How to Start a New Fitness Routine and Stick to It
1. Make it a Non Negotiable
Think of it like brushing your teeth or a meeting for work. Something that you absolutely can’t just blow off for no reason. I’m talking about not giving yourself the chance to say, “I’m too tired” or “I just don’t feel like it” or “today was a bad day so I’ll skip it.”
Do not allow yourself the time to give ANY excuses. Just get it done.
The reason I say this is because, even when the excuse may feel valid, that day off quickly turns into 2, which turns into 3, which turns into you giving up on your commitment.
They say it takes about a month to make something a habit.
Keep going until it’s just a non negotiable part of your routine and you will ensure long term progress and results.
2. Consider Morning Workouts
I know that not everyone is a morning person. For some, the idea of getting up before work to go to the gym is straight up torture… or so you might think right now. Hear me out.
The earlier in the day you get your workout done, the less likely you are to worm your way out of going.
If you go first thing in the morning, you get it done before the stresses of the day take over. You’ve already fulfilled your commitment before things get crazy at work and you end up stating late. You go before you feel too exhausted from the kids. You go before the thought enters your mind that all you want to do when you get home after a long day is plop down on the couch and watch a little TV.
Plus, think of the benefits you’ll get from starting your day this way! You will start your work day with a clear head, more energy, a calm demeanor, and those endorphins making your mood just a little brighter. It’s win win if you ask me.
3. Have a Contingency Plan
I recommend getting a couple of sets of weights for home as well as a pack of resistance bands. This means absolutely zero excuses.
Even if it’s storming outside, you can get your workout in. Even if you’re traveling for work, you can stuff your bands in your suitcase. You don't need a gym to break a sweat and work towards your goals.
4. Be Realistic About Time Commitments and Plan Your Training Split Accordingly
Your training split needs to reflect how many days each week you plan to work out. This is what will create optimal results.
Be honest with yourself about your time availability. If you had to bet money on it, how many days each week do you think you could truly stick to? 3? Totally fine! Use a total body split. 4? Try a push pull split. 5? Push, pull, legs. And so on.
Training splits are important because they ensure you are working all muscle groups frequently enough to see results while also giving each enough recovery time before working them again. You should give a muscle 48 hours recovery time before working that same muscle again. Hence, why you need to establish your training frequency from the get go and stick to it!
5. Take Pictures Once a Week
Taking progress pictures is SO underrated. My clients are required to step on the scale AND take pictures once a week. The scale is a good way to measure progress BUT muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore, you could make significant changes in body composition without seeing the scale move at all.
Taking pictures will help you keep track of changes in body composition that may not show up on the scale. Make sure to take progress pictures in the same spot each week and try to wear the same thing each time. You want to limit the variables so that you can really see the changes in your physique and know that they’re not just due to different lighting or a different outfit.
6. Find an Accountability Partner
This is perhaps the most important step of all. You need someone to check in with and ensure you’re staying on track. Even if you have the world’s best fitness plan, it means nothing if you can’t stick to it.
This is why, even now, I STILL have a coach and MY COACH STILL has a coach. Despite having all of the knowledge to create a fitness plan for ourselves, having the accountability of checking in with someone else and getting tough love when it’s needed is EVERYTHING.
If you’re truly serious about reaching your fitness goals, I highly recommend investing in a coach as soon as possible. It is hands down the fastest way to get to your goals.
7. Write Down Your Why Somewhere You Can Look at It Every Day
When I get on the phone with a potential client, one of the first questions I ask is “Why is this important to you?”
There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s just important that you think about it and identify the answer for yourself. This will be your driver as you work towards your goals.
This will keep you going when motivation is low... which WILL happen sometimes. When you think about skipping the gym or veering off your diet, this is what’s going to keep you on track. Think hard about it and write down your answer somewhere that you can look at it every single morning.
8. Ensure You Have a Proper Recovery Routine in Place (BCAAs, protein, sleep, foam rolling, warm ups and cool downs)
I talk more about warm ups and cool downs HERE. It’s vital to create a routine around proper recovery. The more you deal with long term muscle soreness, the more likely you are to give up on your routine.
One extra rest day turns into two which turns into three which turns into you quitting. Make sure you’re starting each workout with some light walking and dynamic stretching. End your session with some static stretching and foam rolling.
I suggest foam rolling as frequently as possible. This process is going to help you remove any knots you may have and keep your muscles in proper balance. I also recommend drinking BCAAs pre or intra workout to assist with muscle recovery.
9. Shift Your Perspective from I HAVE to Workout to I GET to Workout
Mindset is so important for good health and physical fitness. I dive deeper into a healthy fitness mindset HERE.
Focus on shifting your mindset from exercise as an obligation to exercise as a privilege. Feel grateful that you are able bodied and can enjoy working out! Not everyone has this opportunity. Feel grateful for your health. Look at this time as self care and as your play time! The way you perceive exercise will have a huge effect on your attitude and overall ability to commit to your plan.
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