Are you just getting started on your fitness journey? Congratulations! We know it can be daunting, and here at the Sisterhood we’re committed to encouraging your every step. Even the first one. If you’re just starting out, or need a fitness refresher, here are some 8 tips to start your fitness journey to become a healthier YOU!
1.Turn healthy into a habit. This is the hardest part because it takes calculated dedication at the beginning. Some studies indicate that it takes 21 days to form a habit (or to break a habit), however, there are other findings that say it takes longer or shorter – it comes down to the person and what they’re doing. That means if you start today and stick with it, then 3 weeks from now (the first week of April) your fitness routine can become simply a habit, or part of your every day. This might mean showing a little more will-power to not hit the snooze button in the morning. (I personally set my alarm 30 mins before I want to get up to give myself time to wake up. Also, I put my tennis shoes in the bathroom, because that’s one of the first places I’ll be after waking up – I’ll often put them on in the bathroom so I have zero excuses).
2. Get plenty of sleep. We’ve all heard it. We all know it. It’s just hard to do it. According to the Sleep Foundation, the recommended number of hours of sleep for adults 26 to 64 years old is 7 to 9 hours per night (individuals older than 64 are recommended 7 to 8 hours). This might be a stretch for some, but sleep is important to the rest and recovery of your muscles, as well as to your exercise performance. Consequently, exercise may improve the quality and amount of sleep you get per night. An article in the New York Times said that individuals previously suffering from insomnia who exercised moderately for 30 minutes 4 times per week got an average of 45 minutes to 1 hour more of sleep per night than those who did not. Here are 17 tips for better sleep.
3. Mix up your workouts. When you’re just starting out, you may not yet know what works best for you. Take this opportunity to try out different forms of exercise. You may surprise yourself that you love strength training, or that water aerobics is really your thing, or that yoga does it for you. To really find out, stick with a certain form of exercise for at least one week to see if it would be something that could stay interesting and fun for you in the long run. There are so many different ways to keep your body moving; if you find that you really enjoy something, stick with it! But, don’t be afraid to try new exercises, classes or workouts. I personally enjoy HIIT workouts and kickboxing. Everybody is different!
4. Bypass the food hype. There are so many different eating programs and diets out there, it’s hard to follow, understand, and keep up with all of them. There’s nothing wrong with trying them out if that’s what you want to do (and as long as they really are healthy), but it really comes down to the basics of making healthy food choices. You know what those are: fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and proteins. Understand portion control. Pre-packing snacks is a great way to avoid overeating between meals. Meal planning is key – it’s harder to overdo it when you know what you’ll be eating all week.
5. Take rest days. Rest days are important for a variety of reasons. They can be rest days from exercise to allow your muscles to rebuild and strengthen, as well as rest days from a strict eating schedule. A “Cheat Day” or a “Cheat Meal” has a negative connotation – something you’re not supposed to be doing. With that negative connotation it can bring a sense of guilt, which isn’t mentally healthy especially when you’re just starting out. Physically, your body needs rest days – this doesn’t mean be sedentary all day. You can still exercise if you choose, just do so at a much slower/lighter pace. Go for a walk, do a series of stretches. Mentally, it’s ok to eat that muffin, or to dive in to some chips and queso without being racked with guilt from doing so. Be mindful of the amount you eat – it can be easy to overdo it. Everything in moderation. Life is also about enjoying yourself!
6. Set a goal. Whether it’s to get healthy, be stronger, or lose weight, have a goal in mind. Write it down if you need to. Goals are great tools, and need to be realistic. Know the difference between your short-term and long-term goals. Celebrate small victories – acknowledging how your hard work is paying off (and making you feel like a badass) may be just the thing to keep you going. There may be setbacks, which can be discouraging, but keep in mind what you’re working for. If progress photos are inspiring for you, take them! Do a ‘before,’ and one every time you hit a small goal. Celebrate yourself!
7. Don’t be a slave to the scale. Seriously. Becoming healthy doesn’t always reflect on the scale the way we want it to. If you want to see results, take body measurements and track how those change. The way your clothes fit and the overall way you feel may be more indication of your successes than the number on the scale can ever tell you. That’s why we encourage you to tell us your Non-Scale Victories (NSV), because the scale should never have the last say.
8. Take it one day at a time. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work and commitment – it takes exercise and eating right. It takes the sleep, and the rest days, and the setbacks. It takes the good AND it takes the bad. It takes the first step. It takes wanting it. You have an entire support system here at the Sisterhood – we want to know your victories and your frustrations. We know you can do it. We want to encourage you to keep going because you’re worth it. But we can’t do it for you. Taking it one day at a time starts with Day 1.
What tips do you have for starting a fitness journey?