A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Fitness Routine You’ll Stick To

No, it’s not a new year, but that doesn’t mean now isn’t the perfect time to start your fitness journey. We spoke with Katz JCC’s personal trainer coordinator, Rachel Hahn, to get some tips to help you jumpstart your fitness routine. 

Be realistic (about your goals) 

Hahn starts every new client’s fitness journey by asking one question: What brought you here? Maybe a doctor said you need to lose some weight? Maybe you’re over being tired after climbing a flight of stairs? Maybe you want to feel more energized each day? Whatever the reason, though, she emphasizes that setting realistic goals is key to a successful fitness journey. 

“I have people who come in and have never trained and say, ‘I want to do a triathlon with my friend. It’s in 3 weeks.’” she says. “That’s just not possible, and you’re going to set yourself up for failure.” 

Start small 

If this is your first time working out – or even if it’s been a while – odds are you’ll be starting off at, or close to, square one. That means, just because you see your friend doing a tough mudder every other weekend, it doesn’t mean you have to. It’s important to figure out what works for you, says Hahn, and that’s going to be different for each person. 

Hahn recommends walking as a starting point to gauge your fitness level. See if your gym offers complimentary time with a personal trainer, and take advantage of that to help find your limits and determine how you should start your fitness journey.  

Find what you like 

Once you’ve found a starting point, it’s time to have fun. There are so many kinds of workouts to choose from, and you should try them all, says Hahn. It’s a great way to find your perfect activity – whether that’s zumba, aquarobics, free weights or cardio – which will help you stick to your routine. Hahn even recommends calling your gym to find out everything they have to offer. 

Consistency is key

Not only will consistency help you see results, but sticking to a regular workout schedule will help you build a habit. And meeting with a personal trainer each week will give you even more accountability.

“If you’re meeting someone every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 am, you’re going to get used to being at the gym every week at that time,” says Hahn. “It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable. Then once you’re used to that, maybe it’s time to add another day at the gym on your own.” 

Bring a buddy 

Trying something new can be scary, but we’re huge fans of having someone there for emotional support. Hahn says bringing someone with you when trying out a new gym can be a great way to get past any discomfort from venturing into a new space. Plus, that friend can give you an extra level of accountability and help you stick to your new routine.

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