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Five Ways To Start & Stay on a Fitness Journey

You are about to be inundated with articles about diet trends and fitness challenges. Sometimes that first step is the hardest.

1. It's about YOU!

Stop comparing.

It's only natural to want to try something because someone we know suggested it. But, then we are set up to believe we can achieve results based on someone else's experience. Remember, someone else's suggestion gets us in the door, the rest is up to us. There are over 7 billion people in the world and only one of you so stop comparing your body and everything you've experienced to anyone else. It just doesn't work. Go into your workout with this mindset because every active move you make benefits YOUR body. The only person you need to compare yourself to, is who you were yesterday.

2. Take your time. This is about longevity.

My parents in their first Yoga class with me instructing.

If you are reading this, you or someone you know is probably at the beginning of a fitness journey and not training for a bodybuilding contest or the Boston marathon. Those are amazing goals but this is not THAT guide. This guide shows you what it takes to help you crawl. The run is later. Our bodies were designed to move. While it's inevitable that with age our mobility transforms, we know that if we don't move it, we lose it! Pick workouts that allow for growth. Don't be ashamed if you are more comfortable handling 2-3 pound weights when others are doing 5-8. Remember, it's all about you right? I knew that my days of teaching Zumba 4-5 times a week were numbered, so I started practicing Yoga and added more strength training to my workouts to strengthen my bones which I realize sounds so over 40. Be mindful you are in this for the long haul.

3. Have a daily movement plan, and a backup plan.

Planned on going to the gym and forgot your shoes at home? Ran late to class because of traffic and you thought why bother even going in? Having a backup plan involves discipline. In your downtime, save a bunch of 20 minute or longer YouTube workouts so that they are ready to go when you need them. If you go to a gym, and are running late, consider showing up anyway to your cardio class and stay for the first half of the next one. Most instructors don't mind this especially if the class involves loud music, and little to no equipment. Be sure to warmup first and hang in the back to avoid disruption. The point is, make your activity as routine as brushing your teeth. You just do it.

4. Surround yourself with supportive people.

Without trying to go too dark, I was surprised as a fitness instructor hearing stories about how many people experienced negativity from family members or close friends when they decided to make healthy lifestyle changes. If you encounter resistance rather than encouragement from your loved ones, most likely, their trepidation is rooted in fear of change. Will you be different? Will you try to impose your new choices on them? Will you not want to be around them anymore? I am not a therapist. But, I CAN tell you that you already know deep down what is healthy and what is not when it comes to relationships. Fear of change can be totally normal, but if someone is against you wanting to treat your body with the respect it deserves and the miracle that it is, then the deeper issue has nothing to do with fitness. Consider talking to a professional to help navigate that and remember what you deserve.

I taught Zumba to this group for over 3 years. We became such a family!

5. Make it a total body experience. Don't get stuck.

When you find a fitness format that you REALLY love, it's easy to stick with it, right? Be careful not to neglect your whole body. Dance fitness formats are amazing for cardio, burning calories and channeling your inner Beyoncé. But you need strength, and you need to stretch, and you need to rest. Focusing on only one or even just two of these components does not a healthy body make. Your body is so complex, and because of all of its different functions, your workouts need to reflect that. If you walk, consider holding light weights while on your route. Stretch ten minutes more on your own after your dance fitness class. When I owned a fitness studio, I often heard form clients that one format was too boring, or one was too hard. There will always be a reason why you don't want to do something. Be stronger than your excuses. You may not like everything you do, but your body will thank you.

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