Achieving and maintaining fitness is a journey that you -hopefully- will be on for a long time. And, just like with any journey, getting started on the road to fitness can be the most difficult part of reaching your fitness goals. Instead of letting the larger picture overwhelm you, use these tips to get started on a safe and responsible plan. As you work through them, you will be moving closer to achieving your fitness goals.
1. Assess Your Fitness Level
If you were in perfect shape, you wouldn’t;t be starting out on a fitness journey, so now is not the time for unrealistic assessments of yourself. It can lead to a plan that is either far too difficult or not challenging enough. Be honest and use fitness assessment tools to decide where you are starting out. Plus, you will be able to look back and compare with those objective measurements later on to determine true progress. A few suggestions that can help you set a baseline include:
- Record your height and weight, then calculate your BMI
- Take measurements of your hips, waist, thighs and upper arms
- Walk a mile, recording your pulse rate before and after as well as how long it takes you to complete
- Perform pushups until failure and record the total number
2. Hire A Trainer
Schedule a few sessions with a fitness trainer to help establish your baseline and set up a realistic program. Ask questions so you can learn things like the differences between compound vs isolation exercises, proper nutrition for slimming down or bulking up and safe exercise practices. This will help you to get a solid start. Personal trainers can be costly, but the knowledge they bring to your fitness program make this a worthwhile investment. Check-in with them throughout the journey as you reach new goals and need to reevaluate your plan.
3. Set SMART Goals
When setting (and achieving) a fitness objective, SMART goals are the way to go. They help you stay on track, monitor progress and achieve real results. SMART stands for:
- Specific: you should detail exactly what you will achieve at each step
- Measurable: Decide how you will measure when you reach the goal
- Attainable: Set goals so that each step in the plan should be challenging, but also realistically attainable
- Relevant: Make sure each goal moves you closer to your ultimate objective
- Time-Bound: Set a time limit for reaching each goal marker
Together, these components will lay out a clear roadmap to achieving your desired end result and help you stay on track to a successful outcome.
4. Put It in Writing
Accountability is a huge component of fitness. You must take responsibility for your actions, and writing down what you will do can help. It has been shown to increase commitment and engagement, plus it’s really easy to do. Start a fitness journal where you can write down your plan and the goals you are setting to help you follow it. Then record your progress and setbacks as you get to work. Journals are more than fitness trackers; they are a place where you can share your feelings and insights, too.
5. Use the Right Equipment
Not all exercises use fitness equipment, but many do. If you are planning to add any supplemental resistance, make sure the ones you choose are the right size and configuration for your ability level. A too-heavy kettlebell can lead to a serious injury in a hurry, and that will set you back. Even your shoes can be considered equipment, especially if you are doing high-impact activities like running. So, get yourself started on the right foot with proper equipment that is suitable for your size and fitness level.
Imagine the feeling of accomplishment and achievement you will experience once you reach your goal, and use that to keep you focused as you start out. Using proven strategies, like hiring a trainer, establishing a baseline and developing SMART goals can get you closer to your desired result.
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