Chances are you have some sort of gym gear full of good intentions stuffed away in your closet somewhere: runners, workout gear, whatever was meant to inspire you to get off the couch and out moving. 

Motivation to exercise can be tricky. With everything going on—work, family, friends, football (NFL playoffs, anyone?)—finding the time to start a new exercise routine can easily fall to the end of the to-do list. Perhaps even harder is being able to start an exercise routine and stick with it. 

How can you get motivated to kick that fitness routine into gear?

Here are 6 simple ways to start an exercise routine and stick with it:

Find your why

Before you set foot in the gym, on the court, on the slopes, etc., you have to know why you’re doing it and why now. Consider why getting fit is important to you. How will it impact your life and the lives of those around you?  

Finding your motivation also means finding an activity that feels like you. We’re lucky enough to live in a world of endless fitness options, so if the gym isn’t your thing—don’t start there! You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or marathon runner to get results. Try something you think you’ll actually enjoy to kick your fitness motivation into high gear and go from there.

Focus on consistency, not results

Man doing lunges

When starting out, focus on consistency, not results. Consistency creates habits.

For example: instead of giving yourself a goal of losing thirty pounds in three months, exercise three days per week for 30 minutes the first month, four days per week for the second month and five days per week for the third month. Build up your workouts, and results will follow.

To stick to a routine, you’re also going to want to plan ahead. Schedule your exercise, whether it’s a post-work gym session or a five-minute walk around the block with your partner, pre-dinner. If you don’t carve out space to make something happen, that time won’t magically appear. You need to schedule ahead to make sure it happens.

Start with bodyweight exercises before adding weight

Resistance and weight training should be part of your regular exercise routine; however, they can lead to injury if not performed correctly. By practicing proper form before adding weights or resistance, you set yourself up for success and lessen the risk of injury. Progress from bodyweight to resistance bands, and then make your way to the weights.

Here are a few simple exercise ideas, and how often to do them, to get you started:

Enlist friends and family to keep you accountable

Think about the people in your life who are in your corner—the A-team, whether it be friends or family, who can keep you accountable and celebrate your wins on the fitness journey. Recognition for the work you’re doing is huge and can be a powerful tool when it comes to making exercise a part of your routine. 

You can even join online groups and challenges to keep your motivation up. There are millions of people just like you, workin’ on their fitness. You are not alone—and a little healthy competition mixed with some peer support never hurt anybody. 

Hire a trainer

Walking into the gym is daunting for anyone, especially if you are new to the fitness world. So, let experts like the team at Club 16 show you the ropes. 

There is a reason personal training is so popular—it gets results. Having a professional set you up and walk you through a program will keep you accountable, challenge you consistently, and keep injury prevention on the radar while you get going.

When you’re ready to start exercising

Here are a few exercise videos I’ve created for beginners: 

Embrace the highs…and the lows

Remember: Everyone falls off track from time to time. Instead of beating yourself up or using one slip-up as a reason to quit your whole fitness mission, look at it as a learning experience. 

Importantly, listen to your body. “No pain, no gain” might be a famous saying, but it’s an outdated thought process. Recognize that you’ve got your limits and take the time to recover when you need it. The gym, the running track, the boxing ring—whatever your thing is—will still be there when your body is ready. 

What other ways do you find work to get your fitness motivation up and running? Let us know in the comments below.

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