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  • Writer's pictureSteph Catahan

10 Steps to Start Your Fitness Journey

Updated: Jan 1, 2023

When you finally decide it's time to start your fitness journey, it can be a daunting task. There are so many things to think about and it's easy to get overwhelmed. But don't worry, here are ten steps to help you get started on your fitness journey:

1. Know your fitness why.

It's important to know your motivation for getting fit. What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve? Try to ask yourself these questions without judgment. If your why is true for you, let it be true. For example, if your why is to "Look good for your sister's weeding" this can just be your sole why. Unless if it's helpful, you don't need to explain it to anyone else. State it, write it down, repeat it to yourself.

Keep your why in mind every time you feel like giving up.

One practical tip on finding your fitness why is that it can be your why for the specific life stage that you're in. A lifetime why could be "I want to live a long, healthy life." A why for the season could be "I want to be able to climb Half Dome next summer." Your why's can vary from different seasons. You can also have an overarching why and a more specific why. Partner with a coach or personal trainer to talk through your why. Sign up for my weekly newsletter to keep up with inspiration for your fitness why!

2. Define what fitness means to you.

By definition, being fit means "in good health, especially because of regular exercise." As kids in P.E. class, we're taught that fitness is our ability to run a mile, do a pull up, jump as far as you can. While physical fitness is definitely core to overall fitness, I've led clients through exploring growth in mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness as well. You get to define what makes you feel well, whole, and your peak fitness level. It's likely a combination of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness.

3. Follow your joy.

If you're not enjoying your workout, you're not going to stick with it. So find an activity that you love and make it your go-to workout. Bare Basics Fit was created to highlight the many different ways to build your basic fitness toolbox. Everyone should have their go-to workout or movement plan that makes them feel at home in their own body.

4. Have an open mind.

Related to following your joy, be open to trying new things and expanding your fitness horizons. There's a lot of different ways to get fit, so don't be afraid to experiment. I've personally tried so many ways to workout. I grew up playing and coaching volleyball year-round which included strength training, cardio, and regular game time. I was also a competitive Tahitian dancer. In my adulthood I've dabbled in crossfit, muay thai, marathon running, and weightlifting. For me, variety and challenging my body with new types movement is joyous. It's a celebration of what my body is capable of. How do you like to celebrate being in your body?

5. Follow your frustrations.

What are the things about your body that you're not happy with? Use those frustrations as motivation to change. My strong suggestion is that this approach is most effective to explore with a mental health professional like a therapist or coach. Our culture is increasingly critical of our bodies. So it's important to understand the root cause of why you don't like parts of your body as well as devise a plan to move through and past this frustration.

6. Build your fitness community.

It's important to have support when you're trying to get fit, especially if this is new for you. Find people who will encourage and motivate you. Luckily, we have the power of the internet to connect you with like-minded communities all over the world. Once you find your activity, reach out and dive into a community for support and encouragement.

7. Create fitness rituals.

Make fitness a special part of your daily routine with rituals. Ongoing studies suggest that rituals are an important part of getting you into the right mindset to move your body. The word ritual implies that you are creating intentional sacred space with action towards your goal. It's a word usually reserved for religious or spiritual realms. But I've found that using the concept of a ritual is super effective in helping people start their fitness journeys. Try starting your ritual with the same trigger every time. For example, you can use your coffee preparation as a ritual to start off your fitness routine. Perhaps putting on your favorite pair of leggings gets you in the mood to workout. Another way to start your ritual is to start your workout playlist. Whatever trigger helps get you in the right headspace for your workout is the right ritual for you.

8. Plan ahead.

Don't wait until the last minute to plan your workout. Schedule it into your day so you're more likely to stick with it. Another way to plan ahead is to enroll yourself in a program that has pre-planned workouts for you. This way, you don't need to spend energy thinking about if you have the right mix of cardio to strength training to stretching. Choose a workout plan, schedule it into your calendar, and follow it.

9. Create fitness systems.

In Atomic Habits, James Clear writes “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems." No matter how ambitious your goals are, you need systems in place to help you achieve your goals. Set up systems that make it easier for you to stay on track. When your system is working, you don't have to rely on motivation to get your 5AM workout in. A system can help you automate your ideal habits. For example, pack your gym bag the night before so you're not scrambling to find your workout socks at the last minute.

10. Celebrate the little wins.

As the saying goes, "success begets success". This means that your little wins will eventually build up to bigger wins over time. Acknowledge the work you're doing towards your goals. This will help build momentum and over time, you'll eventually meet your end goal. You can build in reward systems into your fitness routine like checking off your completed workout in your fitness journal, posting a selfie, sharing your wins with your community.

So basically...

You are the creator and driver of your fitness journey. By reading this post, you're already on your way to up-leveling your fitness journey. Yay! Luckily, there are many programs and people out there cheering you on and who are willing to help you on this journey. Even more exciting is that you can start as early as now! Go for a walk, visualize your most fit self for 5 min, drink some water, try out any of the 10 steps in this article to get you started. You got this!

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