You’re doing a solid job of changing the quality of your food and making nutritional adjustments that work well for your lifestyle, you’ve been going for a few weeks/months, and you start to see some changes. But now you want to step it up and incorporate some more structured exercise into your routine for added weight-loss power.
Here’s the problem: It may feel like there are hundreds, if not thousands, of possible starting points with us here and see online nowadays. How do you choose the best way to jump in? The wealth of options — from group training, gym memberships, personal trainers and loads of free online workouts — can make many people feel like giving up before they’ve even begun.
The trick is to think simple and gradual. You’re looking to make exercise into a new lifelong habit, and one which can keep your excess fat from coming back. That requires the same strategy as changing up your food: consistency, programming and starting where you are.
1. Get Walking
Particularly if you’re carrying extra weight, high-impact exercise at the beginning can be tough on your joints when you’re just starting to get into working out, that makes brisk walking a really good option, to begin with.
A useful strategy some of our new client’s use is to schedule your walks in terms of time and location. That keeps walking from being yet another task you might not get to during the day and makes it into more of a priority.
QUICK READ: Achieve Results Even With A Busy Lifestyle
2. Begin With A Short Term Goal First
Huge goals are great, but when you just start working out, you need goals that can be achieved initially before moving on to the bigger ones. For example, aim to walk three times this week. Or walk 10 minutes more tomorrow than you did today.
You might prefer to use distance as a marker instead, adding one kilometer to each walk. These short-term goals give you a sense of progress, which is crucial for staying motivated.
Pick a short distance and amount of time to add and build on each week. By sticking to the above weekly will motivate you to increase your time or distance and you’ll begin to make time for fitness rather than placing at the bottom of the priority list.
3. Building Intensity
After you’ve created a consistent walking routine you enjoy, begin to vary your walks for more intensity. If you’re walking outside, try alternating 2 minutes at a slow pace and 2 minutes at a faster pace. If you’re indoors on a treadmill, you can do this easily by increasing and decreasing the speed, as well as adjusting the incline. This is called interval training and is great for also increasing stamina.
This is a time where you might feel ready to when you can begin to incorporate some strength training into the mix 2-3 times a week. That might include doing a few bodyweight exercises after you’ve warmed up and walked. As you get more comfortable with incorporating these kinds of moves, you can start to explore more strength training options, like using weight training or resistance bands.
READ MORE: The Essential Strength Training Guide
4. Keep Exploring
A large part of what keeps people from exercising is they think of working out as, well, work. They don’t want to push themselves out from their comfort zones and will usually find a reason not to exercise rather than think of the benefits. They might view exercise as punishment for what they ate or as a chore that needs to be checked off the list. But that means they haven’t found the sweet spot that comes with actually enjoying the sensation of movement and the good parts associated with a leaner, healthier lifestyle.
Pick a workout which you enjoy more. The best part about getting back in shape is feeling better when doing other things. For example, start with a sport you enjoy or join a group to exercise with. Some of our clients start playing tennis or squash before starting a training programme with us.
Having a reason beyond just losing weight and beyond those initial small goals — is important for the long term. Maybe that means signing up for a 5K walk six months from now or going for a bike ride with your kids instead of taking in a movie. No matter your future goals, though, be kind to yourself about getting there and try not to overwhelm yourself too much at the beginning.
Written by Paul Karoullas – Follow on: