Swimsuit season is just around the corner if you’re like me and live in what was recently the frozen tundra. It’s Kirbie today and I thought we should have a little chat about getting into a good workout habit. Working out is not only good for your body and improving how you look on the outside, but it has benefits to your mind as well.

Set a time of day

I have found that the best workout routine I ever had was just that – a routine. Not in the sense of doing 50 sit-ups followed by 30 jumping jacks, but routine meaning every day when I came home from work, I got into my workout clothes straight out of my work clothes and headed off to the gym. It became part of my day. I was even able to tweak my work schedule a bit so that I got home a little earlier, allowing me to grab a shower and still get dinner going at a reasonable hour.

Get a buddy

Working out, especially in the beginning, is hard work, and it’s easy to say “I’m going to skip it today, I’m tired.” If, however, you ask a friend to start working out with you, they’re more likely to cheer you on, and you’re more likely to keep working out to help them stay encouraged. It also gives you someone to talk to while you’re working out and someone to share your aches and pains.

Tell someone

Have someone you trust to hold you accountable for your workout. This person should be someone who will hold your feet to the fire and ask you periodically how you’re doing. This can be really beneficial when you start to hit a wall. Make sure to tell this person that you expect them to be a little hard you when you need it. That’s what friends are for!

Start slow

If you haven’t worked out in a while, or, well – ever, be sure to start slow. Your first few workouts may only be 10 minutes long, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you’re doing something, and something is always better than nothing. It may be that you can only walk to the mailbox and back – that’s okay. Be sure to increment up slowly. Every few days, add a minute or two. Once you hit maybe 20 minutes, increase the intensity of your workout, instead of the time. Either add some incline to your treadmill or some sort of pressure to the machine you’re using. After you increase that for a while, go back to adding time.

Get a checkup

This should be the first tip, but that’s okay. Make sure to get clearance from your MD before you begin a new workout, especially if you have health issues or have had joint issues in the past. They will give you some ideas of where you should start and may be able to provide you with some dietary advice as well.

Let yourself off of the hook

You should always be driving to do the best workout you can, but some days, it’s just not happening. You may get 15 or 20 minutes in and just be wiped out. Wind down and wrap it up. It’s not worth forcing it. Your body may be trying to tell you something and it pays to listen. Tomorrow is another day and you will be back at it.

Drink lots of water

Take water with you to the gym. If you’re doing an outdoor workout and it’s hot, freeze a water bottle ahead of time and take that with you. It will melt as you go along and it will stay cold. Trust me, by the time you’re done, it’ll be empty! The important thing is to stay hydrated, otherwise you’ll run out of gas before you’re done. You should also be well hydrated before you go to the gym, and you should drink more when you get home.

Set some goals

Spend your first few days trying out different routines or machines, then go home and set some goals. If you have decided that the elliptical is your machine, make a plan for increasing your time and effort. Set a goal for getting from 10 minutes to 20, then from 20 to 30. How many days will it take you? Be reasonable but not too easy on yourself. Don’t forget to account for increasing intensity – build that in as well. This isn’t about setting weight loss goals, it’s about setting goals on the machine. The bonus is that you’ll lose weight and shed some of the flabby stuff we all hate.

Change things up from time to time

Even if you prefer the elliptical, you might think about using a different machine every now and then. Maybe once a week, use the bike instead. Another great workout option is to do a machine every other day and fill in with weight lifting on the off days. This is actually great for your bone structure and helps to prevent osteoarthritis. If you find that you plateau with your weight loss, this can be a great way to shake things up.

Get good shoes and take care of them

You don’t need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, but you will definitely thank yourself if you get a good pair of shoes. Ask someone at the shoe store for help if you’re not sure what to get. There are now shoes for any activity you want to do, so choose wisely. Try them on, walk around in them for a few minutes and make sure they will feel good on you while you’re working out. Once you have those shoes, take good care of them, and replace about every 3 months. Never wash sneakers. Spot clean them, take out the insoles and wash them, and wash the laces separately – all can be done in your kitchen sink.

Final thoughts

I find getting into a workout routine to be very difficult. It takes a massive amount of will power to stick with it, but if you can manage to force yourself for a week or two, you’ll become ‘addicted’ to the endorphins that are produced and you’ll find yourself wanting to work out! I promise!! I know you don’t believe me, but it’s true. Try it for a few weeks and you will see!

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