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How to Start Working Out Again

Published:
March 25, 2024
March 18, 2024
Wondering how to get back into working out? Check out this article for tips that could help you reach your fitness goals.

Why do you work out? I took this question to my Instagram community recently because I was curious about the personal reasons that motivate people to exercise. Here were some of the most common answers I received: 

“The one time of day I can feel confident about my body.”

“For my mental health.”

“Stress relief.”

“To help my future — my older self will be able to live an independent life.”

“I have always struggled with body image, so I used to see exercise as a punishment. I now see it as a long-term commitment to loving my body and taking care of my health — both physically and mentally.”

“I think it’s amazing to see what my body is capable of.”

We can likely all relate to one or a multitude of these. Because we all have a goal to achieve when we decide to get our heart rates above the norm. So if you’re stuck in a workout rut, here are some tips that helped me show up for myself better than I have in my lifetime. 

Know your “why”

What’s your “why” for getting back to exercising? Do you want to lose weight or gain it to build muscle mass? Aiming to be a healthier version of yourself? Desiring some “me” time for just one hour a day, if that? Loving your body in every mirror you cross? Supporting your mental health? Just want to feel better in your body?

For me, I promised myself I’d be in the best shape of my life a year after college; I wanted to be stronger and love what I saw in my bedroom and bathroom mirrors. Sadly, life got in the way and that goal didn’t happen, but I kept remembering it had been a vision of mine. Then I thought, What’s stopping me from being the best I can be?



Move your body

I first bought an Apple Watch to track my workouts. That itself was enough motivation for me to get my butt in gear. So I started doing a number of things to switch it up. Went for long outdoor mental health walks. Biked around nearby neighborhoods. Lifted weights. Did 30-minute workouts in my parents’ front yard. Practiced my soccer skills, suicide sprints, and agility ladder drills. Anything for me to break a sweat. 

You don’t even need a gym to start working out again. You can do Pilates in your yard, yoga in your living room, ride your bike, or any variety of at-home workouts — just do enough to get your heart pumping.

Here’s a tip: blast music in your ears and you’ll be in your own world. Put those headphones on, and the world around you turns off. Do one more rep. Run to the beat. Focus on your breathing. Don’t give up until you succeed in your goal. Thirty minute walk? Great, five minutes to go. Biking two miles? Push through those pedals. An hour-long yoga session? Commit the entire time to have some clarity in your mind.

This is your time. Your time to focus on yourself — not your insecurities, work, fears, doubts, stress-related events, worries, drama, etc. 

And if I can’t convince you to move your body, maybe Queen Bey or Sia can. 

Make it a habit

According to James Clear, author of New York Times bestseller Atomic Habits, “On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact,” and that’s backed up by science. You may be thinking that two months is a long time before your brain automatically urges you to exercise — until you realize two months fly by. “How is it already August? I swear July lasted a week.” “Wow, it’s already fall?! Summer flashed before my eyes!” 

I have been on a two-year journey already with my workout plan. And I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and the way I’ve been putting myself first. Yes, there are days I don’t feel like working out, but I remember that I have never had a bad workout. Even if it lasts fifteen minutes, I moved my body. And I get to move my body — my body is capable of so many things! So ladies and gents, let’s adopt that “I get to” mentality — approach every workout as I get to work out, not I have to work out. 

Now, you’ll find me in one of my town’s local gyms six times a week. 

See the small changes become big

You’ll see your body and mind become better as time progresses. Did the kink in your back go away after you started going for daily walks? Can you finish that intermediate class where you started as a beginner? Are you breathing better now than you did when you first started running or pumping iron? Can you lift up your kid, niece, or nephew with ease as they continue to grow up? Can you carry all your groceries into your home at once and feel a sense of victory? Does your mind somehow feel stronger? Do you sleep better at night? Does your body feel better? And if you want to criticize your body, does your mind say, “Give yourself grace”? These are all small victories that will add up in the end. 

You’ll also catch yourself looking in the mirror occasionally to notice any changes to your body. I’ve noticed that I can see definition in my legs. My broad shoulders are shaping up and my posture has become better whenever I sit in a chair or when I walk. I am also more confident and comfortable in my skin. But it did take time.

Since starting my fitness journey, I recite this every night while hugging and talking to my body: “Thank you for carrying me through life. Thank you for being uniquely you. You are healthy, you are beautiful, and you are loved. Thank you for being my temple. Thank you for loving me everyday, especially on the days I did not love you back.” Try to say this every day until you believe it.

Your body has shown you love by keeping you alive every day. It’s time you showed it some love in return. How will you show your home the affection it deserves?

Get it done

Yesterday you said tomorrow. — Nike

So why not start now? What’s stopping you? You see fitness videos on social media and how human beings have turned their lives around for the better. Do you think to yourself, “Wow, I wish I was as committed as them.” But picture this — they were in your shoes too, wanting to change. Imagine committing to a fitness routine and where you could be within a year’s time. 

And always remember, you’re working out for your mental and physical health. No one else’s. So start showing up for yourself, get after it, and make it happen.

Creators:
Makaela Douglas
Published:
March 25, 2024
March 18, 2024
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