Currently, I am 33,000 feet up in the sky flying to Florida writing this blog post. I keep getting distracted by the gorgeous views of the city lights in the night time (I rarely fly at night!) But anyway, I understand that working out can be boring. You do the same thing every day, go to the same place every day… yeah not so fun. I was in the same boat, but once I tried different things I fell in love with exercise again. Here are 10 things you should try during your first year of working out.
1| Different types of workouts
Whenever I go to the gym I see one of two things. I see people slaving away at cardio and I see heavy weight lifting. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are both fine methods of exercise, but it shouldn’t be your only method. When I first started working out (back about six years now - holy shoot!) all I did was cardio. I slaved away at the elliptical for 45 - 60 minutes a day and while I put on a happy face I was actually hating it. It took all my energy to drag myself to the gym to be on that dang elliptical for close to an hour every day. It sucked. Little did I know there was a whole world of different kinds of exercise out there. Yoga, pilates, body weight, HIIT, LISS… I could go on and on!
I ended up reaching a plateau and was utterly discouraged that I wasn’t getting anymore progress. My suggestion to you is to not do what I did. Don’t stick with just one form of exercise. Branch out and try new things. When I first tried pilates I learned new exercises that totally firmed up my booty - something I would’ve never known about if I hadn’t have done it.
2| Join a workout group
I wish I would’ve done this when I first started working out. Having a group of friends that get what you’re doing is so important. You can do this by going to workout classes at your local gym and meeting some new friends. Or you can go on Instagram and be apart of the #fitfam (I’m serious haha). Whichever way you go about it, workout friends are going to lift you up when you’re feeling down, encourage you when you aren’t feeling up to it and most of all, they’ll 100% understand what you’re going through and even be able to give you advice. One year ago I decided to join a fit fam on IG and it completely changed my life. Posting on IG gave me accountability and made me work harder than ever. It also gave me friends I’ll have for a lifetime and that I know I can count on even outside of the gym.
3| Purchase a fitness watch
Purchasing a fitness watch was a game changer for me. I purchased my first one in January of 2015 and I was more motivated than ever to workout and get my steps in. There are so many different kinds of fitness watches out there (I have a review on three of them here!) and I’ve had three so far, but my favorite would be any of the Polar watches because they track your heart rate accurately. Trust me when I say you’ll be addicted to getting your step count up after purchasing a fitness watch!
4| Run a race
Running a race is a great way to get in shape and if you’re like me, having a goal makes working out a lot easier and more fun to do. You don’t have to run a marathon, but a 5K would be a good start. Plus, there are plenty of “Couch to 5K” programs out there to help you achieve that goal. I’ve yet to do this myself, but it is on my bucket list to do a half marathon soon! I can assure you though, once you train and reach your goal you’ll want to keep making new goals and keep improving yourself.
5| Complete a workout challenge
This can be as simple as a 30 day workout challenge (I have some in my resource collection!) or you can do something longer. When I started working out again a year ago I decided the only way I’d be able to stick with it is if I had a challenge. So I started a three month workout challenge and I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d complete it (I actually started it and quit after four weeks, but then started again a month later and finished it). After I completed it I ended up repeating it two more times! Never underestimate the power of a good challenge to get you motivated and make working out and living a healthy lifestyle a habit.
6| Recruit a gym buddy
Everything is more fun when you have a partner in crime and not to mention you’ll be able to go through everything together; you’ll never be alone! Ask a friend to be your gym buddy so you both can stay accountable, but I must caution you, make sure whoever you recruit is up for it and will be committed to it. I’ve had quite a few gym buddies who were “committed” for the first couple of weeks and then bailed on me. Although there is no foolproof way to ensure this doesn’t happen, asking them if they really want to and what their goals are can help you decide on a good gym buddy. Also, if your gym buddy seems to want to quit, it’s part of your responsibility to help encourage them to keep going - they’re counting on you and you’re counting on them.
7| Learn to cook
By this I don’t mean boiling some water and making pasta (even though that sounds delicious right now!) I mean, take the time and learn how to cook; take a cooking class even! Learn about spices and which ones go well together. Follow a few recipes to get the hang of it and soon enough you’ll find yourself cooking up your own creations. Learning to cook is a lot of fun and seriously delicious. My family is always asking me to make them food and tell me how good my meals look. Also, cooking doesn’t have to be boring. Get creative with it and you’ll find that learning to cook may have been the best decision you’ve ever made!
8| Create your own workouts
You don’t have to be a personal trainer to create your own workouts. I create my own all the time now and I love it. Wanna work your butt more? Wanna spend more time on your arms? Stop looking for pre-made workouts that don’t have what you’re looking for and create your own! Research different forms of exercises and how to properly do them and put together a 30 minute workout. I love creating my own body weight workouts and HIIT workouts; it’s a great way for me to stay motivated and ensure working out isn’t boring.
9| Take progress pictures/videos and compare them
I seriously wish I did this when I first started working out because now I don’t have any photos of how I was from the beginning and I’d really love to see a comparison of then and now. Taking photos of yourself from the front, side and back when you first start out can be embarrassing, but the feeling you get when you compare those photos one or two months later is amazing! It’ll motivate you and keep you accountable. I also like to take videos of myself doing workouts so I can first of all, improve my form, and second of all, compare it to the same workout a month later to see how my form has improved!
10| Try different foods
I used to be very narrow minded when it came to different foods. Vegan and vegetarian were just weird and I would never be caught eating like that, at least so I thought. Earlier this year I decided to branch out. Who cares if it’s vegan or vegetarian? I wanted to experiment and try foods that had more plant based protein in it and so I did. I wouldn’t call myself a vegan because I still eat meat from time to time, but I do love plant based meals. I love how creative you can get with them and how great I feel after I eat them. If I would’ve stuck with my old ways I would’ve never experienced amazing food. I would recommend to anyone to branch out, go to a restaurant that has food you wouldn’t normally eat. Eat vegetables you think look weird and be shocked by how good some of them actually are. Trying different foods will make your healthy lifestyle more fun!