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How to Start an Exercise Plan

September 24, 2017 | Categories:

If the only workout you’ve done over the past few weeks is beating yourself up for being lazy, it’s time to forgive and move on. We asked weight loss experts and personal trainers for their best advice on how to start exercising again after a lull. Here’s how to get up, establish a fitness routine, and stay motivated long past waning New Year’s resolutions.

1. Focus on what you love about yourself Right Now.

People often focus on their fitness goals—a certain dress size, weight, or athletic achievement, for instance—without appreciating where their bodies are now, says Jonny Straws, a certified personal trainer based in Orange County, Calif. Rather than starting your fitness and health journey obsessing about so-called “problem areas,” begin from a positive perspective. Write a list that includes at least “Five things I really like about myself right now,” Straws suggests. “It’s important that people love themselves now for who they are and not for what they want to become, because sometimes they’ll reach their goal and still not appreciate themselves when they’re at their finish line,” he says.

2. Take some selfies.

In order to accurately track your progress, it’s helpful to identify your starting point and then define your goal. Straws suggests taking measurements of your body and some photos so you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come. Throw on a sports bra and shorts (or a bathing suit or whatever you feel comfortable using), then take a video with your smart phone to capture your body from all angles. You can turn the video into still photos by taking screen shots. Do this every two to four weeks to track your progress, Straws says. You might also want use a tape measure and track measurements in your biceps, waist, hips, bust, and thigh areas so you can see you’re losing inches, even on weeks when it seems the scale hasn’t budged.

3. Start small.

So you haven’t lifted a weight since the week before Halloween? Give yourself a break. “People want to go back to where they were with their fitness a few months ago, but they can’t,” says Liz Josefsberg, CPT, a weight loss expert who worked several years as the director of brand advocacy for Weight Watchers. The first week you’re easing back into exercising, start small. Know that any movement is good movement. Commit to doing 10 minutes of an exercise video or walking for exercise three days this week. “This will help you establish behaviors and create the habit you want to have in place,” she says.

4. Plan Out Your Mornings.

Starting a morning workout routine is just like establishing any other new habit: It requires some plain-old hard work and dedication. Try these tips from Josefsberg to make it stick: Prep your coffeemaker to go off tomorrow morning when you wake up, pack your lunch the night before or ask your partner to help out with making lunches for the family, decide which workout DVD or routine you’re going to do the next morning, lay out the work clothes you’ll wear and get them ready the evening before, and consider buying dry shampoo so you can save time in the shower before you start your workday. Look at each week ahead of time and plan exercise accordingly. If you have an early-morning meeting, be realistic and understand that you probably won’t work out that day. Advance prepping and planning can eliminate decisions about your workout, clothes, or what you’re eating that day—freeing up time to actually exercise.

Read the full article on RealSimple.com.

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