Updated: Mar 25
As the weather gets nicer, and restrictions begin to loosen, those of you who have struggled with implementing a fitness routine in your home may be starting to think of other options to get yourself back on a workout plan. Today, I wanted to share some tips with you about how to make fitness part of your normal lifestyle, rather than a chore. Spark Joy The biggest tip I have for those embarking on a fitness routine is to explore fitness options that bring you joy. If you hate your exercise routine, you won't stick to it, no matter how good the results are. If you have trouble thinking of a workout you enjoy, think back to what you loved when you were young. If going to a friend's pool was the highlight of your summer, join a gym with a pool. If you've always loved dancing, take a 305 Fitness class. Like being part of a team? Try (socially distanced) group fitness classes at a local gym with a real community. Once you begin moving your body in a way that you enjoy, you might even be inspired to try something new!
Consistency is Key There are two methods that I find help with consistency when trying to start a new routine. First, tie the new routine to an old routine. Always get your morning coffee at the same shop? Stop in and sip it on your walk to the gym. Is brushing your teeth the last thing you do before bed? Commit to doing 15 minutes of yoga right before that. Tying the new habit to an old routine will help take the internal struggle out of it. The other method I suggest is to fit your new exercise routine in the time where it will be easiest for you to accomplish. One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is committing to an early morning routine when they already struggle with their wake-up time. Don't make the new routine harder than it has to be by making it a double-struggle!
"Fitness is not a short-term goal, it's something that you want to be a part of your life forever." ~ Erica Marcano
Victories don't just happen on the scale. Take honest inventory of your baseline strength, flexibility, and endurance when you begin, and use these elements as a measuring stick to see how far you've come. If you are working with a trainer or coach, they will definitely assess these things for you, and point out your progress, but if you're working out independently, you can do this for yourself. If you are doing online workouts, bookmark the classes you take, and repeat them once in a while to see and feel your progress.
You may notice a change in your endurance, less fatigue, the ability to complete more reps, or less need to modify the exercises. Seeing and feeling the progress you make is a great feeling, and will help keep you motivated!
Acknowledge your Accomplishments! Be proud of yourself! I see so much self-deprecating behavior from clients who are just starting - little jokes about their weight, or what they could have done when they were younger, or what they saw someone on Instagram do. Reward yourself by acknowledging the courage it took to do this, the hard work you are putting in, and the results that you begin to see! However, I would stay away from the traditional “rewards” system that often is used to develop a new habit — on the opposite side of rewarding yourself for sticking to something new, there naturally exists punishment for slipping, and we don't want to associate negativity, guilt, or shame with our fitness routine.
Erica shares helpful tips on how to progress your push-ups!
One more tip - remember that there is a learning curve - don't get frustrated, and definitely don't give up! Remember that fitness is not a short-term goal, it's something that you want to be a part of your life forever.
Erica Marcano, MS ATC, CSCS, also known as The Notorious ATC, is certified Athletic Trainer and Strength & Conditioning Specialist with 15 years of experience in her field. She currently coaches clients in person throughout Brooklyn & NYC, and due to recent events, now sees clients virtually as well. Learn more about Erica and her holistic fitness practice here.