By Amanda Huffman
Maybe your goal for this summer was to start working out but you have been so busy that you haven’t gotten around to starting your fitness journey. The good news is that summer isn’t over yet and there is still plenty of time to start working out and getting healthy. And, even better, you can use the same fitness tools in your fitness plan as life changes, summer comes to a close and schools start again.
Here are 5 tips to help you kickstart your fitness journey this summer. If you have already started your fitness plan, this advice will help keep you going.
1. Set a goal
When it comes to fitness, there are a lot of options in terms of goals. Often, people think about a goal weight, but there are other ways to get motivated. A great example is signing up for a 5K. If you sign up for a race of any distance you will have created a SMART goal. It will give you focus and a specific timeframe to complete the goal. Other fitness goals could be running a certain distance or time without stopping, lifting a certain weight, tracking body fat, or completing a paid program.
2. Start small
One of the biggest mistakes I have seen when people begin their fitness journey is starting off too extreme. Not only can you quickly burn out from these high-intensity workouts, but without a foundation, this can quickly lead to an injury.
Instead, start where you are. Maybe this means getting out of the house three times a week to go for a walk, which is a great place to start. You could incorporate weight lifting by getting 2- to 3-pound weights and carrying them with you on your walk. Those weights add up fast when walking! You could also use those same small weights on repetitive exercises such as bicep curls, overhead presses, Tricep kickbacks, etc. Just remember to start small and keep moving forward one step at a time.
3. Modification doesn’t mean it isn’t a good workout
Sticking with the theme of starting small, you could try a fitness workout (HITT, strength training, cardio) and instead of following the more intense workout follow the modified version. I think sometimes using modifications gives people the feeling that they are not doing enough. But the modifier is there to help you get to your full potential. Even though I am very active, sometimes the modifier option is the best choice for me. It could be because it isn’t a good day for me or because I haven’t built up my strength. Modifying exercises help you build strength to get to where you want to be.
4. Don’t do it alone
Another great way to achieve your fitness goals is to find someone to hold you accountable. It may be as simple as meeting another person to work out regularly with you. Meeting in person isn’t required— work together virtually. You could have weekly check-ins, post workouts to keep each other encouraged, or even use the feature on some watches/fitness trackers that allow you to have competitions so you can participate with friends. Perhaps you could be like my friend who has been posting regularly on Facebook that she is committed to working out and losing weight. She doesn’t have a one-on-one accountability partner but instead, she is using social media to hold her accountable.
5. Give yourself grace
It is important to give yourself grace when you start working out. Life happens. If you miss a day, week, or even a month, there isn’t any reason you can’t start again. Life is about moving forward toward a goal and if there are bumps along the way, you readjust and figure out a new plan. If you have tried to work out before and it hasn’t worked, try some of the tips above and see if you can add fitness to your regular routine.
Pro Tip: There are free workout videos on YouTube so you don’t have to start by investing lots of money in a program.
Now you need to take the first step to make your fitness goals a reality. Set a goal and get started. Make a plan, talk to a friend, or join a community fitness group. Just take that first step and you will start making progress toward your goal.
Amanda is a military veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer who served on a combat deployment with the Army in Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career in the Space Force. Amanda is the host of the Women of the Military podcast. There she shares the stories of women who have served or are serving in the military. The podcast has over 200 episodes and over 100K downloads. Amanda is also an author and has published two books. Her first book, Women of the Military tells the stories of 28 military women who served in the military. Her second book, A Girl’s Guide to Military Service, is the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Winner for Teen Non Fiction. It is a guide for high school girls considering military service to help them build a strong foundation for their future career. She also works as a freelance writer and has been featured in a number of military publications including The War Horse, Military.com, Military Families Magazine, Clearance Jobs, Military Spouse Magazine, and more.