Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to Begin (and Continue) Your Fitness Journey

What's going on, y'all?  I've got so much to get done today as I prepare to head out of town for my friend Valerie's bachelorette party this weekend!
Val and I at my bachelorette party...ignore the poster in the background :)
I can't tell you yet where we're going since she doesn't know, but I can say that were are in for an AWESOME weekend!

As someone who has recently made a regular commitment to fitness, I've relied on tips from others to help me start and continue this fitness journey.  I wanted to put together all of the advice I received, as well as some tips of my own.
  • First, you need to figure out the purpose of your fitness journey.  Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to maintain your weight?  Are you trying to tone your muscles?  Do you want to run for 30 minutes straight?  Do you just want to be active to stay healthy?  If you figure out your purpose, you'll better understand what kinds of exercise are best for you.  If you're trying to tone muscle, you'll need to do some strength training.  If you want to run for 30 minutes straight, you'll need to hop on that treadmill or find a trail outside and log some miles.  Which leads to the next point...
My original purpose: finish a half marathon
  • Next, remember that it is YOUR fitness journey.  YOU need to find what YOU enjoy doing.  Don't just do something because "everyone's doing it" or it's the "latest fitness craze."  Don't join a gym if you know you aren't going to actually go.  Don't sign up to run a marathon if you hate running.  By all means, try out a bunch of different fitness methods, but make a commitment to what you enjoy doing.  You aren't going to stick with it if you don't enjoy it!  

A few of my favorite ways to be fit!

  • As hard as it is, DON'T compare yourself to others, especially if you're just starting out on your fitness journey.  If you do, you may get discouraged and not want to continue on your fitness journey.  All of our bodies are different, and we're all going to perform differently. Comparing ourselves to others makes it seem like what we're able to do is nothing, when really, for us, it's an incredible accomplishment.  For example, I always compare my running pace to other running blogs that I read.  I'm pretty proud of myself for maintaining a sub-10 minute mile pace, and they're running 8 minute miles!  I always think that I'm not a good enough runner, but then I remember that a year ago, I could barely run for a mile, much less 13.1 miles!  Just being able to run and see an improvement is a huge accomplishment for me!
May be slow to some, but it's right where I want to be!
  • Find a fitness buddy, or some way to keep you accountable.  If you work out with someone, you're much more likely to stick to a schedule because you won't want to let that person down.  You could work out with your significant other, your pet, a friend, your parents, or a co-worker.  Also, there are a bunch of online accountability tools that can keep     you motivated and encouraged, both individually and with an online community.  MyFitnessPal website and app are great for calorie counting with food and exercise, MapMyRun website and app are great for runners/walkers/cyclers, even starting a blog is a great way to keep accountable.
The hubby and the pooch: two of my favorite fitness buddies!
  • Make fitness convenient for you!  Join a gym near your home or work that you're likely to go to on the way to/from work.  Pick up a fitness DVD and a couple sets of dumbbells so that you can work out at home.  Lace up your sneakers and take a walk around your neighborhood after dinner.  If it's convenient for you to work out, you are much more likely to do so!  I am so thankful that our landlord/next door neighbor has a home gym in her backyard.  When I can't make it to the gym, I just go right next door and complete a strength training workout.  Easy peasy!
Sweaty after working out in my neighbor's back yard
  • Set a goal is that measurable and manageable, but don't go overboard.  One of my favorite bloggers, Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers, made a great point about picking one fitness goal to work on at a time.  It can be overwhelming when you try and go all or nothing, and it's much more rewarding to see progress when focusing on one area.  So, if you're just starting a fitness routine, maybe set a goal for 2 workouts a week.  Once you meet that goal with ease, set a new goal.  Setting one attainable goal is also a great to change up your fitness journey!  If you're in a fitness routine but bored with it, maybe set a goal to try a new fitness class or a new piece of cardio equipment next time you go to the gym.  
    Goal: Run a sub-30 minute 5k.  Mission accomplished!
  • Last, get the word PERFECT out of your head.  There is no perfect fitness journey other than the one you are on.  This goes back to comparing yourself to others, but since everyone's body is different, we all need to do different things for us to be fit.  What works for you may not be what works for others.  So don't beat yourself up if you aren't working out 7 days a week if that doesn't work for you.  Don't give up in a BodyPump class if your bar doesn't have as much weight on it as the person next to you.  As long as you are meeting your goals and your body feels good, then you are on your perfect fitness journey.
These are just some basic tips to help you start and maintain your fitness journey!  They have been helpful for me throughout the last year when I really committed to making fitness a priority.

**Disclaimer: I am not a certified personal trainer or fitness coach of any kind.  These are just some things that have worked for me personally.  Please consult a doctor before beginning any kind of fitness routine.**

Question for you: What's a fitness tip that you have for starting/maintaining a fitness journey?  What is one of your fitness goals right now?


  1. I think blogs are a great tool to use too. I think I was aimless for too long. Now I've got my triathlon goal. Yay! Thanks for a great post Amy!

    1. That's awesome! Good luck in training for it, I think that's a great goal for you!