New Year New Goals, right? How many of us say this every year? We’ve all been guilty of this on more than one occasion I’m sure, yet it’s hard to get started! I think we all start with the New Year (or even a Monday) because it’s a fresh beginning and that makes it easier to process.
But when it comes to starting a new workout routine, we tend to set the bar too high at first. I know I’m not the only one who’s tried to hit the gym for an hour after a month off of exercise and struggled going up and down stairs for the next week. The truth is that everyone can and should go at their own pace and do what is best for YOU.
Before you start exercising, there are a few things to ask yourself and consider:
Am I going to workout before I start my day or after?
Does it make more sense for me to workout at home or at a gym?
If I am working out at home, do I have a designated space?
If I go to a gym, do I need to join a gym and do I have funds allocated for that?
What are my workout goals?
Figuring out the answers to these questions will help you plan and allocate your time to your new exercise routine. For example, as a single, working mama, I personally prefer to start working out in the mornings because I can fit it in before my whole household gets up. Plus, even if I tell myself to workout in the afternoon or evening, that usually gets derailed quickly as my time gets split between the kids and the household. Knowing this about myself and my life helps me plan ahead and ensure I can realistically reach my goals.
Pro-Tip: Statistics have proven that the best way to start a day is by working out. It gets those endorphins working early in the day to help kick out any negative thoughts or depression and start the day in a positive way.
Depending on space and household, I also always recommend having a designated space set for your workouts. This will help you get inspired and set the tone for your workout. You know each day in this space you workout, regardless of how long or what you do.
So now you’re ready to start, but how do you find the motivation? WE ARE NOT ALL MOTIVATED, I get it! Here a few tips for the extra bit of motivation to go workout:
1. Going to the Gym Increases Motivation
If you have the opportunity, I would recommend a gym. First and foremost, you are WAY more likely to show up because you PAID to be there. Gyms are a great way to hold yourself accountable because it helps you push through workouts while surrounded by a room full of others doing the same thing. Another great benefit is that most gyms give you access to free classes, where you can learn new exercises and workout with a group. Once you are comfortable doing the workouts on your own, you can limit gym visits or cancel all together (and save that money!).
2. Treat Yourself to Some Cute Workout Gear
If you feel cute and confident, you’ll have a better workout and enjoy it more! As a stylist, sometimes I recommend picking up at least one or two cute outfits to get you inspired. Nothing over the top or crazy - you should still be comfortable and confident. I love matching sports bra and pant sets with a good pair of sneakers. Then you can always rotate tops to throw over and jackets depending on the season.
3. Take Progress Photos
This seems silly and it will feel silly in the beginning, but boy did this help me feel motivated postpartum. After I gave birth and started working out again, I would take progress shots each week. At first I was just in my sports bra and workout pants, but as I saw results and felt more confident, I would pick up some nice lingerie and that was my motivation. I would try it on after 30 days until I reached my goal physique. It’s amazing how feeling a little sexy can put that pep in your step!
4. Workout in Front of a Mirror
Ladies, this is not about picking apart your body. A mirror helps you see HOW you are performing each exercise. This helps you monitor your form and watch the areas you are toning. Because not only are you looking for physical results, you should be motivated to get better and better at your workouts! This means better form, posture, and endurance. So hop in front of a mirror and monitor your progress, you’ll be amazed at how rewarding it feels to watch yourself improve.
Lastly, remember that this new workout routine is to help you feel your best. All women like to feel sexy and we all want to feel good about ourselves. When you feel most confident it shows, regardless of your size and weight. I hope these tips have helped you and remember to take it one day at a time.
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About the Contributor:
Arrica Afton is a single mama of a 19 year-old daughter and a 5 year-old son. She is passionate about shining a light on what society says the “average Muslim women” should be, while living as holistic and green as possible (in style, of course). Arrica is also a MentorMama ambassador for SocialMama.