Step One: Realize that You Are Starting Over
This was the hardest part for me. I knew where I was just a few years ago, and it was hard for me to jump into an activity and realize how much stamina and strength I truly had lost. Since I had started playing sports and hiking when I was just a kid, I had never truly been through the process of getting in shape. Since realizing that starting over again is better than not, I had to remind myself that small steps are necessary.
Step Two: Find Something Enjoyable, but Efficient
For me, the most efficient exercise is running. When I am in an exercise rut I hate taking the time to do a routine for almost no effect. I like to feel my workout when I am done. Beginner's yoga alone just doesn't usually cut it for me by itself. The problem is that nobody who isn't already a runner actually likes running. I was lucky enough to like hanging out with my husband (and that he liked me) so I just started jumping in on his runs. For a while we would go on a run, then he would go on another without me, but now I have the stamina built back up and we do the same workout.
Since it took a while for me to enjoy the act of running I mixed in other exercise routines. My favorites are yoga, body weight, and pilates home workouts. I have a couple favorite sites that I use, for yoga I love Yoga with Adrianne, and for more the pilates, body weight type home workouts I like Jillian Michaels videos and Cassey Ho at Blogilates. Like I said before, I am not to the point with my yoga yet where I can say that it is a full days worth of exercise.
Step Three: Make a Routine
This is the easiest thing to do, and also makes the rest easier. I know that every weekday Brett and I will be going on a run first thing in the morning. This is helpful for me because when the alarm goes off in the morning and he gets up I know that if I don't get up I'm letting myself down for nothing but lazy sleep. Three days a week I will also do something supplemental in the afternoon. Usually this is yoga, but sometimes rotates through lifting and pilates. I have found that yoga really helps with my running by keeping me limber and fighting the stiffness. If you are anything like me I also recommend that you make a copy of your schedule that you can check off, whether it is a hard copy checklist or something electronic. Checking off your activity is so satisfying and can be even more motivation.
Step Four: Stick it Out
This ties back into Step One a little bit. I love the way fitness is an infinite progression if you stick it out. This also means that if you aren't consistent, and don't try long enough you won't get the chance to notice the progression. My biggest motivator when I run is to think about how there is no way I would have walked as far as I just ran, even if it was to school or for a desperately needed grocery item, and yet I just ran that by my own free will and actually enjoyed it. If there are weeks (like when I travel) when I slack off on running, the next week I have regressed to some degree. So stick it out. Its easier to keep going that start over, again.
Step Five: Remember, this is Supposed to be Fun!
Nothing makes fitness more difficult than thinking of it as a chore. I will have days where I can't run 2 miles without thinking I will die, but the next day I run 4 like its no problem. Fitness is so mental. Yes, you are supposed to push yourself and its going to be a struggle more than you might like, but that's how it works. Focus on the positives rather than the negatives. I know that I might feel tired for a little bit, but after a good workout and a shower I always feel more awake, centered, and ready to accomplish what needs to be done. Endorphins and energy are great motivation.
So there it is, how I got back into shape in the last year and plan to keep moving forward! Anything else you guys can think of? What motivates you to keep going on the days when you really want a break?