5 Steps to Kickstart a Healthy Lifestyle
Want to start working out but feel overwhelmed at the idea of it all?
Scrolling through fitness accounts on Instagram and thinking to yourself, “How will I ever look like that?!”
Here are a few steps to kickstart your healthy lifestyle this New Year.
- Start Slow
Ambition is good, but be realistic.
If you’ve never exercised, your body will not be able to tolerate a HIIT workout or a crazy pounding weight session. You will probably puke and hate it too. In fitness jargon, this is called “unconditioned”. Conditioning the body and getting it used to higher heart rates takes time.
Sedentary individuals can start by just as little of 15-20 minutes of brisk walking 2-3 times a week. From there, progress to 30 minutes 4-5 times a week. Improvements in overall wellbeing can be quickly noticed during this period.
Bodyweight exercises are also an excellent way to begin activating your muscles. Squats, lunges, wall sits, push-ups, planks... the possibilities are endless! They can be performed at home or at the park without any expensive equipment.
Walk before you run. Bodyweight before barbells.
Increase intensity and duration progressively, not all at once.
- Find Something You Love
Fitness should be fun, not just something you have to endure.
When “exercise” is mentioned, what comes to mind for most is running. Running is excellent, but it isn’t the only workout you can do. I personally love it but it is boring to many others.
There are plenty of fun ways to get your body moving. Zumba, Muay Thai, Les Mills Body Combat and outdoor bootcamps are great ways to burn calories and get some blood flowing.
When you enjoy it, you will stick with it. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find something you love!
Having someone to be accountable to makes a whole world of difference.
“I’m so tired today.”
“Who needs exercise when I can have extra fries.”
Left on my own, I would never have dragged my lazy bum off the couch. Chances are it might be the same for you.
Find an exercise partner. Get your mom to nag at you. Get your partner to work out you. Immerse yourself in fitness communities. Sign up for group classes. Pay for a gym membership. Fitness is a journey and you’re better off when you have like-minded people to do it with.
- Hire a Trainer
Sometimes, the wealth of information on the Internet can be more confusing than helpful. Here is where personal trainers come in to help.
Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
This is important especially if you’re new to the gym. The last thing you want is to injure yourself. Get a trainer to teach you proper form and technique, or even to design a workout program tailored to your specific fitness goals.
Most commercial gyms offer personal training sessions upon sign up. Other ways to look for good trainers are via word-of-mouth or online research. Find an experienced trainer you trust and whose approach you are comfortable with.
Don’t forget to ask for their credentials. Reputable trainers will be registered with a professional board such as ACE (American Council of Exercise) or NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine). Bonus points if they have a current CPR certification.
- Just Start
Truth be told, you could read a million motivational quotes, drool over pictures of toned bodies and abs, pay for the most expensive gym or hire the most qualified trainer - but at the end of the day, no one else can do the work but you.
You are responsible for your own body and health.
Yes, you might probably hate it at first, but your future self will thank you for the hard work you put in now. The benefits of having a lean, strong and healthy body are incredible. And more than just looking good, fitness will unlock a self confidence and passion for life you never even knew was there.
But you have to start.
Start small, start somewhere, just start.