Sticking to a New Fitness Routine
Sticking to a new fitness routine may be even more difficult than starting! When you first being a new exercise regimen, you will feel like your body is fighting you every step of the way. “What are you doing to me, and WHYYY?” Remember that your mind is in charge, not your body. If you keep going, you may actually feel the moment that your body says, “Ok fine, clearly you’re going to keep doing this so I’d better get used to it.” The best news of all is that this process happens very quickly! Within two to four weeks of consistent exercise, you will feel your body adapt to the new demands you put on it. The hard part is fighting through those first few weeks.
You will undoubtedly feel more tired at first while this adaptation takes place. You will also feel some muscle soreness, how much depends on what exercises you choose. Finding the time will be a chore, so remember that it’s not about having time, it’s about making time for the important things. Making time for exercise will give you more time in the long run with less sick days, doctor visits, and more quality time by feeling better mentally and physically. One of the most important things to remember is, be patient. Be patient with yourself and your body. It will take time to figure out what you enjoy (or will stick to), and sometimes your body will decide for you.
People aren’t born fit. Fitness is earned! So how do you stick with it long enough to reap the health and wellness benefits, and find your fitness?
Be PATIENT! I’m repeating this and making it number 1, because patience is the name of the game, no matter what your goal is. As with most good things, it will take time.
Set goals that are personal to you! Dig deep. Meaningful goals will carry you when motivation isn’t there. Even the most motivated people don’t always “feel like it.”
Show up! Once you decide the where, focus on getting there on a consistent basis. Every day you show up is a win!
No pressure! Every effort matters, even if you start with 5-10 minutes and build from there. My mom struggled with chronic back pain for years, but at 260 pounds had to do something. She indeed started with just a few minutes at a time. That grew to a few minutes, a few times a day. Over the course of several months (patience!), with mindful eating, and consistently doing what she could, she was able to lose 75 pounds. The best part was that she was able to do an entire super tough workout video with me!
Experiment! You never know what you like until you try. There are more ways than ever to get fit these days! Some examples include:
In group exercise classes you will do mostly cardio with some strength: Zumba, HIIT, Circuit, Aqua classes, Cycling, BodyPump, Group Fight, DanceFit, and more all!
For cardio in the Wellness Center, you will find: Treadmills for walking or running, Bikes, Stair Climbers, NuSteps, Rowing Machines
Strength training: You will need to hit the weight room to find machines, free weights, bands/tubes, cable machines, body weight, suspension trainer (TRX).
Do not compete with others! If you see fit people around you, know that they were once in your shoes! You do not know their story unless you ask. Yes, some people are genetically gifted and we struggle to be their friends (HaHa!) but most people did the work.
Don’t think, just do! There is not reality in which you will “want” to work out every day that you’ve planned to. This is the time to practice #2 and 3! Do what you can (no pressure), for as long as you can (you get points for showing up)
Accountability! Studies show that telling someone about your goals can increase adherence. Make a chart and check it twice. Be accountable to yourself and celebrate! Encourage some family or friends to do something good for themselves and keep in touch.
Take on new challenges and commit to seeing them through, like YMCA fitness challenges, Races (walk, run), or Online groups
Give it time. I had a client some years ago that really struggled in the beginning months. She was young, tall, and thin, but not very strong, and complained about EVERYTHING, to the point of frustration for me (I was younger then!). As she continued to train with me, her confidence and strength began to grow. She gained pounds of muscle, that she was happy to have as she also grew a booty (takes a lot of work when you are genetically thin), and to this day ended up being one of the strongest women I’ve trained. A woman who complained about the simplest of exercises in the beginning, ended up falling in love with, and being exceptional at one of the most difficult disciplines, powerlifting.
You can accomplish any goal you set your mind to with time, patience, and consistency. Your future self with thank you!
Amber C., Armbrust YMCA Health & Wellness Director
Need help establishing a new fitness routine OR upgrading your current one? All YMCA members get 2 free sessions with a Wellness Coach when they sign up - these don't expire, so if you're not a new member sign up today by visiting the Welcome Center.