1. Get a buddy!
I can’t stress this one enough – if you only take one tip away from this list, let it be this one! Having someone else cheering you on makes all the difference in the world and makes you more accountable for doing your workouts. My recommendation is that your gym buddy is someone whose fitness level is close to yours; doing workouts with someone who’s spent years in the gym can be really discouraging if you’re just starting out and can’t keep up.
2. Take it easy.
Not every workout has to be big and hard. Just getting into the gym and walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes can help get you into the routine and gets you moving! Doing a week of big workouts isn’t going to help in the long run if you don’t keep going. Start small, and you’ll be amazed at what your body can eventually do.
3. Make it fun!
There are so many fun fitness classes you can sign up for (Yes, even in Saint John!) Working out doesn’t seem like such a chore when you’re enjoying it. Try things like yoga, spin classes, Zumba, Aquafit or even join a sport! UNB Saint John even offers intramural sports every Wednesday from 8pm-10pm. Come out and try a fun new sport!
4. Find something that you actually enjoy.
There are so many ways to be active, and not all of them are for everyone. Personally, I hate using machines, but I LOVE bodyweight workouts. Find what works for YOU or you’ll keep putting off your workouts.
5. Eat appropriately.
A big part of working out is having enough energy to do the training. Now I’m not saying to go and change your whole diet right away because that’s never going to stick – start by changing little things! Stop getting fries as a side at the ‘caf’, and start introducing more fruits. Having the right fuel makes you feel less bloated (I know you’ve been using it as an excuse to not workout) and feel more energized! This is something I struggle with, but if I can do it you can too! (Look out for “Healthy Eating for Picky Eaters (People Like Me)”)
6. Try an online workout program.
Personal trainers put together great online workout resources. It’s like a third gym buddy; they’re great for people who are just getting started and aren’t really sure what they’re doing in the gym. Often these subscriptions come with a workout schedule for the week, video workouts for each day, helpful tips and tricks and sometimes even yummy recipes! My first experience with a workout program was with Way of Gray, which was really great! Check it out here.
7. Drink lots of water.
Staying hydrated is important. Let me say it again, staying hydrated is important. Workouts are tiring, and you can get dehydrated fast – drinking water helps you get your whole workout in (and helps you lose all that water weight). I know what it’s like, you fill a bottle and then forget it on your desk, or you forget to have one at all. Try keeping several bottles in the fridge so they’re cold and ready to go! You can also keep an empty bottle in your gym bag for the days that you leave the house in a hurry.
8. Take a break.
Yeah, it feels great knowing you’ve gone to the gym every day this week, but your body needs a break! Take a day off and give your muscles a rest, you deserve it!
9. Don’t get discouraged.
Taking too much time off from the gym can often break your fitness habit! I get it, life can get in the way, classes keep you busy, and work takes up all your spare time – but that shouldn’t stand between you and that summer bod you’ve always been dreaming of. After two weeks go by and you realize you haven’t gone to the gym, it’s hard to motivate yourself to get out of bed. But every day is a great day for self-care! It’s okay if these ‘fitness-breaks’ happen, but you can’t keep advancing if you let obstacles get you down.
10. Don’t be afraid of looking stupid.
The number one thing I HATE about fitness: I have a secret fear I’ll end up on one of those Instagram accounts where they film people doing something wrong at the gym. Here’s the thing, there’s nothing wrong with not knowing what you’re doing! Everyone’s been there – ask for help, look for tips and instructions online. Chances are someone will even stop you and give you some pointers. You’ve got to start somewhere, and hey you’ll just keep improving from here!