When it comes to exercise, we often face a common dilemma: we know it's good for our health, but it can be challenging to stay motivated and consistent with a new routine. There can be so many perceived barriers to starting a new fitness routine that it might seem impossible to even start. You might be pressed for time, or you might feel like you have no energy around work or home life to get yourself moving.
Starting up a new routine doesn't have to be taxing or time-consuming and once you're in the flow, you'll actually find yourself with more energy, more productivity and better moods to get you through the day!
So here are our top tips to help you get on the road to a new fitness and exercise routine.
1. Start Slowly
If you're new to exercise or getting back into it after a break, remember that it's okay to start slowly. Begin with low-intensity activities like walking or slow jogging, light weights sessions, swimming or even a low impact sport. Once you're finding this new exercise less challenging, you can gradually increase the intensity and duration as your fitness and strength levels improve.
2. Set Realistic Goals
Set specific, measurable, and time-bound fitness goals. Realistic goals will help you stay motivated and track your progress effectively. Our trainers recommend setting goals like hitting the gym 2-3 times per week or walking for 20 minutes on your lunch break instead of weight-based or aesthetic goals. After 2-3 months of consistently hitting your goals each week, you can reassess and maybe add some more time or effort into your programme or schedule.
If you go by your habit-based goals, everything else will fall into place by itself and you can tick off your goals each week instead of stepping on the scales every day to see your progress. This way you'll be empowering yourself as well as building new habits in order to achieve those longer lasting and more consistent results.
3. Find Activities You Enjoy
Choose physical activities that you genuinely enjoy. Whether it's dancing, hiking, swimming, lifting weights or playing a sport, doing something you like makes exercising feel less like a chore and builds intrinsic motivation. You're doing it because you want to do it and you enjoy doing it instead of having to do it, meaning you're much more likely to continue doing it consistently each week, month and year.
4. Find a Workout Partner
Exercise with friends and family is that much more fun than exercise by yourself. You'll also gain that extra element of accountability if you're lacking in motivation on a particular day so you'll keep each other on track when one of you doesn't quite feel like it. So grab your accountabili-buddy and get moving!
5. Use Fitness Tech
There's a huge amount of fitness technology you can use to track your workouts, exercise and general activity and most of you may already have a smartwatch or heart rate monitor.
Using fitness tech will allow you to track your activity effortlessly, giving you all kinds of data from heart rate, sleep quality, steps, distance traveled and much more. Having this information on record is a great way to track your progress as well as an extra edge on setting weekly and monthly goals.
Our best bit of advice when it comes to wearables is to set a goal to increase your step count by 5-15% each month. This will allow you to get all the benefits of extra movement whilst adapting to the increased exercise slowly, without overstretching your body.
6. Set Realistic Expectations
One of the biggest fitness faux-pas we see as personal trainers is when clients underestimate the time it will take to get into a new routine and start seeing proper progress. Often when things haven't changed dramatically in a week or two, people tend to feel demotivated because they're not seeing the fruits of their labour.
Understand that progress takes time. Be patient with yourself and avoid setting unrealistic expectations. Roughly speaking, 2-3 months is a good time frame to aim towards in order to see good progress and by that time you'll be in a good routine and schedule with your fitness and exercise.
7. Mix It Up
Variety in your workouts prevents boredom and reduces the risk of overuse injuries. Try different activities and change your routine periodically. If you're just sticking with the gym then try different lifting styles, exercises, training splits or even try some outdoor workouts to help keep things fresh and interesting.
8. Reward Yourself
Celebrate your fitness milestones with small rewards- buy that new top or trousers you've been wanting, book that holiday you've been needing, get those new headphones you've been pining for or book that massage you've been needing!
Positive reinforcement can motivate you to keep going, especially if you reward yourself with things that might actually help your fitness routine.
10. Warm Up and Cool Down
Always include warm-up and cool-down exercises to prepare your body for activity and aid in recovery. Not warming up properly will tee you up for injury, hampering your consistency and progress. Cooling down, more specifically, stretching after your workouts will really help with your recovery times as well as reducing those aches and pains you feel after working out.
We recommend a gentle 10-minute warm up and a thorough 10-15 minute whole body stretch after your exercise.
Try this 2 minute stretch routine to get you started!
11. Listen to Music or Podcasts
Listening to your favorite music or engaging podcasts can make workouts more enjoyable and distract you from the effort you're putting in. Create your perfect workout playlist to help motivate you and keep you going when you're finding it tough!
12. Mindfulness and Visualization
Practice mindfulness during your workouts by focusing on your body and the movements you're performing. Focus on how the movements feel and how your muscles are working, feeling the difference between each muscle group doing the work. These visualization techniques can help you stay motivated by keeping your end goal in sight
13. Join a Class or Group
Group exercise classes or sports teams provide that social interaction we're all needing more of these days which then helps with the motivation to attend your workouts regularly. Not only that but having your sessions booked in each week means you're much less likely to skip your workouts.
Group training or 121 personal training is a sure fire way of getting the results you're wanting much more quickly, much more safely and in a much more fun way! Of course, if you're keen to start with some coach-led training then feel free to get in touch to book in for your first session free of charge!
14. Rest and Recovery
Remember to give your body adequate time to rest and recover. Overtraining can really lead to burnout and injuries super quickly. At the start of your new regime, ensure you're leaving a bit of recovery time between workouts or exercise sessions and make sure you're eating enough quality nutrition to fuel your efforts without the risk of burning yourself out and stopping dead in your tracks!
Try these tips out to help you get back in the groove with exercise and fitness and if you're still needing help to get back into it then don't hesitate to get in touch to book your free group PT session or free 121 PT consultation to discuss your goals and the best ways to reach them!