/jog or go swimming. Remember according to the Department of health and Human services it is recommended for at least 150 min of moderate exercise or 75 min of vigorous exercise a week while incorporating some type of strength training where you work ALL the major muscle groups at least twice a week!
Don’t give yourself a deadline. Sure some of us work really well under pressure but most of us like to procrastinate. Your fitness journey is NOT a race, it is supposed to be all about the journey right!? Once you start setting deadlines you start to put extra pressure on yourself and that can actually work against you and hinder your weight loss, because stress can cause you to overeat and can actually lead to weight GAIN! Just enjoy the journey and CELEBRATE the small victories.
Remember patience and consistency are key, and enjoy the process of reaching better health each day.