How to Start Working Out

Working out is a challenge. For some people it feels like a fun challenge, and for others it feels like a task they have to accomplish each day. For those who have never worked out before, they’re wondering how to start working out. Those who have taken an extended break, or maybe simply lost the commitment and are wondering how to start working out again also ask this question. In this post we’ll outline how to start working out from both perspectives – as a first timer, and a seasoned vet.

How to start working out | First Timers

If you have never worked out before your steps to starting are going to be very different than someone who has had exercising (or training, as athletes call it) in their life for a long time. You’re unsure what to expect. You’re wondering if you’ll see results. You’re trying to determine what the best workout is for you to try. Those are hard questions to answer, because they have such an individual-specific quality to them.

The good news is you don’t actually need any of them when considering how to start working out. Here are the three things to consider.

Identify your goal

We talk about the importance of goal setting a lot – and so do many others. This is because it is what keeps you going when you want to quit. But you also need to go beyond simply identifying your goal. You need to write it down, and keep it with you. Some of the ways we have done this in the past include:

  • Putting it on a post it note for our bathroom mirror
  • Background on our cell phone
  • Telling an accountability partner who will check in on how it’s going

Any of these strategies work. Just get that goal out there.

put it into your calendar

What is measured gets improved, and what is scheduled gets done. If you expect to keep a brand new habit from the start without using your calendar app to help you, you may be in for a tough reality. Until you get into a groove of working out, you’ll forget about the gym, so schedule your classes into your calendar each week.

This has the added benefit of not letting co-workers schedule over your “you time” anymore.

take a before picture

You know what is motivating? Looking back on how far you’ve come, and seeing your results. The best way to do this is to have a before picture to reference. When you’re feeling defeated about your fitness, like nothing is working for you, and that you’re ready to give up, you can go look at that photo, look at yourself now, and remember that it’s worth it.

Seasoned Veteran Returning to Workouts

If you’re someone who already knows what working out is like, your steps are going to be slightly different than our new friends. You already know to have a goal and stick to it, and to keep your workouts scheduled into your calendar app. You’ve certainly done the before picture a time or two.

What you need is a strong reason to start back up. To get out of breath. Pick up heavy things. Be tired and sore again. Here’s your checklist for how to start working out again.

Give yourself a reward

Not everything requires a trophy – but some outside motivation certainly won’t hurt. Give yourself a reward for getting back into the workout mode. Whether this is a month at a fitness class you’ve always wanted to try, a new workout outfit, or a fresh pair of shoes doesn’t matter.

Giving yourself this gift can make working out feel fun again – and let’s be honest, you stopped going because you stopped having fun and seeing the benefits. Give yourself a quick win as a little boost, right from the start.

hold your coach accountable

This one is different. While it is undeniable you need to hold yourself accountable first and foremost, also hold your coach accountable. When you go back to your gym say the following words, “I have this as my goal, and I want you to help me get there. This is what I’m here for – how do we make this happen?”

No one stops working out when they’re seeing results – you probably quit when you got frustrated. Be prepared for your coach to challenge you. You may have to put in a little more effort than you expected. Maybe you’ll need to change the way you eat. Be open and ready for the coaching, and then execute on it.

evaluate why you stopped before

When you get back into something, you’re going to go through what we lovingly call the honeymoon stage. You know how that is. Everything seems great. There is so much hope and expectation. You’re excited for what is going to happen.

Then the reality of hard work sets in and you feel a little less motivation.

Get out ahead of this and ask yourself why you stopped before. When you understand why this happened in the past, you can address the problem before it arrises. If it was a scheduling problem, get your workout time onto your calendar. If it was a results issue, see step two in this list. If you always fail because you’re constantly eating unhealthy and this makes you wonder why you even workout, look into some meal preparation companies you can buy from, or start preparing your own food early.

Identify the problem, plan the solution, and execute that plan.