Today’s post is written by Rob Medsger, founder and owner of 3Strong Gym in San Ramon, CA.
Today is a new day. This is going to be the beginning of a new you because today is the day you stopped buying into your own excuses. You’ve decided to pull yourself up off the couch from a marathon Netflix binge, and start exercising. First of all, let me congratulate you. I think that’s an excellent decision. Next, let me give you a few tips on how to get back into exercise the right way, so you can keep yourself motivated, seeing progress, and staying injury-free.
DEFINE A GOAL
Before you jump back into things, it’s good to have a vision of what you’d like to accomplish. Declaring that you want to get back into exercising is a good idea, but it’s not really a clearly defined goal. Identifying specifically WHY you want to exercise can give you a sense of purpose. And, it is that purpose that will be the driving force behind your progress. It’s what you can dream about while you’re working out.
So, define your goal. Do you want to run a marathon? Perform a legit pull-up? Look hot in your bathing suit? Whatever that goal might be, pick something that’s going to get you excited.
If you want more detailed instructions on how to set goals, I recommend checking out this article about S.M.A.R.T. Goals.
CREATE A SCHEDULE
The first step in working towards your goal is to figure out when you can actually work on your goal. How many workouts per week can you commit to? What time of day can you workout? How much time can you dedicate to each workout?
Whether that’s five, 2-hour long workouts a week or two, 20-minute workouts per week, put it in your calendar and treat it like any other appointment. If you’re able to fulfill your obligations to your family, your job, and your friends, then you should be able to do the same for yourself.
STRIVE FOR CONSISTENCY, NOT PERFECTION
The schedule that you create is what you will hold yourself accountable to. No matter what your long-term goal is, your short-term goal should be to develop a consistent pattern of showing up. If you’ve set a realistic schedule, then this shouldn’t be a problem. However, when too many workouts are being skipped it’s time to rethink what you can commit to and make the appropriate adjustments. Don’t think of this as a failure. Remember, you’re just striving for consistency, not perfection. Once your workouts have become a regular part of your week, more workouts can always be added later.
TEST THINGS OUT
Research has shown that untrained or deconditioned subjects will see improvements in strength and endurance by doing just about anything. Because you’re starting from zero your body will be highly adaptable to whatever you make it do. This is great. Any activity is a good activity. Try that yoga class. Try that workout DVD. Go on that run. Stick to your schedule and try anything and everything. You can use this time to discover different types of training, and to help you find what type of exercise you like.
I know you’re excited to get back into the swing of things, but be careful. Whatever you do will be more than the nothing you’ve been doing. Don’t do sprints. Don’t try to lift heavy weights. Just keep it manageable. You’d be amazed by how sore you can get from very little work in the beginning. You’re not going to reach your goal any faster by killing yourself right out of the gate.
Try to walk away from each workout ready to tackle the next. You’re not only developing your body through exercise, you’re developing a relationship WITH exercise. Make it something you look forward to. You can get crazy later. For instance, if you’re goal is to run a marathon, but you haven’t run in awhile, or ever, I’d recommend starting with a 5k running program. Something like the Couch to 5k program is an easy place to start.
And, most importantly…
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
I know starting over can be discouraging, and setting some distance goal can feel like a daunting task. Right now, you’re not able to do what you used to do, but don’t worry about that. The fascinating fact about the human body is its ability to adapt and change, both mentally and physically.
We are born with the capacity to change ourselves. If you stick with it, you’re body will change. It’s physiology. You can run faster. You can become stronger. It will take some work, but it can and it will happen.
As you embark on this journey towards a better stronger you, I want to remind you that no matter what happens, whether you succeed or fail with your goals, you are capable of accomplishing incredible things. All you have to do is believe in yourself.
Rob Medsger is a personal trainer and owner of 3Strong Fitness in San Ramon, CA. He holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology, is a Crossfit Level 1 Coach, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Over the years Rob has participated in various obstacles races including Spartan Race and Tough Mudders, kettlebell lifting competitions, trail races, and even a physique competition.
Some of his more memorable experiences include: swimming through a frigid pond admiring geese flying in the distance while participating in the 24-hour World’s Toughest Mudder in New Jersey……in the middle of December; doing fireman’s carries at the end of a 13.5 hour long GORUCK Challenge in San Francisco; and being crippled by blisters after completing a marathon in the desert of New Mexico, while carrying a 50lb rucksack (it was for charity).
When he’s not making regrettable decisions, Rob and his dog Riley can be found at 3Strong Fitness helping his clients train for their next adventure.
You can learn more about Rob at 3Strong Fitness
Like what you’re reading? How about signing up for our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss our newest posts.