Where to start?

It can be hard to know where to start or to get back into your training routine. You may not have trained for a number of personal reasons; injury, sickness, achieved your goal, no time, loss of interest, lack of energy or motivation to name a few.

Working with many clients coming to exercise from various backgrounds, reason’s and goals, I observed how important it was that they were ready to get back to exercise, they knew why they were motivated to get back and that they were willing to commit (whatever THEY could) time to this new habit.

There are many variables that can feed into ‘beginning to exercise’ be you a newbie (for want of a better term) or coming back after a layoff. If you have the benefit of useful resources and structures such as a gym or trainer, then these can be great supports to aid you in your ‘get back to exercise journey’.


This advice is coming to you from a trainer with experience dealing with individuals of all ages and activity backgrounds, groups ranging from sports teams to older adult social groups. When recruiting a trainer be confident. Yes, they are the ‘expert’ but you know your body both mentally and physically. A trainer should meet you prior to signing up for a consultation, for THREE main reasons

  1. to obtain a better overall picture of you and your goals.
  2. the trainer should be able to forecast how s/he will work with you and what methods they will use to motivate you.
  3. for both you to meet face to face to see if you can work together. You both should get a fair idea if this working relationship will be a success.

Consider these tips to help get you back on track.

(We have also attached a 12 minute bodyweight routine for you to access and use.)

1. DO determine your readiness for exercise.

There are two elements you should consider before starting an exercise program. The first is your physical readiness. The only way to determine if you are physically ready for exercise is through a medical exam.

The second consideration is your mental readiness. Specifically, you must consider how likely you are to stick with an exercise program once you begin. Research has identified several factors that are related to long-term success including past exercise experience, high self-confidence in regard to exercise, a positive view of exercise, an awareness of the positive health benefits of exercise, support from family and friends, and convenience. The more of these factors you have in your favour, the more likely you will have success with your fitness program.

2. DO select exercises you really enjoy.

Maintaining a long-term exercise program is correlated with enjoying that program. I always find it funny to hear people say , ‘I hate running’ yet they run most days. I know I went through a period of time where I disliked running and it was becoming more of a chore. So guess what I STOPPED. I found something else. NOW I am back running and am enjoying it again.

You will most likely give up if you don’t enjoy your fitness regimen. Therefore, make sure you choose activities you really like. Remember, you have a range of activities to choose from such as walking, cycling, running, weightlifting, rollerblading, dancing, golf, handball, tennis and many more.

3. DO exercise with a friend.

Boredom is a common reason exercise programs fail. One way to overcome this problem is to exercise with friends. This provides several benefits including a sense of camaraderie, a positive social experience and the ability to push each other to higher levels of performance. Remember, for this to work, you have to find an exercise both can enjoy at the appropriate fitness level. This might be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort because you’re much more likely to develop a successful, long-term program if you exercise with others. Just take note, if you do not enjoy the particular exercise you are doing with friends, then find soemthing YOU do enjoy!!

4. DO consider organized fitness events.

One way to get motivated is to take part in an organized fitness event, team sports, tag rugby, 5-a-side football or bootcamps. On any given weekend, there are literally thousands of fitness events. Choose an activity you really enjoy and do it with a friend. Again make sure you enjoy it and also that the activity is benefiting you (Mentally or/and physically), but also that the trainer is allowing exericses in a safe environment. REMEMBER TECHNIQUE IS KEY, speed and quicker pace will come.

5. DON’T start with high-intensity exercise.

If you are new or out of the exercise routine for a while, you don’t have to engage in vigorous physical activity in order to increase your level of fitness or improve your overall health. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine has emphasized that 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (e.g., walking, golfing) on most days is sufficient. While this will not prepare you to run a marathon or ride the Tour de France, you will reach a much higher fitness level than a sedentary individual. You can increase exercise intensity as your fitness improves.

6. DON’T set unrealistic expectations.

Too many people have grand expectations when it comes to their exercise regimen. A more realistic approach is to prepare for setbacks. No matter how successful you are with your fitness program, you will experience difficult times. There will be missed workouts, poor eating days and plateaus where you just can’t seem to improve, along with the odd injury here and there. Don’t worry about it! Setbacks are inevitable, so recognize that they will happen and don’t get down on yourself. Just focus on getting back on schedule as soon as you can.

7. DON’T overdo it.

The single biggest reason exercise programs fail is injury. An injury can include significant damage to a muscle tissue such as a sprain, or the relatively minor muscle damage that manifests itself in soreness. Either situation can diminish your motivation to exercise. Therefore, whatever activity you choose, make sure you learn how to perform it safely and take it easy.

8. DON’T put pressure on yourself for results.

Perhaps the biggest mistake people make when it comes to health and fitness is trying to reach that goal, be it to lose weight or increase fitness, too quickly. For weight loss, never try to lose more than 1 pound a week (which is still not easy because to lose a pound, you need a 3,500 calorie deficit that’s 500 calories a day). The best way to do this is to think about weight loss on a monthly, not weekly, basis.  For example, set a weight loss goal of 3 pounds a month. This may not sound like much, but it adds up to 36 pounds a year.

So a few tips I hope can help you prepare for your new training regime. Don’t forget to try this 12 minute bodyweight routine.


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