I recently spent about 10 days with a bad cold. It was part sinus, part chest cold and a whole lot of awful. Walking around the block with my dog winded me. Going up a flight of stairs made me cough. Coughing exhausted me further.
I felt myself becoming depressed and apathetic. All this happened right in the middle of my off-season and while I was planning on taking a break from swim, bike, run, I was planning on doing a lot of yoga, strength and walking before I got sick. By the end of 10 days I felt soft, weak and out of shape and as a fitness and nutrition specialist I felt defeated. In short I was not happy.
Once I was feeling better (last week) I resumed training. It wasn’t easy. I signed up for a cycle class for some group encouragement. I had fun but I sucked wind. I was exhausted after what would have been an easy ride and was tired for the rest of the day. But I was starting to feel happier. I sweated and those endorphins were released. The next day at a pre-schedule strength session I was left whining to the trainer about how heavy the weights felt despite them being lighter than normal. While I being tired after the work, I felt better since my muscles felt worked. Another cycle class and more sweat and more endorphins. I wasn’t feeling as depressed or unhappy. I finally talked myself into a run and although I felt like it was my first run ever and my body ached like I had run a 20k not 10k, my head and heart was back in the game and I wanted more!
All of this is a great reminder to me of the challenges new athletes and those new to fitness feel all the time in getting started or getting back to fitness. My love for sport, fitness and health kept me interested in going back for more even though my head and body was telling me that it was going to be so hard and thus questioning the reason why I should bother.
So here are my 5 tips for getting started:
- Don’t wait for Monday. Do it now, right now! Do not wait! The longer your put it off the tougher it will be. There is no time like the present to make it happen!
- Schedule it! If you don’t write it down your time will be gobbled up by all the other things you have to do. Put it in your calendar and keep that appointment.
- Recruit help / bring a buddy. Accountability is the biggest factor in your success when getting started. Hire a trainer or sign up for a class so you have to go and get a couple friends to join you since that will make it more fun. If you can’t recruit a friend physically, do it virtually.
- Be consistent. Initially you might want to quit, but the more regular you become, the easier it becomes and the more you want to do it.
- Set a goal. Pick a goal of some kind such as an event, race, or outfit to help motivate you to stay on track. Break that big goal down to little goals and make those little goals achievable. You are more likely to want to continue if you are seeing success.
- Start slowly. If all you have is 20 minutes on day one then that’s enough. Assess your level of fitness before going gung-ho because you might end up injured. If it’s been a couple months since your last workout or a couple years, ease back in and vary your workouts and the intensity. Chose activities that you love to help you get moving, it will seem like less work.
So it may be hard, and it might not feel like fun initially, stick with it and in no time you’ll be wanting more. Now, go get moving and get sweaty! Ask me if you need help!