While we all love a night of binge-watching Netflix now and then, too many evenings in front of the screen can zap your energy and put a wrench in your workout plans. Here, Forte Fitness Managing Partner Kyle Johnston shares his advice on getting off the couch and into a sustainable fitness routine.
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Find Your Why
Since it’s not easy to turn from couch potato to gym hustler, start by asking yourself why you want to get fit – and then use this as healthy motivation. Think about the different ways exercise will improve your health and well-being in the short-term and perhaps even lengthen your lifespan in the long-term. This can give you the initial wherewithal needed to get up and get out.
Explore Your Options
Research is key if you want to find an exercise regime you’ll stick to, Johnston advises. “Look around until you find something you feel is a fit, whether that’s a gym, personal training sessions, or group classes,” he says. Search online, stop by different gyms, or talk with a pro to narrow down the workouts you’ll feel most comfortable with. Think about which environment would best encourage you to stay active even when you don’t feel like it. “Some people do better with more accountability and one-on-one attention, while others prefer the social environment of a group class,” Johnston says.
As you’re exploring which settings are best for you, think about any limitations you may have that could interfere with your ability to sustain a particular type of workout. “You definitely want to take into consideration your current fitness level,” says Johnston. “Other important factors are prior surgeries, current injuries, chronic pains, medications, and your exercise history.”
Be careful that you don’t overdo it at the get-go. If you push too hard when you’re not yet accustomed to regular physical activity, you’ll be more likely to burn out right away. Johnston suggests beginning with the basics. Find a workout that mimics the movements of everyday life (e.g., pushes, pulls, bends, and flexes) and then scale the intensity of it to your current fitness level. As you build up more stamina, you can increase the workout’s difficulty.
Once you’ve managed to successfully start a workout routine, keep it up! Use your momentum from the last session to propel you into the next one. There is a saying among exercise professionals that “energy begets energy” – regular exercise can give you the motivation you need to keep exercising in the months to come. “Maintaining consistency is crucial,” says Johnston. “Set a goal to work out 150 minutes a week. That’s a little over 20 minutes a day. It’s attainable, it’s achievable, and when you look back, you’ll see progress, you’ll feel better, and you’ll have more energy.”