1. The very first step is to consult with your physician to ensure you are healthy enough for exercise.
2. The next step is to learn as much as you can about exercising. Magazines, and blogs (like this one) are excellent sources. But be wary of internet meatheads who may not know what they are doing. The presence of muscles does not equate to knowledge in the field. As I always say, you can do an exercise wrong and still get results. Listening to those who aren’t professionals will impede your progress and most likely lead to injury.
3. Set realistic goals. Step two will help you with this goal. You are not going to lose 25lbs in a month for your high-school reunion (“Yeah, but I saw it done on the biggest loser”). Setting realistic goals will keep you motivated and on track as you continue on your path to a healthy lifestyle.
4. Get a good pair of running shoes. Shoes are like tires they have a limited amount of tread life. I once had a client complain that their shins hurt every time they ran. After watching her gait I didn’t see any problems, finally I asked, how old are your sneakers? She replied maybe a year. I had her change them and her shin pain stopped.
5. Build activity into your daily routine. You are more likely to stick to your plan if you have it scheduled. Plus scheduling is a psychological guilt marker so that if you miss a planned workout, sub-conscientiously you feel guilt. A little guilt is a good thing.
6. Consult with a professional. Consider a few sessions with a personal trainer and have them focus on your form. This will allow them to correct mistakes you are making and help you create the correct muscle memory and avoid injury. A certified personal trainer can also help you set up a long-term exercise plan that helps you meet your exercising goals.
7. Put it on paper. Write down your exercise routine and be prepared when you hit the gym. Having your routine written down gives you direction and if done properly will allow for improvements.
8. Start slow! In my experience as a personal trainer the biggest mistake beginner’s make is doing too much too soon. They are excited about their new healthy lifestyle and they go overboard. Next thing you know the soreness sets in and they stop. Take your time, it is better to underestimate your ability than to overestimate it. Your body will need time to adjust to exercise.
9. Tell friends and family about your plans. Everyone needs a good support system. Tap into yours. Even if it seems people aren’t supporting you in the traditional sense. Most people will hold you accountable for what you’ve said. “I thought you said you were working out on Tuesday?”
Choose exercises that are fun for you. Exercise can be grueling but it can also be fun. Choose exercises that you enjoy and challenge you. You can have the best, the most efficient routine in the gym but if you don’t enjoy it you’ll find it hard to continue. Every exercise won’t be a barrel of fun but neither should it be like pulling teeth. Mix it up have fun and good luck!