Here are 10 things that you can do to keep yourself on a track when you start working out for the first time in a long time (or ever).
1. Check with your doctor
Many people ignore this when they start working out. We think that we know our body best, but most of us do not realize that something is not quite right until someone tells us. For example, if you are overweight, you have a higher possibility that you have knee and lower back problems, since you are imposing extra stresses on your joints. You may not realize, however, the weight is the cause of the joint problems until a doctor (or someone) tells you. It means that you may want to start with a stationary bike workout or walking instead of jogging. A doctor can tell you whether you can do certain workout or not, especially if he specializes in sports medicine.
2. Hire a personal fitness trainer and/or a nutritionist
Again, many people start a workout based on magazine articles or fitness books. This is quite dangerous! You do not need to work out with a personal trainer every time, but, at least, you should work out with a trainer once a month so that the trainer can modify your workout accordingly. The trainer also can correct your posture and some exercise your are not doing quite right. The same holds true for a nutritionist. If you are going to do a weight loss diet, consult with a nutritionist (who is also willing to work with your doctor). A nutritionist may disappoint you, since she/he won’t recommend any fancy herbal supplements, but the recipes that he/she recommends are usually safer, more effective, and cheaper.
3. Work with a personal fitness coach
The main problem for some people who cannot continue working out is actually due to the lack of mental preparation. Work with a coach for a few months so that you can develop a new way of thinking about your body, mind, and a new attitude toward your life. Once you make a big shift in thinking, you will not stop working out and you will stay healthy.
4. Ask for help from your family and friends
Especially for men, this is the hardest thing to do. Asking for help from family members and friends! You need to realize, however, your family and close friends could be your worst enemies, if you do not ask for the help and support. They unknowingly drag you back to the old life style, if you do not tell them. If you ask them explicitly for the support you want, they will be the best support for your life style change. So ASK!
5. Be friend with fitness buffs
If you want to be a fitness buff, be with them. It is the easiest way to motivate yourself. You are with your role models, and they love to help you (or show off their knowledge and physique). Just tell them how you truly admire their accomplishments and ask for help. One caution; they may not know or forgot how beginners work out; so watch out if they try to push you too much.
6. Continuously feed your mind with fitness information
This is another way to keep motivating yourself. Read fitness magazines and books, watch workout videos, and go to a workshop. Then tell your friends the new information that you just learned. Impress yourself and your friends with fitness information constantly, then you will be a fitness buff yourself really quickly.
7. Gradually increase workout load
Although the human body has the capacity to take a big change, it is recommended to go slowly. It is better to build up slowly rather than too quickly and having your motivation die away in two weeks. It also prevents you from getting serious injuries. If you once get injured, the probability that you come back to working out is quite small.
8. Give yourself a break
Your body and mind need a break. At least once a week, give yourself a non-workout day. You can be officially a couch potato. If you do diet, at least one day a week, eat whatever you want to eat.
9. Give yourself rewards
Set some goals, and decide what kinds of rewards you want to give yourself once you get there. It could be a piece of chocolate cake, or a nice massage. We are still Pavlovian creatures; if you once connect a good reward with working out, just by thinking about the reward, you can keep motivated to work out.
10. Find a workout you enjoy
This is quite an important point. If you do not like to run, why do you do it? Don’t do it, unless your ultimate goal is to be a Boston marathon runner. There is always something that you could enjoy physically. Do you like window shopping? Then go to a mall, and walk around the mall for an hour. You can get a workout!