At the welcoming of the New Year a huge number of people all have the same concentration on a resolution – getting in shape, being more active, and improving their overall health – with some people being new to the game and some repeat offenders. According to U.S. News, roughly 80% of people who start a New Year’s resolution end up quitting or failing by mid-February.
This result is highly due to not having guidance or a plan before starting your resolution. Just jumping into something isn’t always the most efficient way to create longevity in order to reach goals. In this article I have put together a Beginner’s Guide to starting a workout plan – and how to stick to it. Even if you are not a beginner per se, starting from a beginner’s approach may be the direction to take in order to move forward and not relapse.
Key Factors to Starting a Workout Plan
Before even starting an exercise routine it is important to identify some main key factors that will guide you in starting your journey as well as help assist in continuing exercise as a lifestyle habit.
One of the most important factors is “What are your fitness goals?” Are you trying to lose weight? Gain muscle? Improve functional movements? Improve cardiovascular health? Increase range of motion and flexibility? The list is almost endless – and each one very personal. To get personal, it is important to breakdown your goals into short term and long term achievements. Some short term goals could include joining a gym, losing 5-10 pounds, running 1 mile, start taking a yoga or fitness class, eating a healthier breakfast, meal-prepping, or walking 6,000 steps per day.
Long term goals can include creating lasting healthy habits, losing 30+ pounds, running a marathon, performing a complicated yoga pose, hitting a PR with your workout, and even overcoming poor health habits that you have been wanting to change. Goals – short or long term – will all be relevant to where you are starting with your fitness journey and the lifestyle that you want to create.
A good tip is to write down your goals so that you are able to visualize achieving them. By putting them down on paper you are manifesting them into reality and it can assist in holding yourself more accountable.
The next step is to find out your “baseline measurements”. Some baselines are objectively measurable – weight and body fat percentage; and some will be subjectively measurable – your personal strengths and weaknesses. By recording these baselines you will have an assessment to refer back to on your journey through your resolution. A journal or note book is perfect for writing down this essential information.
Another baseline to take in consideration is any restriction that you have or may encounter on a daily or weekly basis with trying to achieve your goals. You should also record the activities (if any) that you are currently doing – including if your job is active or sedentary; do you walk your dog on a daily basis?; are you currently eating a balanced diet?; if so, what can be improved? All of these questions act as stepping stones in moving forward towards your goals.
Once you have your baselines recorded, breakdown and set specific actions in order to reach your short term goals. One of your goals may be to lose 5 pounds, but what actions are you going to take in order to reach that goal. In order to do so you must identify any problems or obstacles that you experience on a daily and weekly basis – habits, routines, stress, work schedule, nutrition habits, motivation, and most mentioned, “lack of time”. It may seem overwhelming, but the more things that you can identify the more you become self-aware of your actions and in turn will transform negative factors into positive ones.
To begin approaching a plan to move forward you must pinpoint what days, times and frequency you can realistically dedicate to exercising each week. It is very important to be realistic while preparing your plan of action. If you create a plan that is unattainable, your goals will be as well. Everyone is different, so setting up a plan that works with your lifestyle is key. If you are unsure what is realistic, start off small and work your way up – that way you are ensuring that you are able to create long term habits.
If you know that you have 30 minutes in the morning before the kids get up to go to school, go for a jog or complete a 20 minute circuit of exercise. If the gym that you joined is on your way home for work, make it a habit to bring your workout clothes with you so that you don’t have to go back home to get your gear and then possibly make an excuse of why you can’t get back to the gym. Many people claim that they ‘don’t have time to exercise’ but you must make time by taking advantage of situations during your daily routine – in turn making exercise part of your natural regimen.
Get Professional Help
One of the last things to determine when creating your plan of action is “Do you need to seek out professional help to reach your goals or are they achievable on your own?” If after you create your plan of action you still have no idea where to begin, you may need to seek help from a professional in order to get a jumpstart towards your goals. By doing so you can avoid wasting time and a possible relapse of you resolutions. If after putting your plan of action together you feel confident, keep your head up and work at it day by day. Each day is going to be different but by identifying your short term goals, being realistic, and creating a plan to move forward, you will be able to manifest long term healthy lifestyle habits.
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About the Author
Growing up with an abundance of energy, McKenzie Stern could usually be found practicing an active lifestyle, participating in multiple sports including gymnastics, competitive cheerleading, soccer, flag football and swimming. After high school she attended Florida State College at Jacksonville and graduated from the Physical Therapist Assistant program specializing in rehab. While completing her internship for the program graduation McKenzie started working at a fitness facility as a personal trainer and fell in love.
With her rehab background she has been able to help multiple people improve their functional abilities, as well as challenge them to try things they never deemed possible – striving to take people’s weakness and transform it into their most prized strength. With a mindful approach, McKenzie’s passion is to help people become healthier and more functionally active as a lifestyle adaptation. Going on her 10th year in the fitness, health and wellness industry, she loves to work with all types of goals, including general weight loss/management, increasing functional abilities, core, balance, stability and building lean muscle.
McKenzie has been a resident of the Fort Lauderdale area for 4 years and is head fitness instructor at the Lauderdale Yacht Club. She also helps private clients throughout Eastern Fort Lauderdale. To inquire about personal training or wellness you can email McKenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org.