5 Steps Towards Getting Back into an Exercise Routine

Has it been a while since you went to the gym, or for a run, or even participated in an afternoon softball game? Are you just now realizing how long it’s been and starting to freak out about getting back into an exercise routine? Well before you go out and do more harm than good, STOP. Take a deep breath, and re-evaluate your situation.

Getting back in shape requires hard work, discipline, and dedication, but also patience and a logical approach to planning a workout regiment. Often times, people tend to want to jump right back into an exercise lifestyle at full-speed, without giving much thought to what new habits they will need to pick up and what aspects of their current lifestyle they will need to give up, or seriously downsize. Before your ‘do-it-now’ mentality of thinking takes over, however, stop and think about a workout schedule that will work well for you, and then follow these five steps to help you start and stick-to your new regiment.

1. Set realistic goals

Getting back in an exercise regiment is all about having realistic expectations. Going on a workout binge and eating nothing but fruits and protein bars for a couple of weeks will do nothing for you except make you sore and gain additional, unwanted weight.

Picking up a workout habit takes time and patience. If you are getting back into working out in order to loose weight, set a reasonable, realistic goal for yourself, like 5lbs in one month or 10lbs in two months. If you want to get toned and build muscle, make a schedule that finds you working out a different set of muscles on alternating days of the week.

2. Don’t wait for motivation

After an eight-hour day at the office, going home and sitting on the couch seems an all-too appealing activity. This, however, will spell sudden death for your new exercise habit. Although working out is the last thing you want to do when you wake up in the morning, or when you get off work in the evening, let’s face it, no one ever really feels like working out.

Bearing that in mind, don’t sit around waiting for motivation to hit you. Force yourself not to skip any workouts, and reward yourself for your efforts and accomplishments. You can also track your progress by making a list of fitness goals and then using equipment ranging from step-count monitors to slimming-down selfies to keep you motivated to get exactly the results you want. 

3. Don’t make excuses

There is always a reason you can come up with for skipping your daily workout. Maybe you had a stressful day at work and are too tired to workout; or maybe you don’t have any leftovers and you have to spend your entire evening cooking dinner for yourself. Whatever the actual reason becomes, understand that your making excuses is only an effort to justify your lack of dedication to your inner psyche. Instead, just force yourself to go and workout.

Turn negative thoughts about having to workout into positive thoughts about wanting to workout. Look at a walk on the treadmill as some quality alone time to workout your thoughts; or request that the channel on the TV set be changed so you can make the most of your workout session. Above all, however, don’t beat yourself up too harshly for missing a workout. Everyone slips from time to time. When you do, just be sure to get back to your routine the next day, and don’t let a one-time skip turn into an everyday lapse. 

4. Check your diet

Honestly, if your diet is loaded with soda pop, sugar, and fried food, what is the point of working out? While it’s ok to occasionally indulge in a burger, or a slice of pizza, or chicken wings on a night out or for a football game, if this looks more like your regular routine diet, you need to make some serious changes now. Your body cannot build muscle without proper nourishment from vitamins and minerals, and eating nothing but fat-filled junk will only make you gain.

When you begin your new exercise regiment, you should also start working on building a new healthy, balanced diet.  Try to replace sugary snacks with healthier options like fruits and vegetables with dip. Taking the time to prepare a nutritious meal and pack a lunch everyday will also help to drastically improve your health status and get you to a more comfortable weight much faster than trying to balance fitness with a sedentary diet.

5. Find a workout partner

To help keep you motivated to stick to your workout regiment, find a friend or family member who will workout with you. Having someone around for encouragement and support can go a long way in helping you reach your fitness goals. A friend or partner who is also knowledgeable about fitness and exercise equipment is also good to have around to help you get the most out of your workout, just be sure you ask someone who actually knows what they are doing.

Getting back into a workout habit is definitely possible, but certainly difficult. The key to remember is to be patient with your self, and not make assumptions that it will be a walk in the park or that results will come quickly. Getting in shape takes time and dedication. Don’t be afraid of failure: we all learn more from failure than we do from success. Instead, keep your head up and think positive thoughts, and you will be on your way to a fit lifestyle in no time.