Fall is the perfect time to hit the wellness reset button—especially if you’ve spent all summer indulging and relaxing. No matter the type of workout slump, you can definitely use the fresh season as a chance to start over. And you can actually start a workout routine today.
A healthy lifestyle is a big commitment. But you can set yourself up for success with small changes here and there. Don’t be intimidated by your lofty end goals. Here are eight ways to kickstart your workout routine right away.
Stop thinking about being “bad.”
So you didn’t move a muscle on your vacation last week and also ate dessert every single night. Or you’ve been recovering from an injury in the form of a Netflix binge on the couch. Maybe you’re struggling to find time for fitness with a busy work schedule. Or perhaps you’re not sure where to begin with a post-baby bod.
Whatever the circumstances of your workout blues, let it go. You’re not a bad person because yo took a break from exercise. Don’t let the little voices of shame or guilt force you to be paralyzed by the past, because you’ll end up procrastinating in the present. Instead, view today as a brand new opportunity to feel good and invest in your health.
Set a realistic, specific goal.
We’ve all been there: after a long break from working out, you go hard . . . and then literally spend the next week hobbling around with too-sore muscles. Which, of course, prevents you from exercising regularly again.
Instead, set reasonable goals, like, “Today I’m going to drink five big glasses of water.” Or, “Tonight I will complete a 20-minute yoga workout.” The point is to do something instead of nothing. Vaguely assuming you’ll “get in shape” eventually makes it way easier to bail later on.
Go for a walk.
“Kickstarting your workout routine depends on your level of fitness prior,” says Aaptiv trainer Kelly Chase. “But as a beginner, I would start with a 30-minute walk to get the body moving.”
It can really be that simple, and truthfully, after walking for even 15 minutes, exercise endorphins will remind you of how great moving your body feels. One study shows using a pedometer for a few days can provide extra motivation, so if jogging or running still feels like too much, consider aiming for walking a certain number of steps per day.
Hold a one minute plank.
Trust us—this is harder than it seems! Planks are a simple yet efficient exercise that work your entire body top to bottom. If you need to nudge yourself to start moving after a long break from exercise, throw in a few plank holds per day to tune back in with your core, arms, shoulders, and glutes.
Try a HIIT workout.
Otherwise known as “high-intensity interval training,” HIIT workouts blast your body and rev your energy levels like nothing else. According to Chase, there’s “nothing greater than the feeling of challenging your muscles, a good sweat, and a great soreness to come.” (Psst: scroll through our archives for all the best types of HIIT workouts on Aaptiv!)
Eat something healthy.
Chase also suggests making nutritious food choices as soon as you’re trying to reset or start a workout routine. “It doesn’t have to be every meal, but one tiny implementation of a healthier food will make you want to start eating healthier overall, and working out as eating healthy gives you a clearer mindset and the energy to move.”
Another option: write down everything you eat in a day, not to hold yourself accountable to a strict diet, but to simply notice where you’re at. Food journaling can be a great way to track how much water you’re drinking, the kinds of snacks you’re reaching for, and where you could potentially make adjustments for better nourishment.
Find a workout buddy.
“Grab a friend and do a workout,” says Chase. “Having a partner keeps you both accountable and motivated to show up.” You can ask your significant other or spouse to do a quick strength training exercise with you, or stretch your hamstrings in a yoga class with a pal or sibling at home. Having a buddy is also great for running, walking, and elliptical sessions, too.
Finally, friends can help motivate you to test out new types of classes, especially if you’re stuck doing the same ‘ole thing all the time, as well as sign up for certain events, such as a 5k run or a half-marathon. (And it is much easier to hold yourself to a routine if you know your best friend will be texting you at 5 a.m. for that morning workout!)
Plan time for exercise.
You probably write down your to-do list, appointments, and social commitments. A workout routine is no different. Open your calendar or planner and write down every workout you’d ideally like to do for an entire month. Set alarms or reminders on your phone to help you remember. Seeing workouts listed as a recurring event will gently encourage you to get back in the groove.
If you plan workouts like any other obligation, it’ll help you stay committed. The results don’t have to be perfect; the goal is simply to do your best, be present, and prioritize your health to see massive benefits.
Ready to start a workout routine, but need a little push? Join the Aaptiv member community on Facebook!