In a world of YouTube workouts and gym memberships, it can be hard to know where to start your fitness journey. You may have had an off-again, on-again relationship with exercise in the past since adopting a consistent fitness routine is undeniably a challenge. Exercise has proven benefits on mental and physical health, but there seem to be minor roadblocks that stand in the way of forming healthy habits.
Ready to break up with the bad habits that make exercise a near impossibility? If you feel prepared to commit to exercise but don’t know where to begin, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Prep Your Gym Bag
Picture coming home exhausted from a long day at work with a loose plan to workout, only to realize that you can’t find your headphones and don’t have a clean gym shirt. Would you feel jazzed to exercise? Not being prepared for your workout is a recipe for disaster when you’re trying to make exercise a habit. If you have physical activity on your schedule, prepare your gym bag by washing your workout gear, charging any necessary electronics, and filling up your water bottle. Having your bag packed and ready will make getting to your workout that much more efficient.
Find a Workout Partner
Finding a consistent partner to exercise with is one of the best ways to stick to your fitness goals. Suppose you’re in the process of incorporating exercise into your routine. In that case, a workout partner is an optimal way of being held accountable—no need to look further than your phone screen, either. Exercising with friends and family can happen virtually, which is as simple as planning to work out simultaneously or completing the same workout and talking about it together afterward.
Create an Exercise List
If you find yourself carving out the time for physical activity but aren’t sure where to begin, try creating a list of go-to exercises. You can choose to categorize them by what equipment you’ll need, such as dumbbells or bodyweight only, or the types of muscle groups they’ll work with, such as arm or leg workouts. A master list of varying strength and cardio exercises is an efficient tool for sitting down and planning future activities. Next time you’re ready to get your sweat on, all you have to do is pick a few exercises from your lists, no mental energy required.
Schedule Your Workouts
Whether you live life glued to your calendar or are more of a mental scheduler, physically penciling in your workouts makes it easier to stick to your fitness goals. Taking a look at your schedule early in the week allows you to find the optimal time to fit in your workout. Mapping out your fitness routine is especially helpful during hectic weeks when slammed with meetings, projects, and other tasks that make it easy to neglect your workout. If you are at time forgetful, set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself it is time for your workout!
Find Your Time of Day
Your desire to exercise can be significantly affected by the time of day you choose to work out. If you’re a night owl or an early bird, a good rule of thumb is to plan your workouts during the time of day that you have the most energy. If you have pep in your step when you wake up but crash by the time you’re off work, morning workouts are probably your best bet. If you dread the sound of your alarm in the morning but still feel wide awake during nighttime hours, you might find it easier to work out later in the day. Not only will this make exercise more appealing, but it will also help your performance by preventing fatigue early on in your workout.
Have a Home Backup
Sometimes all this planning can still fail and you can’t make it out to your gym or class. But, exercising is most convenient when you don’t have to travel far, and home-based workouts are an easy way to get your daily exercise in. You can just do some home workouts, but opting for one solid piece of gym equipment like a stationary bike will help you push yourself from the comfort of your own home. You can even binge-watch another TV series, this time while pedaling for your health. When looking for the best stationary bike to fit your needs, keep your desired style, level of intensity, and price in mind.
In the beginning, incorporating fitness into your routine can feel awkward at worst and unfamiliar at best, but pushing through the beginning steps will yield beautiful results. Make exercise more convenient by opting for a stationary bike, prepping your gym bag, scheduling workouts with a partner, and exercising when you have the most energy. With a bit of consistency, planning for exercise will start to feel like second nature.