EXERCISE: PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION
Where to start and how to stick to it
Guest Post by Katie Haney
Do you ever wonder why it seems like an exercise program is so complicated and overwhelming that we struggle to even get started? Are you frustrated with all the information out there about what to do, when to do it, how much to do, and everything that tells you you're not doing enough?
If you feel overwhelmed by not knowing where to start or how to stick to exercise, you're in the right place today!
The first myth to debunk is that you need "things" to be successful at working out. When in reality, you really don’t need new clothes, a gym membership, or even the latest protein powder.
You don’t need to have certain workout experiences or be at a particular fitness “level” to be successful in consistently working out. The key is to just get started. Take that first walk. Lift that first weight. Start where you are right now and take one step in the right direction.
TIPS FOR STARTING AN EXERCISE PLAN AND STICKING TO IT
Are you new to working out or have a new gym membership? Getting back into a routine after a long break? Start small.
Instead of jumping right in and trying to pound out 6 days per week of hour long workouts, try meeting yourself where you are right now. Try finding that next step and start there.
Also, don't compare yourself to anyone else. This is your journey, not theirs. You know your body and what is best for you. Follow it. Starting small increases your chances of following through, and consistency will be encouraging and give you the motivation and momentum to keep going.
Ideas for starting an exercise program
Go for a walk
Go on a hike
Try some body weight exercises (pushups, lunges, squats, etc)
Play with your kids at the playground (get them involved in your workout too!)
Get a coupon or Groupon online to try a new fitness class
Find a You Tube workout to follow (here's a simple plan to download with videos)
People say that it takes a village to raise kids, and I think it applies to fitness too. Sometimes when we are starting on a new fitness journey, it can feel daunting, but bringing in our village can make an enormous difference in our success.
Ideas to stay accountable and consistent with your exercise
Ask your spouse to support and encourage you
Hire a personal trainer (online or in person)
Go with a friend to a fitness class or gym
Join an online support group
Share your goals on social media
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
It might feel intimidating, but try finding a method of tracking that works for you. You can take progress pictures, track measurements, or even track how many pushups or squats you can do. What about tracking the amount of weight you can lift?
There are so many ways to track. If you are seeking physical changes in your body, then go ahead and take progress pictures. If that feels too overwhelming, track other progress indicators that will help encourage and motivate you.
Hopefully this post has encouraged you to look at exercise in a simplified way. You can now approach working out without guilt from not doing it perfectly from the start. In fact, you will have setbacks. That's ok. It happens to everyone. Learn from the setbacks, and continue along.
Find someone to help keep you accountable. Track (and celebrate) your progress and hard work. There is beauty and freedom that comes when we take care of ourselves physically without guilt or strict schedules or regimens or obsession with food.
Being strong and fit (whatever that looks like you) takes simple, every-day decisions that are rarely glamorous or attractive or alluring. It's the tough in-the-moment choices that drive us forward (or stall us). It’s the little decisions day in and day out that results in the greatest progress.
Living a healthy and active lifestyle does not have to be complicated or frustrating. Just start where you are and build from there. And remember, it’s about progress, not perfection.
Living in sunny Southern California with her husband and three kids ages 5, 3 and 1, Katie is a former high school Spanish teacher turned military wife, mama, and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. She is Precision Nutrition 1 Certified, a Pre and Postnatal Fitness Specialist and holds NASM Specializations in Women's Fitness, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Youth Fitness, and Group Fitness Training. Katie trains clients in the United States, Canada, and Australia from her online coaching platform and is passionate about helping women be their strongest selves yet, no matter what stage of life they are in.