5 Considerations before starting an exercise program

Before leaping into a fitness regime, it’s important to ensure that you are in the right space physically and mentally to do so.  If you are serious about making changes for long term results, you need to consider all aspects of your current health.

Let’s dive into some areas you may need to investigate or seek further clarification on, before you sign up to a fitness program:

Medical Conditions

If it has been a long time since you have exercised, you have any underlying medical conditions, or you are over 40 years old it is recommended that you have a thorough examination by your health practitioner before commencing an exercise program. It can be tempting just to sign up to a program and tick all the ‘right’ boxes on the pre exercise questionnaire to get going but you may be doing yourself more damage than good without seeking medical advice first.

Pre-existing Injuries

Do you have any pre-existing injuries that might impact your ability to perform an exercise routine? Does the program you are interested in help or harm your injury? It can be very frustrating when you ‘just want to get in and do it’ after you have been down and out with an injury, but if you try to return to exercise before your body is ready you risk aggravating your situation which could in turn take you out of the scene for longer!

Ensure that you seek advice from medical professional to see if you are ready to start exercising again, ask if there are any modifications you should be doing to assist your situation. You can take this detail back to the trainer you are looking to sign with and they will be able to provide some advice on how best to use their programs.

Right Clothing and Footwear

You’re working out from home so bras and shoes are optional right? Well, I wouldn’t recommend it… as tempting as it is just to get the workout done in your pyjamas, there could be significant flow on scenarios if you don’t dress appropriately. Doing some star jumps without the correct breast support could result in a very painful workout… without a supportive sports bra you could end up with a range of back, neck and shoulder pain.

It’s much the same with footwear… investing in a decent pair of shoes to workout in will provide many benefits. Having the right type of shoe for you can assist with impact starting through the feet, heels and calves which ultimately has a flow on effect traveling up your legs and into your back! Shoes also provide that extra protection if you were to slip with a weight or dumbbell and drop this on your foot. Invest in the right support with the physical elements and this is a sure way to improve your workout experience.

Mindset

Are you in the right place emotionally to start a fitness program? A lot of people sign up for a program only to fall off the wagon after a few weeks (sometimes even sooner, or never actually start at all!) A reason that could contribute to this is your mindset. If you are not emotionally ready to commit to this new routine, chances are that you won’t stick to it. If you are finding that you have increasing levels of anxiety or mood swings when it comes to the idea of working out, explore into those feelings further and try to break down the barriers behind this. Being self-aware is a very powerful tool for self-growth and improvement.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting goals is a must to have a measurement to your success, it’s an even better strategy to make your goals SMART so you can track your progress and use this as motivation as well. Here is an example for you

  • Specific – e.g. A broad statement like ‘I want to be healthy’ is too vague… be specific with something like ‘I will lose weight’.
  • Measurable – e.g. You need a number of some sort to measure your success, add a statement of ‘I will lose 5% of my current body fat’
  • Achievable – e.g. Be realistic on your goal, while its great to set big dreams, in this case it can be demotivating if you set yourself a task that is virtually impossible to complete. Best to set smaller benchmarks to achieve to keep the motivation and consistency going in order to reach that bigger milestone.
  • Relevant – e.g. make sure the goal resonates with you! If you’re not really that interested in loosing weight, then change your goal to something else that you are excited and motivated by.
  • Time Based – e.g. create your deadline, when are you going to accomplish this by?

So what is the SMART goal from all of this: I will loose 5% body fat before Lisa’s wedding in 3 months’ time so I can wear the dress I bought a size too small.

If you are really struggling to set up some goals, check in with a program you are looking at investing in – they may have some tools you can use to guide you through this process. If this is feeling a little overwhelming to breakdown, grab a cuppa and a quite space with a pen and paper and just jot down some notes on things you would like to achieve. Once you have this part out, you can then apply the other principals around this to turn them into SMART goals.

Taking some time to plan out all of these details will help you prepare mentally and physically for your health and fitness journey. Don’t rush in on the first thing you see – take some time to reflect on everything you need to do to set yourself up for the ultimate success. Good Luck!