5 Steps to Get Started - Exercise

Are you thinking about starting a fitness program? Good for you! Guess what you're only 5 steps away from a healthier lifestyle.

Bet you've heard this before and even clicked the link .. only to find out its the same 5 steps you've known all along .. however, if this is what other people are following and leading by to help get them started. Then why don't you do the same?

Now I'm going to give my key steps to follow, from experience and from what I've seen over the past few years from people wanting to change their fitness and bodies.

1/ Assess Your Finances 

Hang on a minute, this is what my bank manager usually discuss's with me or honestly i simple try and avoid. Why do i need to asses my finances ? Well a few reasons actually, from experience too, getting fit can cost you quite a bit of money. Even on top of a currently pricey lifestyle. Firstly, it allows you to check how much money your paying our for towards the things that are part of a lifestyle you may be currently unhappy with, hence the want to change. Spending on foods, takeaways, eating out, alcohol, smoking, again night outs, taxi's and bus fares when you could walk, extra petrol money, subscriptions to online products and services, charities, even excessive phone bills, television products from NOW TV, Netflix and Amazon etc .. these all add up to what could be non-essentials. Can you honestly live without these things? An average takeaway for two costs around £20-25, twice a week perhaps, plus a couple packets of smokes £10-12 a week and a night out of the booze £30-40. If your doing this twice a month then that's £140-178 on these items that really have no real physical health benefits. Now don't get me wrong it's important to see friends and be social, nothing bad about a few drinks and a night out eating at a restaurant. But, these are the things that if we aren't embracing a balance throughout the week and weekend then they can add a negative effect on us mentally and physically. Added weight, body fat, low energy, tiredness and low self esteem to say a few of them. Plus, the bank account doesn't look good at the end of the month. 

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When starting exercise you may need to buy some new gym clothes, trainers, water bottle, bra's, vests, bag, memberships that are valued at the quality of service too, everything needs to be accountable and manageable .. otherwise if for any reason there's a strain on us financially, guess what's first to be dropped, the very thing we set out to start, the very thing that made us feel good .. exercise. 

2/ Choose 3 Goals To Work Towards

So now that you've assessed your finances .. you can afford a gym membership or personal training and you can still see friends, eat out once a month (at least) then set a goal and target.

Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods.

Just one isn't enough in my opinion, so many times people choose 'weight loss' and don't consider anything else, within a month or two they've not dropped any or as much weight then give up, go back to their own ways. By writing down three, and more importantly, three goals/aims that are realistic and personal to us, and us alone. We give ourselves three lives and three ways to assess our exercise journey. The smallest progressions are always still progressions and this isn't a race, you compete against yourself and that's more a personal challenge. The challenge is how we adapt to failure, trying, success, stumbling blocks, sick days, injuries, the difficulties of exercise, work demands, fluctuations in our weight, inconsistency, our rewards, our relationships, everything factors into how we set our goals, why, why go though all this, nobody really see's the in-between bits, the months of training and sacrifice, more the end product, the picture or the certificate of our weight drop, medal for our race participation. By setting 3 aims we can always look back and change direction, we can assess weekly and monthly and make smart decisions. Setting one goal is making yourself limited to the wonderful things you body can do. Life itself is full of surprises, challenges and ways to test us. Don't just rely on one thing to defy that!

3/ Research Who To Help You

Now that you've got your goals down on paper, find out who and where is the best person or place for me to start my exercise journey. Let's take an example; Margaret, 54 years old, no serious medical conditions apart from osteoarthritis, and a past injury consisting of a broken ankle sustained while walking on the moors 15 years ago. She has a sedentary lifestyle and works 9-5pm, kids are at university and has a dog for which she walks once a day. Margaret wishes to lose a little weight and get fitter, her ankle stills aches and is stiff and she wants to run a 5k soon too, she's low in confidence and doesn't enjoy the gym environment. So fitness classes and personal training are considered first. Now in all fairness most fitness professionals and gyms could suitably help Margaret, on paper anyway. She could join a gym and go through a gym induction, all machines with tv's and resistance area looks suitable but boring so would need some PT to encourage and educate these machines and programming. But the PT's are too young and inexperienced to talk to her further and really ask her about herself and what drives her.

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Margaret would be best suited to some initial PT with someone with real confidence and experience and help her move better, be comfortable on her ankle through mobility and stability work, increase some flexibility because of her current job sat down throughout the day, offer her some safe and better ways to lose some weight and keep her accountable each week. Introduce some weight training for her osteoarthritis and build strength, then at a certain suitable time introduce her to some walking/pace walking on the footpaths, get her to keep record via an app and log in with her PT weekly on progressions. Praise her each session and build her confidence, educate her into good nutrition and the importance of rest days and recovery. Introduce her to suitable classes to attend, yoga or pilates, some sort of resistance based class too. Look after her, empower her to embrace this change under her own and that she can continue on with this after her package has ended, this is just the start. So make sure you find a fitness professional that is wanting to speak to you before, find out what makes them tick and see if their the better option for you, for you to spend your time with, research with their reviews and anyone that can recommend them. If they spend the whole time asking questions about you then your onto a winner!

5/ Have Something to Record, Monitor & Adapt

It's one thing I've found so useful over the years, recording down on my iPad my training sessions and reminding me of my targets. I have it every session too. Even for all my clients. Even downloaded free apps to help record and keep me accountable for my cycling and running, apps like Strava and MapMyRun are really good. These are essential when we work by ourselves in the gym, our PT will record these down and check each week on progress and carefully monitor things in order to adapt and change when needed. Sometimes we think that eating a few more veggies and exercising is enough, for most of us it is, but when you've got a really specific goal like run a 10k in 10 weeks and lose 1.5 stone in the process we need everything planned and ready to be assessed. We have time frame and if your whiling to dedicate and commit then you'll be more likely to achieve this at the end. Taking a note pad or using an app to record weights and sessions on the gym works best, using apps for cycling and running to record times and distances are recommended. Using a PT to prepare you and guide you in the right direction is the result of working closing with getting started from scratch or an injury. Being pain free, injury free, moving better is a result on it's own. So many people long for results but on your own its difficult without careful monitoring, program writing, adaptions and action .. action for you!

5/ Enjoy The Process

Look at all the things we've done that we alone achieved, from early morning, late nights, long hours, sacrifice in our time, money and that damn hard work. Felt good didn't it! We take a lot value from this and that is what makes other challenges we face or choose more rewarding. Exercise can be hard, changing our food can be hard, better ourselves is hard .. and that's why we need to embrace the process. The time at the gym, preparing food early morning, or late night, only having a mad night out once a week rather than every Friday. Eating more fruits and vegetables, turning down work colleagues lunch time cake give away. It's part of a healthier lifestyle we wished for and dreamed of, and worked for. If done right we can build in treats and drinks, track what you eat is a small sacrifice towards a weight or fat loss you've wanted for the last 10-15 years. You will fail a lot and try even more, but one day when that one thing you were working for actually happens, its priceless, it feels so good and happiest cannot be priced. You can do amazing and wonderful things when you put your mind to it and focus on whats important. Happiest, Health & Family.

Thank you so much for reading our blog, if you enjoy them please comment and ask us what you'd love to read about next and give them a share. 

Pete