Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a “Magic Fitness Potion” and you would automatically be toned and trim? Yeah, we think it would be awesome too.
"Exercise is the magic pill," says Dr. Michael R. Bracko, a fitness educator and conditioning coach. "Exercise can literally cure diseases like some forms of heart disease. Exercise has been implicated in helping people prevent or recover from some forms of cancer. Exercise helps people with arthritis. Exercise helps people prevent and reverse depression."
OK, we get it. Getting in shape requires more than popping a pill. An exercise regimen -- along with a nutrition plan and healthy sleeping habits -- can transform your body and mind. All you need to do is commit to the plan and enjoy the results. It also helps if it easily fits into your lifestyle. Here are 12 tips to help you get started:
1. Set Realistic Goals
Before you get started designing your workout program, you need an honest assessment of your fitness level. Are you recovering from an injury? Is your cardiovascular system compromised in any way? Has it been years since you worked out? Are you heavier than you have ever been? If possible, have a conversation with your doctor and share your plan. Break your ultimate “Big Goal” into smaller goals in order to stay motivated. If your goal is too grandiose or complicated, you may just be setting yourself up for failure. “People get anxious, and if they didn’t do one thing, they feel like a failure,” strength and conditioning specialist Kellen Scantlebury told SELF Magazine.
2. Find Your Sweet Spot
Join a local gym or join the craze of online fitness classes. These gave us more choice than ever during the lows of Covid-19, and they’re still a thing because they work.
3. Connect with a Fitness Support Network
Motivate yourself by following others who are doing the work. Fitness routines shouldn’t be considered a competition, but it is so helpful to have the support of others on your new fitness journey. Like and comment on their progress, and they’ll do the same as you share your beastmode results. It will keep you accountable. Give people in your home an opportunity to root for you, too -- we all need it! No matter where you are on your wellness journey, focus on progress and not perfection.
4. Walk Before You Run
Literally. If your goal is to run a marathon but it’s been a while since you jogged regularly, start your marathon training by walking first. Then do a run-walk. Your body will thank you. And if running an organized race is not your jam, walking is an excellent exercise as well. "Any little increment of physical activity is going to be a great boost to weight loss and feeling better," says Rita Redberg, chairwoman of the American Heart Association's Scientific Advisory Board for the Choose to Move program.
5. Gear Up!
Nothing like buying some incredible new workout gear to make you want to put in the work. Head to your local Lululemon or take a look at Harper Bazaar’s favorite activewear brands. Don’t forget the accessories, like the all-important water bottle.
6. Sign Up for a 5K
Wait, you just said to walk first. You can get to a 5K finish line just by walking, but start with walk, run, walk, run. Then gradually build up. Never increase your mileage by more than 25 percent per week to help avoid overuse injuries. Get a good pair of running shoes that match your foot type, best determined at a local running shop. You’ll be amazed what it does for you by having a goal out there. Who knows, it might become an ultra or a triathlon one day.
7. Pay Attention to Your Nutrition & Hydration
If your goal is related to losing weight, make sure you are not starving yourself of proper nutrition. And make sure you replenish fluids by drinking water throughout the day. All food groups are necessary to keep your energy levels up and to help your body reach its full potential. Havasu Nutrition Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies are an excellent way to increase your metabolism, help reduce belly fat and suppress appetite. They also serve as a way to detoxify your system. Premium Multivitamin Gummies are a tasty and easy way to get 11 vitamins and minerals to keep your body strong and help with your energy levels and overall well-being. There are other supplements you can consider to enhance your workout.
8. Flexibility is Your Friend!
When many of us begin a fitness plan, we spend a lot of time focusing on aerobic activity (running, cycling, rowing, etc.) and strength training (weightlifting, resistance bands, etc.). But stretching is critical -- and often overlooked. “If you are thinking about beginning a fitness program and you have been idle for many years, you should stretch for an entire week before starting running, lifting weights or doing any calisthenics,” according to Military.com. Check out yoga classes in your area. Trust us on this one: Don’t shortchange your fitness goals by not stretching.
9. Consistency Takes Priority Over Intensity
The best way to make anything a daily habit is to make it a top priority. You will find that results come with regular, consistent physical activity. Replacing an unhealthy behavior with a new healthier habit is an excellent approach to maintaining it in the long term, according to a recent study. Sometimes, less is more. We get the need to go anaerobic on that Peloton or why HIIT workouts are great, but remember these tips are for beginners. If you focus in the outset more on intensity of the workout rather than consistency of the workout, you might become a prime candidate for burnout.
10. Listen to Your Body
Your body needs a rest day once a week. Not only will taking a day off help your body recover, but it will also help prevent injuries and avoid burnout. If you feel pain or discomfort while exercising, stop and rest before continuing. Pushing through pain is not a good idea, as it can cause injuries. The goal is to have a healthy body and mind, not be frustrated by injury or perpetual soreness. But taking a day off does not mean laying on the couch eating junk food.
11. Shake It up and Make it Interesting
Let’s face it: Workouts can get boring if we keep doing the same thing over and over and over again. Try running on a new trail or street. Experiment with other exercises that you’ve never tried before. Have you ever signed up for a “boot camp” program at your local gym? Not only will a variety of exercises prevent boredom, but it will also allow all the muscles and joints get stronger.
12. Write It Down
It’s not a plan if you don’t write it down. And you can’t record your progress if you don’t write it down. You can use pen and paper, a favorite app or a wall chart. Wherever and however you decide to record your results, make sure it includes objective (times, mileage, weight, etc.) and subjective (mental state, body comfort, recovery level) metrics. Having a written account of your workouts will help you figure out what is working and not working.