You know you need to become physically active but just can’t seem to get going on a routine. These 7 steps for starting a fitness program will set you up for success.
Step 1- Create a ‘vision board’ of your fitness goals. What is the end result that you seek? See it, visualize it and keep that image in your head. Cut an image from a magazine or sketch it, write a detailed description of how you will look, feel and perform. Be very detailed! An exercise plan without detailed goals is like trying to win a race when you have no idea where the finish line is.
Step 2- Identify your fitness personalityAttempts to reach your goals by following the latest fitness trends will be fruitless if they don’t match your personality. Be prepared to try a few different things to get to know yourself better. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I enjoy doing things on my own or do I prefer the dynamics of a group? An ‘individual’ exerciser in a bootcamp class may find it difficult to stay motivated and vice versa.
- Am I more energetic in the morning, afternoon or evening? Initially, don’t try to be a morning exerciser if you are not a morning person.
- Do I learn best by watching, hearing or trying things out (or all three) ? A live instructor might be a better choice than a book or exercise video until you get a good grasp of the basics.
Step 3-Pencil or Blackberry it in!
There is nothing more important than your health. Nothing. Sit down with your weekly schedule and designate a minimum of three 1-hour timeslots (okay, I’ll accept 30 minutes at this point) that are ‘your’ time. The rest of your life is scheduled around your health.
Step 5- Announce it!
Share your fitness plan with your spouse, family, friends and colleagues. You are less likely to fall off the wagon if your circle of life is watching and checking in. Plus, you may just be surprised at the unexpected support you receive.
Step 6-Hire a professional
I often tell my new clients that if I could teach them everything they needed to know to be successful in 1 hour, I probably would not have spent 5 years in university. The common errors that result from do-it-yourself strategies are imbalanced programs that promote poor posture and faulty use of the body during activity that causes strains, sprains and overuse. An assessment with a knowledgable practitioner and at least 2 hours of instruction is the absolute minimum I recommend.
Step 7- Celebrate!
As if the joys of feeling and looking fit are not enough, celebrate accomplishments with healthy rewards like active wear, fitness tools or a healthy dinner out!
Feel free to post your ‘vision board’ descriptions in the comments section. The more detailed the better!
Just starting out? What do you feel is the biggest factor that has prevented you from starting your exercise program?
Step 1- Create a ‘vision board’ of your fitness goal.