Most people start off the wrong foot when they want to get fit. I was one of these people; I got ahead of myself and hopped into it without much research. For quick motivation and information, here are the top 5 most helpful tips I wish I had read before I began.
1. Start with your diet: eat whole foods
A good workout routine is not worth much without proper eating habits. It isn’t really complicated to clean up your diet if you mind yourself to it. Actually sticking to it is the hardest part, but it is key to health and longevity. Eating more fruits and vegetables and less crappy, processed foods is the most important part. Most people have already heard this a million times, but hey, it’s true. I wouldn’t have the energy to work out like I do if it wasn’t for my diet. I’m not over-the-top healthy, either: I don’t count my calories, I do treat myself with chocolate and such things, I eat carbs and gluten and stuff that is in natural food. I just make meals from scratch and eat my veggies.
2. Choose something you love
There are dozens and dozens of different workouts for all sorts of people. If you’re a gym person, you can do a heavy weightlifting routine or bodybuilding. Maybe cross fit or circuit training would be more your style. Or maybe you would prefer to build yourself a home gym and do all these things at home! Or, if you’re not a gym person, you have the choice between the following and a bazillion more things: team sports, running, biking, workout videos, dance classes, fitness classes, martial arts, or yoga (all of these choices have several sub-choices beneath them). If you start doing something and realize you dread your workout every time, then change to something else.
3. Start out small
If you want to start lifting weights, start with the empty barbell. If you want to run, don’t attempt a 5k on your first run. When you sign up for a martial arts class, do they ask you to do jump kicks and chop through wood on the first day? Of course not. Figure out where you are in your fitness level, and begin planning accordingly (see point 4). Otherwise, it will suck, and you have more chances of giving up.
4. Structure out a specific plan and set goals and milestones
If you just tell yourself, “I want to get fit,” it is difficult to track your progress and know where you are heading. Sketch out your route NOW so that you don’t get lost later. Write out specific goals, such as: “I want to deadlift 100 pounds by next month” or “I want to run a 5k in 20 minutes”. Do one goal at a time, and for that goal, set up some milestones. A good example would be like this:
Main goal: Do 50 push-ups non stop
Milestone 1: 20 push ups by next month
Milestone 2: 30 push ups by Christmas
Milestone 3: 40 push ups by February
Milestone 4: Final goal: 50 push ups by spring break
The dates are random, and you don’t have to set up dates, either. Don’t be harsh on yourself if you do not reach milestones as quickly as you would like. Just get it back together and keep going: you are still trying, and that makes you badass.
5. Do your research and build a support group
Research success stories and good workout techniques. Read articles about what interests you. And finally, get those around you involved! Let your loved ones know what you are doing, and make yourself accountable. Finding a support group online is also a great way to do this. You don’t have to be alone.