Ready for a better body? Starting an exercise plan is a huge first step, so well done! Here’s how to ease into exercise, stay focused, and deal with set backs – a sexy new body is just waiting for you!
1. Be Realistic
Be realistic about your abilities. If you haven’t worked out in years, start with a manageable goal, like 20 minutes of walking or yoga twice a week for two weeks. When you’re ready to progress, either bump your number of workouts to three a week or increase their length to 25 or 30 minutes—but don’t try both at the same time. Taking on too much too soon can leave you achy and discouraged.
If your new cardio workout still leaves you gasping for air, don’t be afraid to slow your pace – you should be slightly breathless but able to talk. You’ll be more likely to follow your program if you exercise at a comfortable level.
2. Take Breaks
Missed a workout? Don’t worry, just pick up as soon as you can. Don’t let one bad day at work, the rain, or just feeling lazy throw you off your exercise plan – you’ll feel so much better if you get back on course.
3. Splurge — Then Get Up and Move
One night on the couch with a packet of Tim Tams won’t doom your weight loss unless you let guilt keep you off track. Instead of giving up when a celebratory dinner with friends sends your calorie count through the roof, suggest a post=meal stroll or dancing. Or go for a cycle first thing the next morning. Realise that you can have your cake, eat it, then burn it off.
4. Keep an Activity Log
Lack of time is the number one reason we struggle to exercise. So the best way to find time to exercise is to keep an activity log. Keep a log of everything you do for 3 days, then find ways to sneak in activity. Time in front of the TV can double as a stretching session.
5. Plan Your Meals
To avoid the munchies after exercising (and eating back the calories you just burned), try to schedule workouts so that you have a meal within an hour afterward. Or save part of an earlier meal to eat during that time. Snacks combining carbohydrates and protein — like a low-fat muesli bar and glass of milk, or a tub of yoghurt — are best to refuel muscles and keep you from feeling ravenous later on.
6. Stay On Track
Research has found that about half of new exercisers quit in the first few months. But support, either one-on-one or in a group, can keep your momentum going. If you struggle with exercise, try finding (or even forming) a walking group at work, with your mother’s group or with your friends. If you’re goal-focused, signing up for an event, like walking a half or full marathon, can be a fantastic goal to keep you on track.