I get this question or something similar just about every day. People tag me all over social media when someone asks about starting a weight loss plan or getting back in the gym, so I figured I’d write a helpful checklist for you.
I know how hard it can be to start on your fitness journey after being away from it for awhile, so I’m going to break down some real simple things to think about as you get back into the swing of things.
This is a list I wish I had when I was struggling to find my way years ago. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and my goal is to help you avoid doing the same thing.
Ready to start? Let’s go!
- Know your why, but make it matter – having abs isn’t going to make you happy. Being alive for your kids will. Make your why count
- Have an objective goal (what you want to achieve) but focus more on behavior goals (daily habits).
- Write down your goals – seriously this matters.
- Focus first on FEELING better, not looking better. Looking better takes time, but feeling incredible can happen quickly.
- Set up an accountability system. Hiring a coach, having a workout partner, or support partner can be a huge difference maker.
- Don’t expect overnight success. Sure, you might get some fast results, but if you don’t, just keep pushing forward.
- Focus on progress, not perfection!
- There is no magical pill. Repeat that 10x.
- Remind yourself daily that consistent exercise and good nutrition will be the ONLY thing that ever truly works.
- You don’t need to hit the gym to start. You can get a lot done at home or at a park nearby.
- you enjoy things like yoga, jogging, or riding a bike – do them!
- Need some ideas? Here’s one: Start your workout routine with just a daily walk in the morning (or at night).
- Next add 3-4 resistance training workouts with weights, bands, or bodyweight.
- Full body workouts 2-3 times a week also work great for those who are super busy.
- Remember, the routines that you read about the fitness models doing are usually unrealistic for the average person. That fitness model’s job is to workout each day. I would hope they have time to train since that’s their main source of income!
- Schedule your workouts in your calendar each week.
- If you think you have zero time to workout, try working out while you do other things. For example, most of us are working during the day. Try this fun “game” with yourself. 3 times a week try and see how many push-ups and squats you can do during work hours without it affecting your work. Trust me – it s an amazing game.
- Once you’ve been consistent with a basic routine, feel free to add in additional workouts if time permits.
- Always include recovery days no matter how advanced you get.
- Recovery days do not mean laying around on the couch and eating Nachos all day while watching Breaking Bad reruns on Netflix.
- Stay active even on days when you don’t train. Take walks, go hiking, do some stretching and mobility work.
- If you’re super short on time and want a challenging workout that will boost your metabolism try incorporating metabolic cardio – these are higher intensity workouts that will push you to your limit in a very short period of time.
- You don’t need to count calories to lose weight, however it’s a good skill to learn to have in your toolbox.
- Your nutrition should be based around lean proteins, veggies, some fruits, healthy fats and carbohydrate sources that work well with your body.
- A great place to start if you have a lot of bodyfat to lose is to go low-carb, high-fat when first starting out. This will help improve your body’s ability to handle carbs later on when you reintroduce them.
- Start by making a list of healthy food that you enjoy eating and that makes you feel great.
- Never include foods that make you feel lethargic or crappy – even if someone tells you to eat it. For me that was oatmeal. I’d eat it and immediately feel like death. Everyone swore by it, but I couldn’t stomach it.
- Fill up half your plate with green veggies or salad (keep the dressing and butter on the side). Give ¼ of your plate to protein and ¼ of your plate to healthy fats and you’re good to go as a starting point. Eventually you can replace a little bit of the plate with some carbs and maybe some additional healthy fats.
- Drink water, tea and coffee. Liquid calories are such a pain in the butt and they’ll kill your progress QUICKLY. Avoid them!
- Once a week enjoy a FUN meal (not a Cheat Meal). The word CHEAT is so negative and it builds an unhealthy relationship with food. Think about it like this. Your spouse says go out with your friends and have FUN! She/he doesn’t say Go CHEAT right? Thought so. So enjoy a reasonable meal. Share an appetizer, dinner and share a dessert with a beer or glass of wine sounds about right.
- Prepare food in advance and wipe out all the trigger food in your house. Trigger foods are foods that you will immediately eat on sight! For me it’s peanut butter and oatmeal raisin cookies. I can’t be around them!
- Measure your progress by measuring your body parts and taking pictures. Do not rely on the scale for at least the first 3-6 months. The scale will love you one day and hate you the next so avoid it.
- Health and fitness is never owned. It’s rented and rent is due daily. Being fit, lean and healthy is never going to be super easy, but it will become easier and more enjoyable as you progress. You will eventually fall in love with the process and learn to love the benefits you get from working out. Building habits and routines take time, but the journey is well worth it!
If you need additional help in starting your fitness journey – please reach out to me at [email protected]