How to Start a Workout Routine (for beginners)
Creating a sustainable workout routine will be one of the best things you can do for your long-term health, but beginning a workout routine is no easy task. Let’s first start by defining “routine”. According to the Macmillan Dictionary, routine (n) is defined as “your usual way of doing things, especially when you do them in a fixed order at the same time”.
Have you ever experienced the excitement of starting a new workout program or challenge? For example, you signed up for a 2-week Bootcamp. You are pumped to get started and motivated to keep the momentum going all year long! You know the saying, “New year, new me!” (we have all been there). Turns out after the Bootcamp you are exhausted and completely burnt out. It was not sustainable. It was not adapting to “your usual ways of doing things”.
So, let’s break down what it takes to create a sustainable workout routine that might actually last you all year (or even longer!).
1. Be Realistic
Before you dive into an extreme program, think about what has worked for you in the past? What has not worked? The goal of a workout routine is….routine! Start small by first assessing your fitness level before you decide on your program or workout plan.
2. Create a Plan
Know your WHY for working out. What do you want to achieve from this workout routine? Weight loss? Muscle building? Complete a triathlon? Maintenance for long-term health? The question to these answers will depend on what type of workout plan you create.
The 2008 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) federal physical activity guidelines recommends that adults spend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity. Or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity, including strength training, 2 or more days per week. If you are not meeting these goals, this might be a good place to start!
3. Trial and Error
So, you have gotten realistic with your goals, you have created a plan, but a month goes by and you are bored out of your mind and feeling unmotivated to get your workout in. That’s okay! The workout itself is allowed to change. It should change! Continue to challenge your body in new ways. The one thing that should stay the same is your routine. Continue to block out the days/times for your workouts, but try out a different workout to mix it up!
4. Fitness Community
Do not go at this alone! Start to surround yourself with people with like- minded fitness goals. Working towards your first 10k? Join an online Facebook group for “10k for beginners”, get people involved at work, start a group text with your friends, download a fitness app, or challenge your family members. Your fitness community will help cheer you on, keep you accountable, and help you learn new tips and tricks for your favorite workouts.
5. Track and Celebrate Small Goals
It is important to have your outcome goal in mind, but almost as important to celebrate the small accomplishments along the way. This is the key to maintaining a workout routine. Celebrate each time you show up to your workout, when you start using heavier weights, or when you can walk or run a few steps farther! Keep track of your progress, share it with others, and continue to make working out “your usual way for doing things”.
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