So you've decided to be proactive and start a fitness routine but before you begin take time to set realistic goals. It's worth considering how your age, sex, genetics, present and past health and lifestyle will shape your approach. This could be the key to sustainable fitness.
Here are five things to consider:
1. Why do you even want to start a fitness routine?
Asking yourself this question is a great place to start, as your motivation will affect how you deal during those days when you feel as if you're getting nowhere and your enthusiasm wanes. Some of us want to be super ripped like the couple with the unnatural pose on the cover of a fitness magazine but this motivation will only endure long-term for some. They'll never tell you about the countless hours at the gym or how their diets were radically modified for that one shot.
In the real world I'd say reasons like trying to lower cholesterol and blood pressure or trying to get healthy so you can enjoy your kids are two brilliant reasons of many.
2. Past and Current Health
Before beginning any fitness routine consult your physician. It has been said thousands of times by many a fitness professional and it litters the fine print of run of the mill gym contracts but very often people ignore this advice... sometimes to their own detriment. Having your doctor assess your past and current health will help point you in the right direction when setting fitness goals. Remember, fitness goals don't have to be static so as your fitness level improves your doctor could give you clearance to run a few more miles or lift a few more pounds.
The last thing you need is to collapse in your gym's weight room or to pass out in your living room, next to your brand new treadmill, because you didn't consult your doctor!
3. Do You Have Time
So you've seen your doctor and you've been given the green light to exercise. You're chomping at the bits and you're ready to do it but have you considered how much time you have available to commit to achieving your fitness goals? The majority of us who hold jobs don't have the privilege of twiddling around all day and going to the gym whenever we'd like. We have kids and long commutes. So what's the good news? It's called a 30 Minute Workout. One of the biggest exercise myths out there is that you have to workout for at least and hour to stay with the game.
4. What Gets You Motivated?
At any given time of day, at the gym where I have a membership, there are at least 20 to 40 people in the building. Some are doing cardio, some are in the weight room, some are in aerobics classes and some are spin classes. The people at the gym who are not motivated are easy to spot. They're the ones who do one set on the ab machine, then walk over to the weight room and stand there contemplating what to do next... finally deciding to go do cardio. They eek out a ten-minute slow-paced walk before hitting the stop button.
We don't want this to be you. So before you go crazy spending on a home gym system or buy a gym membership, get a sense for what motivates you. Personally I feel a lot more motivated at a gym where other people are really going for it because I feed off their energy. I'd never last more than two minutes at home.
5. Do You Have Family Support?
Because they're family doesn't guarantee they'll support you with your fitness goals. From my experience, it's not easy when everyone decides they're having Chinese and you feel left out or like you're the one inconveniencing everybody else.