How To Start Your Fitness Journey
"Where do I begin?" This is one of the most common first questions for starting any new journey.
So, you want to start your fitness journey! Great, but where do you start? I've been there! You don't know what you don't know right?! Everyone has to start somewhere however, I think it's important to gain basic knowledge and to create a plan. If you just randomly started a new business but didn't do your homework first on that particular type of business chances are it will close down or fail. The same thing goes for your fitness. Doing your homework will create a sustainable and healthy fitness journey. The ultimate objective should be to find what works for you, what's sustainable for YOU! Remember, this is an investment in YOU and it's not selfish!
First, start to manifest your intentions. This could be meditating what you want your outcome to be in your fitness journey. This could be build muscle, lean out, weight maintenance. Whatever it is it's important to write out goals, think about if you are ready to make the proper sacrifices, are you ready to make a change, are you dedicated to making a change.
Educate yourself on the math. Whatever your fitness goal is, it will require simple math. In high school, you thought you would never need math class again right?! Well, fitness all comes down to fat and food. Fat is unused energy that is stored in your body. No matter how healthy you eat if you eat more calories than you burn you'll store food as fat. To lose weight you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. To maintain the weight you consume the same amount of calories you burn. To gain weight you must eat more calories than you burn. I recommend tracking what you are eating to understand exactly how MUCH FOOD you are actually consuming. This will help to eventually start creating a meal plan.
Now comes the fun part! Start researching gyms, go to some free trials, figure out what you might like to do. It might be a cycle class or a HIIT type of workout, maybe you just want to put your earbuds in and workout alone, or have a gym membership that allows for classes and free time. There are tons of ways to get physical activity in that work for you! Whatever it is that you enjoy I would say give it a try. Most gyms offer a trial class offer that's either free or at a HUGE discount. Make sure you do your research! Take tours of gyms, meet with trainers, check out their reviews. This will be an investment, but your health should be top priority (how can you be a great parent, co-worker, friend, or family member if you aren't functioning at your best).
Remember balance! Many first-timers (including myself) have experienced the "all or nothing" approach. My first bodybuilding shows were very much all or nothing experiences. I was either all in 100% with my nutrition and workouts or I wasn't in at all. Now is the time to remember the 80/20 rule we've talked about. Basically, you try to make the majority of your week healthy (with eating and exercising/physical activity). In the last 20% of the time, you can indulge a little. This will help you not feel deprived. Give yourself permission to not always be perfect because LIFE HAPPENS. Having the all or nothing attitude will lead to frustrations, failure, and burn out because nobody is perfect. Been there done that.
Now that you have a place to start, it's time to find a tribe of people that will support you. It's important to get understanding at the least or buy-in from your key stakeholders in your life (parents, significant others, friends, siblings, roommates, etc...). Finding the right support system isn't hard. There are plenty of online groups, running groups, co-workers, soccer moms, and BFF's that can help support you. Just ask somebody who does CrossFit, they are always more than willing to discuss working out with you! No, not everyone has to have the same lifestyle as you but if you have a few select people who support you, you will feel more confident and you'll keep going. Your tribe can give you advice, recipes, and new ideas on how to continue your journey.
Your fitness journey will require patience, time, and dedication. You will have good and bad days that are inevitable. Set small attainable goals. Focusing on the bigger picture all the time can and will stress you out. Think of some steps to start improving your health and fitness.
If I could give you any advice from my own 10+ year fitness journey it would be this; trust the process and find joy in the journey. Be flexible, be kind to yourself, love yourself. Don't measure your success on a number on a scale. Don't compare yourself to others. Keep your eye on the prize, you'll get there!