Before Your First Workout, Roadmap Your Fitness Journey For Greater Success
You’re raring to begin a new exercise program, but where to start? And how to maintain a good rhythm? Asking yourself the following questions will help you fine-tune your fitness strategy, and make getting fit not just an empty hope, but a real possibility.
What does “fit” mean for me?
You exercise because you have a vision of Fit You: the person you hope to become by working out. But who exactly is Fit You?
Whether you’re a gym-dodger or a gym-dominator, it’s important to create a personal definition of what “fit” means to you. That means really honing in on your personal fitness objectives. Think about these questions:
- Do I want to slim down or bulk up?
- Do I want to increase endurance/stamina or strength/speed?
- Is there a specific activity I want to perform better?
Fit for an Olympic athlete is not the same fit for an everyday desk jockey. Answering the above questions will help you make your objectives more concrete and personal, and will direct your research for the best programs and exercises to reach your personal objectives.
What program will I use to accomplish “fit”?
Once you have an idea of who Fit You is, then you’re going to be able to start building a personal program around how to progress towards that objective.
Research the techniques, routines and regimens that will push you towards your own definition of fit. While everybody can benefit from an invigorating, sweaty half-hour at the gym, that half-hour will be spent differently by each person depending on each person’s objectives.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What types of exercise do I enjoy?
- What kinds of workouts will help me reach my objective?
- What workouts will not help me reach that objective?
Get an idea of what to include in your exercise program before setting goals—you need to decide which elements make up your exercise routine before you can establish goals.
Where am I now compared to where I want to be? How can I measure my progress?
Getting to Fit You is so much easier when you understand Now You.
The journey from Now You to Fit You (or Fit You to Fitter You) is just that: a journey. To get from Point A to Point B, you need to get your bearings before beginning the journey. This means using fitness metrics to compare Now You with your glorious vision of Fit You.
One important non-performance metric is body fat percentage. Body fat percentage gives you insight into body composition and is a perfect metric for people whose objectives include slimming down and toning up. Body fat percentage is easily calculated at home with a tape measure and scale, or through a process such as the Kubex Styku Scan.
Weight can also be a valuable fitness metric, but it depends on the individual. Depending on the body type, working out can actually result in weight increase, since a certain volume of muscle will weigh 1.2 times greater than the same volume of fat.
Other metrics include time, reps, and max weight. There are even simple metrics such as the number of steps you get in each day or the number of times you go to the gym each week. Figuring out ways to measure how you’ve progressed compared to where you started will help give you continuous motivation to improve, and are the framework of achieving goals.
What are my goals?
Once you have decided on metrics and have an idea of where Now You stands, it’s time to set some goals. Your goals should be specific and focused on your program, which in turn is focused on your objectives.
Ask yourself, “How do my goals help me fulfill my program? How does my program help me achieve my objectives?”
Remember to set SMART goals:
- How specific are my goals?
- Is my goal measurable? (Remember to use your metrics.)
- Is my goal attainable?
- How relevant is my goal to my overall objective?
- What is the time-frame in which I hope to accomplish this goal?
Documenting your exercise metrics and fitness goals on a daily basis, or using an app to help you track your progress, will help you maintain a consistent rhythm and progress towards your objectives.
Is this sustainable?
Getting fit requires sacrifice. You’ve got to pay the price to make it to Fit You. Still, getting fit is not like taking out a loan—you can’t go to a bank and draw out the balance necessary to pay the price.
Yet people often treat fitness this way, which is why we have so many January gym-goers dropping off mid-February. In their excitement to get fit, people accrue life debt, meaning that they don’t factor in other life responsibilities when initiating their exercise plans, and these unfulfilled obligations start adding up. Your family needs time, your work needs time, your house needs time, etc. As a result, people end up accruing serious interest on their life debt, and eventually fall out of a rhythm.
Evaluate your program:
- Is this sustainable?
- Is this program leading me towards my objectives?
- Am I neglecting other important obligations?
- How can I manage my time better?
What stands in my way?
While a general dislike for exercise may be a reason why some people are out of shape, it isn’t the only reason. Failure to exercise can be caused by a variety of bad habits, negative experiences or mental blocks. When people experience these issues, they may not experience the results they’re hoping for with their fitness program—and they end up giving up.
Identifying what really keeps you from achieving your fitness objectives and then eliminating or overcoming these obstacles can mean the difference between Now You and Fit You. Ask yourself the following:
- Do I have bad eating habits that contribute to my lack of fitness?
- Do I have erratic sleeping patterns that keep me from finding time to exercise?
- Am I not well enough informed to have an effective exercise routine?
- Am I ashamed of my body type, and therefore avoid environments with fit people?
- What tasks do I give priority over my personal fitness, health and general well-being?
If you experience any of these issues, finding an appropriate solution, such as a more private exercise environment, interactive training videos or following a nutrition guide, is the best way to move forward.
When it really comes down to fitness, the whole process is a mind-game—to reach your objective, you need to constantly remind yourself of what you’re hoping to become. Having a clear, metrics-driven plan right from the beginning will help motivate you and get you back in a rhythm when you’re ready to give up on Fit You.