The start of a new month brings an opportunity for new challenges and a great time to establish your next fitness goals. If it’s completely new territory, however, starting a fitness regime can be a daunting task for anyone. You may feel self-conscious about going out for a run for the first time or wondering if you are actually doing the right exercises to get the results you want. You might also be thinking, ‘how am I going to stick to this new routine?’
If this is you, we have put together some helpful, straightforward tips on how to incorporate a fitness regime into your life and to ensure it becomes a lifestyle change that will last!
1. Set your goals
Think about where you want to be at specific milestones, working your way back (for example, one year, 6 months, 3 months). Then you can reverse engineer how to get there. If you're trying to get back to looking like you have done in the past, find a photo for inspiration or otherwise write down what your goals are and put them somewhere you'll see every day (like on the fridge!).
2. Establish the support around you
Make sure the people around you know what you are trying to do and are there to support you and also to make you accountable. (For example, asking if you have done your exercise today, how you getting on? etc.)
3. Book in some fitness events
If it's a fitness goal, book in for events you would like to do. Start small, like a 1k, 3k or if you 5k run, or a short swim, bike ride, obstacle race, walks etc. Or organise a challenge for yourself and let everyone know when you'll be doing it. Book in for a series of increasing difficulty events over the course of the year to keep you going.
4. Find a training buddy
Try and find a training buddy - someone in a similar situation to join you in some of your training. This is a good website: http://www.findafitnessbuddy.co.uk/.
5. Plan your training
Make sure your training matches your goals and is varied and increasing in intensity with each workout. Write a schedule with specific times and days for training and stick with it as much as you can.
6. Get an expert to assess you goals and training
Consulting an expert will ensure your goals are realistic and that your training is safe and effective.
7. Don't forget nutrition
Start by making one change a week. Week one could be drinking 2-litres of water a day, week two could be to cut out bread 3 days a week etc. Consult an expert if you need further advice on how your nutrition can support your goals.
8. Reflect on what you've done
Each week assess what you have achieved and celebrate it by sticking to your new regime. That’s the hardest part. Re-assess goals every fortnight to ensure you are being adequately challenged.
Ensure your goals are about making YOU happy and fulfilled and that you surround yourself with positive, supportive people - it's tough to start new challenges without the support of others, especially those you live with. Get people on board, I would even suggest a family contract that you all sign to say you are committed and that they are committed to helping you.
Finally, don't forget you need to learn to love the journey. If you don't, then you'll be forever chasing happiness. Learn to enjoy where you are and it will become much easier to make lasting changes.