You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or pro athlete to start a fitness journey. Right where you are, you are ready to take steps to better health.
Anyone can take actionable steps to wellness. And small changes add up to reaching the goals you have for your fitness level. The first thing you need to do is make time for yourself.
You are important, your health is the most valuable thing you have. So, you need to put yourself first to change your wellness level. You need to pay attention to every part of your wellness wheel for a whole wellness experience. Each section has meaning and importance.
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I know of many people who started working out with me at the fitness center and over time got to stop taking medication, were able to buy smaller clothes, lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol, gained balance and strength for everyday chores, and more. See the many benefits of exercise here.
Anything that is important to you takes some time, so look at your schedule and block off some time to start working on you. You can start with 20-30 minutes and go from there. The slower you go, the more likely you are to stick with it. It’s the best way to start a fitness journey right where you are.
Are you a morning person? Do you come alive in the evenings? Is midday your stride? Find time at your peak hours to work on you. You can do it before work, on your lunch, or after work. Some people even thrive best late at night.
My fitness journey
I always enjoyed sports growing up. I was always active because men poured into my life. My dad abandoned my family when I was 5 and my mom struggled to care for me and my two brothers. But my grandad was always there. And I was blessed when God sent coach after coach into my life to mentor me and build me up through sports.
I enjoy exercise and strengthening my body, but my mom didn’t teach me about nutrition. We ate junk food all the time growing up. A little meat, usually fried, and tons of bread and sweets. So, I’ve always been overweight, no matter how hard I exercised.
Fitness has kept me. I enjoy how working out makes me feel. As an adult, I kept eating portion sizes for an athlete, but I stopped working out because I didn’t have access to any equipment. I felt myself always wanting to go back to it. And I was getting increasingly heavy, at my highest weight I was 345 pounds. I’m a big guy, but no one’s frame is that big.
One year for Christmas, my wife gave me a year’s membership to the YMCA gym. I couldn’t believe it; I was so excited. I knew it would be a game-changer for me. I fell back in love with working out. I used it to work through all my problems.
My self-esteem started coming back and it made every part of my life better. I dreamed of helping others find this passion. Right around this time, my wife started studying about real, whole foods. She got interested in nutrition and avoiding chemicals. This took our wellness journey much further. We experienced weight loss, more energy, and stamina to do more in life. My workouts were better and I was loving it.
I applied for a job in a fitness center at the local hospital here in Oklahoma. I got hired and got certified as a personal trainer. I began my journey to help regular people feel better and get back to wellness with actionable steps. Fitness is for everyone. It’s not too hard for you to start a fitness journey.
The next part of the fitness journey is to find an exercise you like. I LOVE lifting weights, but it’s not for everyone. You might enjoy quiet yoga more. Or you might want to dance it out in Zumba or another super high energy activity.
If you prefer to play sports, do that. Do you love walking? That’s a great exercise with tons of health benefits. Whatever you choose to do to move your body, it’s a great idea! Make sure to get a good pair of well-fitting shoes. They are the basis of any workout.
Pathways to wellness
There are so many pathways toward a healthier life. There’s no one perfect way. The most important part is coming up with a plan and sticking to it. Go slow. Break it down into steps and increase slowly so you don’t overdo and quit.
If you plan to suddenly start making two hours a day for yourself when you’ve been neglecting yourself for years, you may fall off the wagon quickly when all of the laundry and shopping doesn’t get done. Think about how you can make the best choices for yourself when you start a fitness journey.
When you do fall off the wagon, forgive yourself. If you have a bad meal, remember it’s not what you do some of the time it’s what you do most of the time. Don’t throw the whole plan out because you didn’t feel like working out one of your scheduled times. Give yourself grace and start back up the next day.
If you are really overweight, you’ll have to go even slower. And as always, consult a doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise. This is important. But even if you can do 5 pushups and then the next day, do 6, you’re improving. So, make a list, and write down your goals. Then see your progress as you journal what you’re doing.
Change your nutrition in small steps. Can you add a piece of fruit to your diet each day? After you do that for a week, can you make it two or a fruit and a vegetable? You don’t have to change everything, just start by adding some nutritious foods to what you are doing now.
Once you get used to doing that, take out something you know you shouldn’t be having. If you have French fries 7 days a week, try replacing two servings of fries with salad or broccoli. Start with the things you like the best (or hate the least) and work up from there.
If you throw away everything in your cabinets and fill it with only canned tuna, you’re going to drop that idea pretty fast. But if you replace a burger with a tuna salad once a week, that’s a great place to start. Find out the best things to focus on for your nutrition in this post.
Health journey support
Get yourself an accountability partner. It could be a friend who you want to work out with, or it could be your mom and you call her and tell her the positive changes you’ve made. It doesn’t have to be anything formal, just someone you can talk to about your journey that will support your better choices.
Check out the free printable fitness journey checklist here.
Check out blog posts about the benefits of exercise, what exercises are best for what things, the benefits of better nutrition, how your work, home, and social environments are important, working on bad habits, focusing on your mental and spiritual health, and taking care of your finances. You’re going to have the best year ever!
Now, what rock group has four men that don’t sing?
Mount Rushmore! Ha ha ha ha.