Tips to Get Started Exercising

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Linn Hansen, from Kristiansand, Norway, runs her own personal training studio in London and would like to get more people exercising in the comfort of their own homes.

A new year brings hope, aspirations, resolutions, and excitement. Celebrating New Year's energized with sparkling bubbles, we promise ourselves and loved ones that this year is another chance to get it right. In January, it’s time to start losing weight, shaping up, and eating only salads and greens. As a fitness competitor and the owner of my own personal training business, I know what it takes to change old habits, get ready, and start moving. I work with many different people - some would like to lose weight or gain muscle, whilst others simply want to become and remain healthy. I have challenged my own will power many times and I know what it takes to succeed. Are you one of those people who needs a bit of motivation and drive to really get started?  Here are my top tips:

About Myself:

I am 36 years old and I have competed in Fitness for four years. I debuted in first place in the British Championship and since then have competed in world championships. I  have run my own personal gym in Kensington for the past six years and I have helped everyday people change their habits and get in better shape. Fevennen ( * Norwegian newspaper) contacted me for a regular fitness blog  in their sports section, and my initial contribution is about how to get started with exercise.

1.  What Motivates You?

Motivation varies over time and can come from within ourselves or from the external environment which surrounds us. What motivates you initially to start training and what keeps you going long term might be different drives. It could be an initial health problem or a comment from someone around you triggering the initial change. Later, it could be a competition, or the results of your training such as more energy, a new body shape, or the physiological aspects of training that keep you going.  

It’s a good idea to reflect on your real drive and to continue to remind yourself of the reasons why you are doing what you do along the way. Is it because friends or families encourage you, because of social aspects or a trendy new gym, or do you really want this because you want to better yourself?  The inner motivation is all about you and it can stick so deep that it does not matter what others say and think. If you manage to find your way to the inner drive it can really go far. If you do not already have the inner motivation, it can be induced or developed by comparing the pros and cons of continuing or changing the way you have it today.

 2. Prepare your Gym Gear in Advance

Prepare your clothes and gym bag the night before and get mentally ready for training. It prevents stress and slip ups the following day. You know what you have to do, and you just need to turn up and do it.

 3. Time

Make a regular appointment with yourself in advance, and stick to these times every week. This is your time and the one hour you've chosen to prioritize and invest in yourself. Switch off your phone, and you can effectively return back to your busy schedule afterwards. You will find that it will help both mentally and physiologically to switch off and get into a solid routine which will help you to carry on with your training long term.  

If you are new to exercise, I recommend training 3 times a week and increasing gradually, either with intensity or frequency over time. Avoid the "all or nothing" mentality trap, and start off with a routine that is feasible and that you are able to sustain over time.   

4. Food

For maximum training effect, you need to think carefully about what to eat before and after exercise. Remember to eat 1-1.5 hours before training, and immediately after training. Many people have too little energy or simply the wrong type of energy to support quality training, and as a consequence, performing and achieving becomes sub-optimal.

 5. Specific, Realistic, and Attainable Goals

What is your goal? What is it you would like to achieve? Pick one goal and prioritize this with focus and determination. For example, losing 5 kilograms within 4 weeks is a concrete and attainable goal. Establish a training plan and ideally a diet strategy or seek advice if you are unsure on what to do to achieve your goal. Larger targets can be broken down into smaller pieces with shorter time frames to make it less intimidating to start. Take note of progression and log results along the way to make sure you are on the right track.

6. Strategy

Running, cycling, strength training, yoga ... what is the most effective training strategy to achieve your goal? Circuit training, running, boxing, yoga, and heavy weight training… There are many methods and they produce a very different results. It’s important that you start off with a program suitable for your body type, fitness level, and something you can learn to enjoy.

7. Train to Become Better at Doing Something

Focus on yourself and your training progress and consider training a process with different stages of learning. As you repeat the movement and make sure your training is progressing, you will start to notice results. The movements you started off with become easier and  you will become better at performing the same movement. You will start to feel stronger, fitter, and leaner, and the sense of achievement can be a massive motivating factor in itself. If you feel insecure or uncertain, it’s a good investment  to seek help from a personal trainer.  

8. Reward Yourself

Remember to reward yourself along the way. Your end goal might be short or long term but schedule in small treats along the way makes the process more enjoyable. Supportive rewards might be new running shoes, a massage, new jeans, or anything else that can positively influence your journey.

Getting started with exercise is all about mental preparation, planning, and structure of training and time. Developing a desire to change, and following a strategy and training programme that you trust, will lead to results makes the "doing" easier to carry through. I wish you all the best of health in the new year, and look forward to seeing a new, fitter, and happier you in a few weeks. :-)