So, you’ve decided that you’re tired of being so tired and are finally ready to get more fit. But you’ve seen the people jogging in front of your building on their lunch breaks, toting water belts and GPS watches for tracking pace and thats not you, at least not yet. How can you create a fitness plan that is both motivating and challenging? Here are few tips to get you started.
Whether you are returning to a life of fitness after a season of rest or you are a true beginner, you need to honestly evaluate your level of fitness today before creating a plan for tomorrow. If you have a strong fitness background you will likely be able to progress more quickly than if you are a beginner, but with persistence and consistency everyone can improve. Before starting any physical activity program everyone should see their health care provider to ensure there are no underlying injuries or conditions that need to be considered when beginning your fitness journey. And remember, even if you are discouraged about where you are at today you are taking the first steps to changing your fitness habits.
Find your passion
Passion may not be a word you associate with fitness (at least not yet) but it is an important consideration when you are going to commit your time and energy to something. Think about a sport or activity you either used to participate in and enjoy or something completely new that gets you excited. Many communities have adult recreational sports teams such as baseball, soccer or even ultimate frisbee. The team atmosphere will not only push you physically but it will give you opportunity to make new friends and get outside your comfort zone. Check out books from the library on different athletes or watch videos online of fitness events that might be of interest to you. If fitness is fun and exciting you will more easily want to participate in it.
Set goals and track Your progress
Setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself towards improvement. Following up on your honest self-evaluation you will be able to set a goal that is realistic for your physical capabilities but also enough of a challenge to push you. When I first got into running I decided to set a lofty goal of running a half-marathon as my first-ever race. I trained hard and did complete the race, though it was not a record speed my goal was to cross the finish line still standing, which I did! By having the race date as a deadline I was forced to put in the effort beforehand to ensure I was prepared and able to achieve my goal. Find someone who is father ahead in their fitness journey to coach and encourage you as you push to new limits.
I’m not talking about a chocolate sundae after a good workout (sorry to get you salivating, go grab some carrots!), but everyone needs positive reinforcement, especially when getting in shape can be exhausting both physically and emotionally. Here are some healthy ways to reward yourself after you achieve a goal you’ve set.
- Save up for a new piece of clothing or gear for your sport, perhaps new shoes or something that would make your activities more enjoyable (not forgetting to donate something in exchange for bringing a new item into your home).
- Book a massage for the day after a race or a winning game.
- Meet a friend for coffee, one who won’t mind you sharing about your fitness accomplishments.
- Take a day of rest after a particularly gruelling workout, knowing that you’ve earned it
Increasing fitness in your life also becomes a lifestyle when you get others involved, so grab your partner or your kids and get outside for a hike, a climb, or to kick a ball around. Get your heart pumping and you’ll feel more energized and ready to finish the day more fit than when you started it.