It’s one thing to know and understand the benefits of increased physical activity, but it’s another thing entirely to find the motivation to get started. When it comes to starting any sort of new workout routine or increasing your current routine, it’s always a good idea to run it by your primary care provider to make sure it fits with your personal goals and abilities.
Once you’ve got clearance from your provider, there are a few things to take into consideration to help you get started:
Determine the Where
You’ll need somewhere to do your workouts. Many people find structure, camaraderie, and equipment at a local gym, but that’s certainly not the only option! There are a number of online, at-home workout programs that are worth checking out, and local parks or nature trails could also be options depending on your location. Think about what’s realistic for you and try to remain flexible. If transportation to the gym is a barrier for you, consider some at-home workouts.
Determine the When
Saying you’ll work out on Tuesday isn’t as powerful as saying, “I’ll go to the gym on Tuesday at 6 am before work for 30 minutes.” Think about what days of the week and times of day are most realistic for you to fit in your workouts. Also, think about how long you anticipate your workout to last. Be as specific as you can with this, but don’t be afraid to adjust this as you’re getting started until you find the pattern that works best for your lifestyle.
A general goal is to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. If that sounds like way too much to get started, set a smaller goal that you can build on as you get more accustomed to doing regular exercise.
Choose Your Program and Find Resources
Figure out what type of exercise you want to do. It can be a good idea to aim for some cardio as well as some strength training, but all exercise is valuable! Swimming, hiking, boxing, yoga, and high intensity interval training are just some of the options you could consider. If one type of exercise isn’t working for you, switch it up and try something new!
There are so many online resources that you can use to get started, but some good options to check out are:
Core Exercise Solutions for postpartum recovery
A very simple yet effective routine to consider doing to get started or on days when you just need a quick, no equipment option is Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM) workouts. To do this, all you need to do is choose a series of exercises, such as 15 push-ups, 20 body weight squats, 20 alternating lunges, and a 30-second plank (or whatever exercises work for you). Set your timer for one-minute intervals and try to complete each exercise in that minute. The goal is to complete that exercise as quickly as possible to allow yourself more rest before the timer goes off and it’s time to start your next exercise. If you repeated this five times, you’d have a quick 20-minute workout!
If you aren’t comfortable getting started on your own and would prefer some more guidance, look into support from a personal trainer, physical therapist, or find an in-person exercise class.
Be as detailed and specific with your goal as possible to help with accountability. Rely on some of those SMART goals discussed in Chapter 1 - Section 5 for a powerful tool to improve motivation and internal accountability. Find an external accountability buddy for added support! Whether that’s a friend, family member, coworker, or even your dog, involving others in your goals can help to keep you on track with your goals. Consider looping in your NutriSense nutritionist as another layer of accountability!
Next: Goal Setting