Exercise: Progress, Not Perfection (Where To Start and How to Stick To It)
Let’s just cut through the fluff and nonsense out there when it comes to working out, shall we? I mean, come on. We all have SO much going on in life, so when it comes to doing probably one of the most important things we can do (taking care of ourselves!) why do we make it so complicated?
To get in shape, no matter who you are or what stage of life you are in, you don’t need “things.” You don’t need new clothes, a gym membership, the latest protein powder or pre-work out. You don’t need to have certain workout experience or be at a particular fitness “level” (whatever that means). You just need to get started- take that first step or lift that first weight.
So for those of us who want to say goodbye to the overwhelm of working out,
how do we do it?
So you’re new to working out or have a new gym membership? Getting back into a routine after a long break? Start. Small. Don’t set yourself up for failure by telling yourself that you are going to do hour-long workouts six days a week. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else’s work out routine. Starting small increases your chances of following through, and following through will be encouraging and give you the motivation and momentum to keep going.
Go outside for a walk or jog (even just 20 minutes). Hike. Do some body weight exercises (push ups, squats, lunges, etc.) at the park while your kids play on the playground. Get a Groupon for a local class you want to try. Do a youtube workout in your living room. There are dozens of days just to start, and starting is sometime s the hardest part.
People say that it takes a village to raise kids, and I think it applies to fitness too. Sometimes when we are starting on a new fitness journey, it can feel daunting, but bringing in our village can make an enormous difference in our success. Whether it is a spouse, friend, personal trainer (in person or someone like me who trains online!), your blog readers— whoever it is— seek accountability from someone in your life to get the extra push, help, or tough love you need.
Track your progress.
I tell my clients this from the very beginning. I know it’s intimidating, and not something most of us would ever enjoy, but take progress pictures. Write down your weight and measurements. Then do it again in 3 or 4 weeks. Then 3 or 4 weeks after that. Write down how many pushups or squats you can do or how much weight you can lift, then update it later. Why? Numbers on a scale don’t tell your whole story. But seeing your body change through measurements and photos is incredibly inspirational, even if you never share those pictures or numbers with anyone.
So in the name of simplicity, let’s all step back and approach working out differently with no guilt and no drama. Start small. Find someone to help keep you accountable. Track (and celebrate) your progress and hard work.
There is beauty and freedom that comes when we take care of ourselves physically without guilt or strict schedules or regimens or obsession with food. Being strong and fit (whatever that looks like for each of us-- because our bodies are all different!) takes simple, every-day decisions that are rarely glamorous or attractive or alluring. It's the tough in-the-moment choices that drive us forward (or stall us). It’s the little decisions day in and day out that results in the greatest progress.
Living a healthy and active lifestyle doesn't have to be complicated. You just have to take the first step.
After all, it’s about progress, not perfection.
Are you tired of excuses? Of dieting? Of wanting to feel strong, but not knowing how to get there? Join my group training program (all online!) here: bit.ly/thebelletribe or check out my one-on-one training programs here: www.bellefitnessandnutrition.com/programs. Still not sure what is best for you? Hop on a call with me for 20 minutes! Sign up here: Schedule Appointment