It can be intimidating to start a fitness journey. There are many resources available online and this can be very overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where to start.
When I first started I wanted to try every exercise that I saw online, and thought that if I did all these workouts I would suddenly look like a fitness model. However, I quickly learned that my body was not going to change overnight.
My excitement quickly turned to frustration and disappointment. I had moments when I just wanted to give up. Even though I didn’t start this journey for my body to look a certain way, I did want to see some evidence of transformation.
So I thought I would take the time to talk about things that have helped me deal with obstacles in my journey and stay motivated.
1. Work out with a friend or loved one. It is great if you can start your journey with someone who is also motivated to change his/her lifestyle. I started my fitness journey alone and it was quite lonely. Yes, ultimately you should be doing this for yourself, but a support system can be a lifesaver. There will be times when you feel discouraged or unmotivated, but having someone to talk to or be honest with can take a huge weight off your shoulders. You don’t have to isolate yourself on this journey.
2. Take one day at a time. I try my best to take one day at a time. I want to appreciate each day as much as I can. I don’t want to worry about tomorrow because it takes away from today. I do my best while I’m at the gym and try to make good food choices one meal at a time. I won’t always be perfect, but it is a lot less overwhelming if I deal with the day at hand. I meal plan to help me stay on track, but I don’t obsess about the months ahead because it just makes me anxious.
3. You won’t always love to workout and that is ok. There will be ups and downs in your motivation. I have the tendency to blame myself when I’m not as excited about working out as “I should be”. But I now know it isn’t realistic to always be excited about the gym. I won’t always be excited. I will have days that I don’t want to be in the gym. If it is because my body is not feeling well, I will listen and not go. There are even days when I’m mentally not there and will take time off the gym and relax. I may just need a day of walking outside with my husband or a good yoga session. You don’t have to be in the gym 24/7.
4. Your body won’t change overnight. I made the mistake of thinking that if I workout daily and closely monitor my macros that my body would transform overnight. I would be leaner. I would have smaller measurements. I thought I would be so surprised by the transformation that I wouldn’t even recognize myself. Not true at all. This is not what happens at all. I have let go of having expectations about what my body will look like and now focus on healthy eating and consistent exercise.
5. Don’t compare yourself to fitness models. This journey is about you. It is more than just your physical appearance. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to see changes in your body. To see the fruits of your labor result in a physical transformation, but you shouldn’t be comparing yourself to fitness models online. There are a lot of variables that contribute to your physical appearance. Don’t obsess about what your body looks like and enjoy the process.
6. Change up your workout routine. Try to find new routines online, but don’t do all of them at once. Start with a few your interested in and keep a rotation of new exercises to keep things fresh. Ultimately, you want to keep it interesting at the gym. You don’t want to get bored. This is a sure fire way to become unmotivated. I’m a creature of habit and for a long time I was doing the same thing at the gym day after day. I started to get bored and realized with new workouts that my interest was reignited.
7. Count calories and macros. I got lazy keeping track of what I was eating. I thought as long as I was “close enough” to what I should be eating that I didn’t need to keep track. Once I started documenting again I found that I was eating more than I realized and this was likely contributing to why I had plateaued. I don’t obsess about calories, but I pay attention to them. Make small simple adjustments at a time and not radical changes in your diet. This will be more sustainable in the long run.
8. Keep reading. I learn something new the more I read about nutrition and exercise. You can never know too much. I like learning about my body and how best to care for it. I stopped reading and I lost enthusiasm about my journey. Staying educated keeps me engaged in my new lifestyle.
9. Stay comfortable at the gym. Make sure you have comfortable clothes, shoes, and gym equipment. You don’t want to be uncomfortable while working out. I didn’t realize how important it was for me to be comfortable. Not only do I enjoy my time in the gym more, but it helps prevent injury. You don’t want to be running in bad shoes or stretching without a comfortable yoga mat for your back.
10. Love yourself where you are right now. I have come to accept where I am right now. I know that I’m not perfect and still learning, but I have come a long way and hope to continue to have progress.