June 24, 2016 at 9:00 am EDT | by Gerard Burley
Fitness: getting started
fitness program, gay news, Washington Blade

There’s no ‘right’ time to start a fitness program. The right time is when you’re ready to listen to your body. It tells you what it needs.

Many times in fitness articles and blogs, we experts focus on specific training modalities or how to maximize your workout, but rarely outside of the month of January do we address how to get started.

Improving your fitness, like most things in life, can be quite a daunting task for most people who have been out of the routine for a while or who have never gotten into a routine. It feels like you are looking at a 20-foot pile of dirt and you’re there with a spoon preparing to start shoveling.  This is how I feel when I need to clean my house, so I get it.

Many times the process starts with questions like, “Where do I start?” and “How do I start?” and ends with frustrating thoughts of, “I can’t do this” and, “This isn’t for me.” The frustration can lead you back to the comfort zone of unhealthy foods and the negative cycle continues without progress.  Well, have no fear. I’m going to lace you with my three best tips to help you get moving in the right direction on to a healthier happier you.

There’s no right time

“I’ll start on Monday,” has to be the most common lie I hear people tell themselves. January is no better time to start getting fit than the rest of the year, yet most people wait until the new year to start their fitness and wellness plans. We’ve all used these excuses in various aspects of our lives, but truth is that the right time is as soon as you get that thought that you need to focus on your health.

Steve Jobs said to always follow your instincts because they somehow always know where you truly need to be. That inside voice is the navigation GPS of your soul telling you it’s time, so take that as a message to get it going as soon as you hear it. As a trainer, I have only heard one regret repeatedly among clients across the board and that’s that they should’ve started this process earlier.  At the end of the day in life, we can regain everything except time. The earlier you decide with conviction that this is the time for you to make a change, the more time you will live a happier, more complete life.

Start how you start

There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s and there’s also no wrong way to start your path to fitness. When people ask my advice on what type of training they should participate in I first ask them, “What do you like to do?” What exercise plan you choose and stick with has a lot to do with your personality and what moves you. The biggest thing we want to achieve in the beginning is building exercise consistency. It’s important you find something that matches your personality type and will keep you coming back even through the hard times.

Before starting, think about what drives you and motivates you in other aspects of your life. If you’re driven by competition, then finding a program with digital feedback, a scoring system or activities where you are matched against other participants may be a great way to motivate you to do your best. If you’re inspired by working together in a fun environment, you may want to try dance fitness or other group fitness classes geared toward building the group as one. Once you get into the routine of staying active, your next step is to find a few workouts that are out of your comfort zone and different from the ones that you vastly enjoy. Having that balance and variety in your workouts will keep you progressing and avoiding plateaus.

Build a disaster plan

You have insurance in every aspect of life just in case stuff doesn’t go right, but when building a fitness, nutrition or wellness plan, people rarely think about that what if.  What if a month down the road you fall off the plan? What’s the plan then? Will you hire a personal trainer? Will you call in a therapist to help you to stay focused on the mental side? If you fall off on the nutrition side, maybe it’s time to order some healthy delivery meals to make it easier to eat healthier. Whatever your plan is, have a reboot plan to come into play just in case things don’t work like you thought they would. It’s very important to remember that we all have fallen out of shape or off of our nutrition plans, but those who can get back on the wagon always have a system to propel them back on the path to success.

The difference between success and failure can really be a matter of having a few tools prepped in your wellness tool box including having backup plans. Staying healthy, fit and well is a lifelong mission that many people each year continue to fail at because they lack the support and planning to get to their goals. The most important thing to remember is that this race is a marathon not a sprint. Always get started and no matter how many times you fall down, it’s never too late to get back up.  Stay healthy and well!

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