Lost already? You wouldn’t be the first. What a minefield! Brachioradialis, Branched-chain amino acids, Reverse swinging cowgirl flip (OK I made that up). Fitness isn’t as simple as it used to be. These days you’re expected to have a PhD in physiology and an infinite stash of avocados before you can even step foot in a gym. But you don’t, I promise; so let’s dial things back. How about we start at the, well, the start.
Choose your fitness path
Before you start any journey, you need to know where you’re going. What fitness goals do you want to achieve? Do you want to lose weight/ body fat, build muscle mass, be able to run a marathon? Make sure that your goals are what YOU want, not what your friends or family think you want, and certainly not what that over opinionated moron who’s always telling you what to do thinks you want.
You also need to know WHY you’re doing this – and that’s something only you can answer. You will need to hold onto this reason very tightly, as this is your inspiration. Your inspiration needs to be something powerful that you can fall back on whenever you’re struggling. You should really give this some thought, we can only get stuck in when you’re sure about what you want and why you want it.
Seriously, go away and think about it if you need to. I’ll wait.
Now that you have your direction and your inspiration, you want to be as specific as possible with your goals. By being specific you can break them down into smaller, measurable targets along the way. To do this we need our goals to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely), think about your goals in relation to each of the above criteria, it will really help you nail down exactly what you want.
SMART fitness goal:
I’m going to lose 2 lbs every week until I get my BMI down to 25. I will do this by going to the gym 3 times a week, going on a long walk every Sunday, drinking only water and improving my diet.
This is a good example of a SMART goal, but feel free to be even more specific and come up with as many goals as you want (just don’t forget the part about them being realistic and achievable).
Now that you have your goals, write them down, or type them into your phone. Your goals are now your map, refer to them whenever you’re feeling lost.
Get your running shoes on, because you’re starting your journey right now! No excuses, today is the day. I don’t care if you need to wait until pay day before you can get your gym membership, or if those sexy spandex leggings you just ordered won’t be here for 2 weeks. There are so many things you can start doing right now that will contribute towards your goals.
Swap that fizzy drink for water. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to the next bus stop. Add vegetables to your meals! There are so many lifestyle changes you can make right now before you even lift a weight or go for a run. One thing I always advise my clients to do is to get your friends and family involved, here’s some inspo:
• Arrange a sports activity with your best friend
• Go for a bike ride with a family member
• Download a step tracker app and challenge someone at work
Find an activity that makes you happy and do it as much as you can – this is very important. If jogging is a massive ZzZ fest, you’re much more likely to think “Sod that, I’ll do it tomorrow”. Pick an activity that makes you happy, and something you will look forward to. Whether it’s swimming, football or walking mountain trails, try and do it at least once a week.
Now remember, don’t go crazy with all these changes. Be SMART with every step you take, make it gradual. Too much too soon and you’re much more likely to retreat back to where you started (Anything but the start!)
Making healthy lifestyle changes isn’t a sprint or a quick fix, it’s a gradual process that happens over time. Making small changes over time will lead to big gains in the long run, be SMART and give yourself the best chance to succeed.
One thing I will always try to drive home with my clients is to drink water. Drink lots of water! All the water! Did I mention you need to drink water? You’re going to want at least 3 litres of water a day to keep you hydrated with an active lifestyle, always have water with you.
Fitness supplies for the journey
You’re already out the door, but it wouldn’t hurt to pick up some supplies to help you along the way. Remember, we don’t NEED any of this, but I’ll cover it whilst I’m here. I know, you’re welcome.
Suitable clothing can really help you. Pick something loose fitting and light to start with, something that doesn’t make you recoil in horror when you look in the mirror (we’ll get you into that mankini one day). Comfort is most important here, you don’t want to be afraid to go out because you’re embarrassed by your gym gear.
What about supplements? Don’t get too hung up on these whilst you’re just starting out. Multivitamins are a good catch all supplement that can fill some of the gaps you might have in your diet. Make sure you have a good read of the packet as some supermarket multivitamins have a very low % of your RDA. Fish oils, omegas, vitamin C and D are all great for the body if you can’t get them naturally in your diet.
Don’t be a mug and just buy the most expensive supplements, shop around and check the labels, you will find that most of the time the only difference is the price tag.
Scales! Ah the dreaded scales, the bane of many fitness enthusiasts. The scales very rarely tell the complete picture, and can be so discouraging for people getting into fitness when the results don’t meet with your expectations. Whilst they can sometimes be useful to track progress, I always recommend using a tape measure instead. If you’re trying to burn fat, you should also be gaining a lot of muscle as you progress. Consider measuring your waist instead of your weight to mark progress.
Don’t stop until you get there
Your journey has begun. You know what you want to achieve, and how you will get there, now all you have to do is keep going.
Get excited! Get all the help and support you can from those around you. Celebrate your successes. Tell the world you lost 5 lbs! tell them you’re going to do more. Making your successes public will not only give you a confidence boost, it will motivate you to keep going, you don’t want people to think you’re a quitter do you?
As you progress with your fitness journey, educate yourself, get informed, keep learning and refining your methods. Is your workout getting too easy? Make it harder. Don’t just coast along on the treadmill without breaking a sweat. Do some high intensity interval training.
Refer to your goals often, they will keep you focused. You can do it!
Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life.
I will be constantly adding content to the website, so whilst it might look a little light right now, check back often for updates. Subscribe to our email list and I’ll let you know whenever I add something new. If you have any questions or comments add them below, or shoot me an email. Check out my coaching page for resources, or to train with me.