Starting Your Fitness Journey

It’s New Years resolution time!!! The hardest part about getting in shape is getting started, which is why big goals like New Year’s resolutions don’t usually stick.  When you set a goal you need a PLAN, otherwise a year from now you’ll be looking back wondering what if. Make 2018 a year for accomplishing your goals!! Even though it seems like a simple change getting fit is actually a pretty big lifestyle adjustment! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away, and remember to listen to your body because it’s better to go at your pace than to push too hard and get hurt!! For me it took almost 3 months to graduate from step one to step two and that’s totally okay! Take it at your own pace and appreciate your little victories, it’s more important that you stick with it than move through it quickly. Here’s my (almost) foolproof plan to kick off your fitness journey:

    1. Pick a low impact cardio exercise that you don’t hate and do it 3-4 times a week! Build up how long you’re doing it as you get stronger.  I started with the bike – even 10 minutes on there burns a couple hundred calories! When I first started I would watch netflix on my phone while I pedaled to help tune out everyone else at the gym.  This is also a great time to use an app like C25k (Couch to 5k) if you want to run more!!  DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS YET. YOUR BODY ISN’T READY FOR THEM SO YOU WON’T SEE THE RESULTS THE WEBSITES PROMISE AND IT’S A WASTE OF MONEY.
    2. Step up your cardio and add in ~light~ weight training! At this point you should be comfortable doing 30-40 minutes of cardio 4 or 5 times a week. That means it’s time to start mixing things up and using other muscle groups!! I recommend adding a few days of full body workouts a week and mixing up your cardio. I used the Nike Training Club app, they have an awesome beginner program that I found really helpful to get to know the gym equipment.  This is the point where you should be going to the gym ~5 times a week (depending on your schedule of course) and increasing the time you’re spending there! It’s important to stick to your schedule here because this is where you develop habits that will stick with you for the rest of your fitness journey!! You can start adding in supplements here if you want, I recommend starting with a protein powder but only do it on days when you’re lifting. You shouldn’t be consuming crazy amounts of protein or creatine yet because your muscles aren’t developed enough to burn through it the way a bodybuilder’s muscles would.
    3. Align to your goals and step up your training! So you’re in the habit of going to the gym almost every day, now it’s time to really think about what you want from this.  Do you want to run 5ks? 10ks? More? Or do you want to build a muscular body? Whatever your goals are, it’s time to get your workouts in line with them because you’ve created the habits and built up the muscle to support them. Finding a workout buddy with similar goals is really important at this stage because you can help each other! Remember to keep some balance in your training (even runners lift, and even bodybuilders do cardio occasionally) and to take rest days as you need them. It’s just as important to listen to your body later in the process as it is early! This is the point where you should think about supplements to support your goals.  Look for a post about the supplements that I take and why!!

Like I said before, this process can take a long time.  It took me 7 months, and THAT IS OKAY!! Going too fast is how you get hurt or burnt out and quit. Figure out what you need to hold yourself accountable and stick with your plan! I made myself a workout calendar to track when I was going to the gym and wrote all over it what my reward for meeting my goal number of workouts for the month would be. I literally hung it on my wall and put a smiley face on it every time I got back from the gym. It was simple but it worked for me!  Workout buddies are also awesome for accountability (it’s best if it’s nt someone you live with because you’ll be guilted into getting ready and going to the gym so they’re not stranded). So grab a friend and get ready to make 2018 your healthiest year yet! And don’t forget to take some before pictures for your awesome transformation!

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