Check out these strategies which will show you how to start a fitness program.
I have been approached and asked by family and friends on how to start a fitness program. I figured it made sense to write up a post about it so I can easily direct everyone to it.
Broadly speaking, starting a fitness program is comprised of some basic elements:
1. Adopt a new lifestyle frame of mind
2. Get a physical examination by your primary care physician
3. Get a clear bill of health from your doctor
4. Change up your diet to match your healthy living mindset (everything you put in your mouth whether food or drinks count)
5. Get physical – find activities you enjoy (try many if need be)
6. Set some goals
7. Track your progress
8. Assess your progress
9. Constantly challenge yourself
10. Show off your progress
I plan to break down this step-by-step process into its own post by sharing how I began my fitness program, the motivation for doing it and how I have been maintaining it since I committed to this permanent change.
Why I started a fitness program
Or shall I say, restarted. In 2008 I was working long hours, managing two children, eating a lot of food at work and not moving. At work, just about every meeting was scheduled during lunch time and food was always brought in.
Sandwich rolls, chips, pasta salad, soft drinks, etc. And I mean at least 3 times a week I was eating like this PLUS eating out on the alternate days when we didn’t have a lunch meeting.
I was ALSO eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Caramel Fudge ice EVERY SINGLE DAY. It brought me joy at the end of a long, mentally draining day. When I say I ate a pint, I mean – I would eat a pint in a single sitting. Yeah I was a mess and with that I went from a comfortable size 6 to a size 10.
Ok ok some of you reading this may think that isn’t big but for my 5’2″ frame, it was noticeable. I was a constant 140 lbs vs. 130 lbs previously (even after nursing my son for 12 months). So something had to give.
I wanted to be able to keep up with my children as they grew up and not be another victim of diabetes like my mother and aunt. And yes, vanity played a part and I wanted my husband to be happy with my physique.
Not that he doesn’t love me regardless, but I wanted to make sure I took care of my body as much as he takes care of his.
How I began my fitness program
I have to be honest. I have never been tremendously overweight ever in my life. The biggest I ever became was a size 14 when I was 12 years old. That was due to my stepmother feeding me snicker bars each and every day.
Back in the day a regular snicker bar was HUGE! I don’t even want to think how many calories each one had. I also lazed around each and every day so the pounds just added up.
Fast forward to adulthood….I began running with my friend Gloria in 2005. She was a breast cancer survivor and I was so impressed with her victory over the struggle I wanted to run with her. She was my symbol of true strength.
I was consistent for a year. I even drank smoothies daily but could not figure out how or why the weight didn’t just peel off of me with all of the running.
I started running on my treadmill with a 4-week Couch to 5K program I found in the grocery store at the register. Once I hooked up with Gloria I took it outside on a nice level trail around our home. In 2006 I became overwhelmed with work and later in the year learned I was pregnant with our second child. At that point all of my workouts and runs went out the door.
I was too tired to lift a finger in the morning or in the evening besides what I had to do for family and work. After my son was born I still did not return to working out. I did not make any time for it even as I was trying to maneuver two small children, work, etc.
One day a friend of mine visited from New Jersey and we went out to a Morgan State University Homecoming. She invited her friend Kelly and she looked AMAZING.
She was slim, fit and trim. Her hair was tight and so was her waist. I asked her what she was doing and she told me she was working out with a personal trainer at our local gym and lost 20 lbs. At that point she got my attention.
She was kind enough to give me the personal trainer’s name and number and the rest is history. Since I get regular annual physical check ups I knew I was in tip top shape so I called the personal trainer and have worked out with her ever since.
That’s how I got started on my current path to fit and wellness but come back next week to read how I changed my frame of mind (I had to get my mind right) because I still felt I didn’t have time to work out but I figured it out.
Disclaimer: I am a certified personal trainer and not a physician. I am sharing my story of how I started my fitness program in hopes it inspires each and every one of you. Please contact your physician before beginning any fitness or nutrition program. What works for me may not work for you so please do your own research.
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14 Replies to "How To Start A Fitness Program"
May 3, 2014 (12:05 am)
Diatta, Thanks so much for sharing your story! It is so inspiring 🙂 Your 10 tips are spot on too. Always a pleasure to get notified of your latest blog posts in my inbox!
DSTPRL May 3, 2014 (2:20 am)
Thank you Catherine. Appreciate all of your support.
Carla May 3, 2014 (11:19 am)
I still think Snickers Bars are huge! I have a hard time with the food part. I have tried all kinds of things to get this on track even getting certified but junk is still my weakness. Great tips!
DSTPRL May 3, 2014 (12:03 pm)
Carla you can do it. I’ve learned I can’t have it in the house.
Lori Kane May 5, 2014 (1:41 pm)
Diatta – thank you for sharing your story! I love how you reach out and inspire others to seek fitness!
DSTPRL May 5, 2014 (1:42 pm)
Lori thank you for your continued support from Day 1. Are you training for a race this year?
May 7, 2014 (10:27 am)
Thanks for sharing your story, getting started or restarted in fitness is always the hardest. It is inspiring to read how others have done it! #wowlinkup
DSTPRL May 7, 2014 (11:13 am)
Thank you Toni!! I have to concentrate on not falling off so I don’t have to restart again.
May 7, 2014 (5:00 pm)
I love your tips (especially number 10!) and your story. So honest and inspiring. Thanks for sharing!
May 7, 2014 (9:08 pm)
Thanks for sharing our story Diatta!
May 7, 2014 (9:09 pm)
May 8, 2014 (9:17 am)
Thanks for sharing your story! I actually did #4 before 3. I went to Weight Watchers, changed what I was doing, then everything suddenly clicked.
The Frugal Exerciser
May 11, 2014 (5:01 pm)
What a great story and there is nothing like seeing a friend looking great to jumpstart a new health and weight goal. I started in January to take pictures of my clients so they can see their progress and it really works. Getting a clean bill of health from the doctor in case you need to correct some underlining health issues is very important. Visiting from the #wowlinkup.
May 13, 2014 (5:01 am)
Great tips for beginners and reminders for everyone.