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How to Start a Fitness Program and Stick to it
If you've resolved to get fit this year, one of the best ways to start is by assessing your current fitness level so you can measure progress. Once you know where you stand, you can go about setting goals and designing your fitness program.
Determine Where to Start
For example, you can calculate your BMI (body mass index) or learn the ideal weight for your body type by asking your doctor. A BMI of 30 and over defines obesity, a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers. However, it’s not always an accurate measurement since it’s determined by weight vs height. In some instances, athletes who weigh more than their counterparts because of their muscle mass can have a high BMI.
The important thing is to start with some sort of goal, whether it’s lowering your BMI, achieving a certain weight, or increasing muscle tone. Having clear goals can help you monitor progress.
Plan Ahead and Be Prepared
Vague statements such as, “I will do more exercise” don’t work. When it comes to fitness, answer the “where, why, how, with whom, and when.” Decide where you’ll do your workout, why you’re doing it, how you’re going to do it, if you’ll be working out with a partner, and an exact time to start your workout.
If healthy eating is part of your overall fitness plan, plan ahead by grocery shopping regularly, meal planning, and meal prepping. Don’t leave it to chance or you could find yourself stopping at the nearest fast food restaurant or giving in to temptation because you don’t have healthy choices on hand.
Choose Your Words Carefully
If there are certain terms that discourage you in your fitness journey, change your vocabulary. For example, if you dread the idea of going on a diet, tell yourself you’re changing your way of eating or altering your meal plan. If thinking about exercising makes you want to stay on the couch, tell yourself you’re going to burn calories or get fit instead.
Make Sure You Have Alternatives
While you should plan where you’re going to exercise, sometimes circumstances don’t make it possible. For example, you were going to go for a jog outside, but it’s raining or too hot to do so safely. If you don’t have an alternative option, you may decide to just put off exercising for another day.
Have other options in mind like dancing, indoor exercise equipment, or watching an online workout video.
Recruit Your Cheerleaders
Enlist support from family, friends, and co-workers, especially if they’re also doing a fitness program. Avoid people who try to sabotage you. And be your own cheerleader by rewarding yourself with something special when you meet your goal (just make sure it’s not something unhealthy!).