Key Considerations for Being Active

Lately, a number of my friends have been asking me create a basic workout plan for them. These are friends that haven’t ever been to a gym or it’s been a really long time. Some of them used to work out, run, dance, or play a sport, but they haven’t kept up with it. Life gets in the way, they don’t feel like paying for a gym, they don’t know where to start, and they just don’t know how to make it a priority right now. Add a confusing industry with contradicting articles about what’s the best way to work out and we end up deterring rather than encouraging people to get healthy. For people who want to start on their health and wellness journey, it’s overwhelming and most people have no idea where to start.

I am sure many of you can relate. Others have it under control and this might not be the blog for you. Over the next few weeks, I am going to post a range of work out plans. The first will be for those that haven’t done any type of workout in a long time and just need to get started with some activity. Then we’ll work our way up to more advanced plans that can help you keep up with your fitness, build strength and help those that want to tone up start to see some definition. But before we get started with any plan, I have some advice you could consider first:

  • Commit and Make a Plan: Finding the right plan for you is important (more on that in a bit) but also be encouraged that there are a lot of “right” plans out there. If you find something that you enjoy that gets you moving around, then stick with it!  Make a commitment to that activity for a period of time: like doing an activity three times a week for one month before switching to a new activity. Also remember that your muscles adapt and people get bored. You may really like a type of workout for a period of time and then need to move on to something else. Be looking for that next workout to switch it up while you’re in the middle of the first so that if you do get bored easily, you’re ready for the next workout plan without taking a month off while you figure out your next plan.
  • Get Social: there are a ton of apps out there that can help you stay accountable, track your progress, and offer resources to help you on your journey. You can invite your friends to download the same apps and you can encourage and/or challenge each other to be more active and celebrate your wins with each other.
  • Stay on Schedule and Track your Progress: Pick a day every week or at the beginning of the month where you are going to plan your workout schedule for the week. Having a plan ahead of time helps you make time and stay accountable. Then you can use the app I mentioned in #2 and track what you are doing and how you are staying active. Tracking your progress helps you recognize patterns. There may be days where you are less active than others – is there something extra you can do on those slow days to keep you moving? You’ll also have to define your goals. Lose weight? Tone up? Bulk up? Be able to do a pull up? Push up? Decide what those goals are and use resources available to build a proper plan.
  • Ask for help/Find a buddy: I cannot stress this one enough. It is extremely helpful to have an accountability partner. You can bounce ideas off of each other and celebrate wins or share your struggles. When you start to get off track, it helps to have a buddy there to encourage you. You should also ask for help. Like I mentioned in the beginning, there are so many different work out plans out there and it’s very confusing to know where to start. Asking someone that knows what they’re doing will help you identify your goals and the best way to accomplish them.
  • Decide what type of a competitor you are: By defining what type of competitor you are, you’ll be able to figure out what types of workouts are best for you. Personally, when I first started on my fitness journey, I wasn’t competitive against others. I just wanted to get out there. I was competitive against myself. I wanted to beat my latest pace, run one more mile than I did the last time, do one extra work out that week. Lately, I have become a little more competitive against others – so doing more competitive workouts is what I have been leaning toward.  Team workouts are great, the better I do, the better the whole team does. And I want to be someone that people want on their team.
  • Celebrate progress/Show and Tell: YES! I cannot stress this enough. Find people that actually want to hear about your successes and your work out plans and celebrate with them! The apps I was talking about earlier are great because they will encourage you, but it’s even better to have friends to do that with. Celebrate a goal accomplishment (like discussed in #3) by having a night out with friends or doing something that you really enjoy. Ask your friends and family for their support and have them plan a mini celebration for you at specific milestones. Having people check in with you and having good things to report is a great feeling!
  • Think food first: The dreaded food conversation. The reality is, if you don’t eat right, you’re likely not going to lose weight. Everyone is different though, so I can’t start offering advice that will fit everyone’s diet. But what I do suggest for those of you who are at the beginning of your health journey is to start slow. If you’ve never enjoyed salads, you’re likely not going to enjoy them at first. But introducing them slowly will help you adapt to the differences in the flavors from what you are currently eating. Start by knocking out one bad habit at a time and you’ll eventually start to feel so much better that you won’t be able to eat any differently. Suggestions would be: knocking out sodas, fast foods, that dessert you have every day, having alcohol on a regular basis.

No matter where you start on your journey, it’s helpful to think about these things to keep you on the right track. Am I missing anything? What else do you think needs to added to the list?

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