“I Will Start When…….”

Getting into a routine is arguably one of the hardest things to do as an adult. It never seems like the “right” time to start or to get back on track. Let’s be honest, it’s also freaking hard in the beginning. Understand that there is NO perfect time to start. Life will always be there, getting in the way of the ‘perfect window’. This window may exist here and there, but realistically, long term, it won’t always be there. So you have to just start, regardless of if life is messy at the moment. Whether you’re just getting back into fitness, the first few weeks back are rough. You’re tired, you’re sore, and it feels like it just won’t ever get better.

It’s easy to fall into feeling like fitness just isn’t something that is for you, or that the “fit” people on Instagram have some gene that you just weren’t gifted with. The truth is, it’s hard for everyone. No matter what level you’re at or were at, if you’ve fallen off the wagon and have decided to jump back on it, the tough reality is that it will be hard to comeback. The good news is, that this phase doesn’t last forever. Once the initial shock has worn off, you’ll settle into routine, and things won’t seem so impossible.

Following are a couple tips to getting into (or back into) a fitness routine.

(1) The first hurdle is talking yourself into just STARTING. It always seems like there is a better time coming up where it would be more ideal to start. Typically, we’re in a busy period, or things at work are exceptionally stressful or the weather isn’t just cooperating with your vibe. There are infinite reasons to start at some point in the future. But we all know what that next Tuesday quickly turns into next Saturday and that turns into next Wednesday. It will never feel like the right time to start a new fitness program. Just like it never feels like the right time to buy a house, change jobs, have kids, etc.. This is just the way that life works, and the best thing to do is set those excuses aside and start today, not tomorrow. And starting doesn’t have to be 100% effort – it can be as simple as just going for a walk, or 10 minutes of physical activity.

(2) The flip side of this is that life sometimes throws us curveballs that mean we need to adjust our sails. Sometimes things really do become too much, and we need to take a step back for a minute to deal with other life problems and stresses. This is called SELF CARE and it is just as important to your heath as your fitness routine. If you have to take some time off, that’s OK, don’t feel guilty, and don’t panic. Just do what you can, when you can and don’t delay getting back into routine when life settles down. Progress isn’t linear, and you won’t lose all your “gains.” Muscle memory is a thing, and fitness comes back faster than when you’ve already reached that level before.

(3) Most importantly, whether you’re starting your fitness journey for the first time, or just jumping back onto the wagon, make sure you choose what works best for you and do something you enjoy. There is no one-size fits all fitness plan. Try new things, new sports, new classes, and find what works with your schedule and doesn’t spark feelings of rage rather than fitness-induced joy.

Finally, a few things to remember. Fitness and health is truly a journey – there will be peaks and valleys, and it will NEVER be perfect. Seeking perfection is a set up for failure. The most important thing you can do after you start is to KEEP GOING, even if that means a once a week, a quick 20 minute walk or whatever gets you moving.

There is no more perfect time to work on your health and fitness than right NOW!

Kristen Hansen, BA, CSEP-CPT, PFT-NAIT, NASM-CES, FRCms