The most important thing you can do before starting a new fitness program is to determine why you want to start in the first place. This will in turn help you to streamline your goals and help keep you on the path to change and success.
When determining why ask yourself these questions; go ahead, grab your journal or some paper and write down the answers:
Who am I starting this program for?
No matter what name you put down on the paper just remember to also write down yours! You can want to do it for your kids, future family or to support a spouse, but ultimately YOU must want it for yourself too. This can give you a sense of accountability when doing it to set an example or support for others, however, if it is just for you, that is great too!
What am I hoping to get out of this long term?
There needs to be a bigger picture, your goals should be specific but your why can be broader. When there is a grasp on what the big picture is you will be able to make smaller more attainable goals that will get you to that overall umbrellaing objective.
Being to specific with your why can make it hard to create the goals needed to achieve everything. Keep it simple and keep it positive!
Is it a sustainable program? (meaning will I stick to it for longer than a month?)
When the first month is over are you going to want to keep getting up and doing it? This is the hardest pill for people to swallow. Many think that this will be the program, this will be the meal plan that will get me where I want to be. However, you must make sure you will want to be progressing the program you are doing for months to come. Exercise and diet hopping, not having a schedule or the education of food won’t give you results; you must have a plan and be willing to stick to it.
Your why is yours alone, between you and your heart! Other people and their reasons for doing a program should not influence why you are doing yours. Every person is unique and thinks so drastically different that we should never compare our whys. It is also important to remember that just because a program or eating style worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Another bit of advice is taking the time to sit and write out your why on a sticky note and placing it somewhere you will see it every day! Places like your bedroom or bathroom mirror, on the dash of your car, even making it your phone backdrop! This can be especially beneficial on the hard days, the days where you want to quit, even during the times you are not seeing as much progress as you would like. Remember nobody quits after a good day!
Your why can always change too! Don’t feel like you HAVE to always be using the same one or feel like you have to have only one! You should and can have multiple! I feel that 3 is a reasonable amount and that an individual can manage that number without feeling overwhelmed. Things like, feeling more confident, having more muscle definition, having more energy, or being able to keep up with my children are all common whys I have heard before and think are great!
If you don’t know where to start, then seeking a professional is wise. Asking someone who can help guide, educate, and support you along your journey! Personal trainers are a great start for fitness journeys (anywhere from beginners to advanced athletes), and nutrition coaches are helpful to educate and navigate through the world of nutrition! Asking for help from someone who knows the ins and outs and what is successful and not will ensure you are getting the right information.
Just remember, you wouldn’t ask your plumber to be your mechanic so asking someone with no knowledge of nutrition or fitness how to achieve your goals is not going to get you very far! Utilized the skills of professionals! We spent a lot of time in school and continuing education to be able to do what we do and guess what… we love it!
As always, keep it simple. Be Fit. Be Well.