For me exercise is a part of life, even a part of my job, so fitting in workouts every day is something I find myself doing almost naturally. This wasn’t always the case and we all have to start somewhere. How you approach an exercise regime however will be the making or breaking of how successful and long lasting it is, so here’s my (not very scientific) take on how to become a fitness loving convert:
- Start with something you think you will enjoy – I started with one Zumba class a week because I thought it looked like fun – it could be any type of class or getting a gym programme drawn up for you by a fitness instructor at your local gym or joining a sports team or running club.
- Aim to attend once a week to start- do this for 2-3 weeks. You may have aims of becoming a dedicated gym bunny but too much too soon will almost guarantee this won’t happen.
- After a few weeks, when that one session is cemented into you routine look to add another – by this time you will have seen what else is available in your gym (if that’s where you’ve picked to train) and will have some idea on what else you’d like to try. Keep this up for another 2-3 weeks.
- Add a third session, as above, and keep this up for another few weeks until those 3 sessions are a habit, an appointment you don’t even think about. You know you are at this stage when somebody mentions going for dinner on Wednesday after work and you say you can’t because Wednesday is Body Combat!
- Once you reach this stage your body will be used to working out, you will have noticed your fitness increase, you will feel more comfortable in the gym environment and trying new things. If you want to add more sessions you will probably find you can with ease. Now you can start playing with when, where and how you exercise.
- Try different types of exercise and different classes. I never thought Body Combat or HIIT would be for me when I first tried them and now I teach both. Give everything you try 2 or 3 chances before you decide it’s not for you – the first time doing anything is normally a bit rubbish!
- Try and do a variety of training – some cardio, some resistance (weights, body weight), something for flexibility. This will keep things fresh and be more effective.
- If you need to miss a planned session because life gets in the way do not stress about it. You will rarely have the perfectly planned week of training EVER so loose the all or nothing mind-set and do what you can when you can.
- Smile and say hi to people whilst you are at the gym and especially in Group Exercise classes. If you make friends you will find motivating yourself to go and exercise will be easier. I frequently spend longer in the café having a coffee and a natter than I do actually working out and have made some great friends. It also makes new things less scary when there are a few friendly faces.
- Buy some nice gym kit. It doesn’t need to be expensive – Primark, Sports Direct and even Asda all normally stock good kit which doesn’t require selling a kidney to afford. When you feel good you tend to feel better about working out.
So to sum it up- start small and build up your exercise sessions slowly. Nobody becomes an athlete overnight and going from 0- 7 sessions a week is the most sure fire way to ensure you end up giving up around about day 3! If you are smart with your approach there is no reason why you can’t learn to love exercise as much as I do.