I’m no fitness expert, but for someone who lives with chronic pain and fatigue I try to stay as active as my body allows. This has included years of on and off fitness routines, when I’m in a good place I can do a 5K without a problem, when I’m in a bad flare I’m lucky if I can do some gentle yoga in bed. However, over the years I’ve learned a few important things along the way that I wanted to share. Without further ado, here are 10 things I wish I knew before I started working out.
1. Make a goal.
Make a lot of goals actually. While running a half marathon was my main goal, there are milestones all along the way that help me get. I celebrate every one and moving through the progress of them helps keep me going. There are Many Ways To Measure Workout Success.
2. Half the fight to get it done is all in your head.
Staying positive is key to reaching your goals. It’s not always easy to stay upbeat, but I swear, half the fight is in your head. Give yourself pep talks throughout your workout. Simply believing that you can will carry you a long way.
3. Work out hard, but smart.
When those voices start telling you to stop, what you really need to do is reassess. Scale back for a couple of minutes without stopping, slow down, and mentally scan your body. If you’re just tired stay at the slower pace until you can ramp back up. However – if you feel like you’re injured or so tired that your motions are sloppy and dangerous it may be time to stop for the day.
4. Trust the plan.
Set up a solid training plan to reach your goal, and stick to it. Don’t rush your increases in speed or distance, that can cause injury. Even if you feel like you are moving slowly, trust the plan and you’ll get to your goal.
5. Do something, anything.
On days that you don’t feel great or you are hurting more than normal you don’t have to completely give up on your work out, simply scale back. Incorporate a gentle stretching routine for off days. Using a shorter, lighter work out keeps your healthy habits going without over stressing you body.
6. Eat to support your workouts.
You have to fuel the machine. Don’t go into your exercise routine on empty, and be sure to boost your recovery with proper nutrition afterwards. If you are going to be working out for more than an hour, no matter if you’re running, walking, or swimming your body needs more than just water to keep functioning well. Find the endurance fuel that you like best and work it in to your regular training schedule, it’s not just for races.
7. Use all the resources you can to stay on track.
Not only should you have a training plan, but use all the resources you can to reach your goals. Consider seeing a physical therapist, massage therapist, and frequently looking up sports articles regarding nutrition, and sports psychology online. There’s more to fitness than just getting to the gym, do your research and train smart.
8. It always sucks until you’re warmed up.
Not only does the warm-up always suck, but you can’t rush it for any reason. Just keep moving forward and eventually the early work out aches with fade and everything will get easier. Every body takes it’s own time to warm up, so don’t compare yourself to others. I have to be walking for at least 45 minutes before my body is warmed up and training feels good. Embrace the early suck and strive to finish strong.
9. Find a buddy.
You may be excited about your workouts, but your family’s eyes will glaze over if that aren’t into fitness too. Have a designated buddy that you can talk about your training plan to. Your buddy should help you to be and be accountable to for your workouts, and a great source of encouragement.
10. No one at the gym cares what you are doing.
Just go in and do your thing with confidence, because that’s what everyone else is doing. No one cares what you’re wearing, or what size you are. No one cares if you pause the treadmill so you can stretch a little more or tie your shoes. Be confident, and act like you belong – because you do.