How to Start Working Out—and Find a Fitness Routine That Sticks
How many times have you thought to yourself, "I need to start working out," without doing anything about it? There are just too many tempting excuses out there—the couch beckons, you just washed your hair, your sports bras are all dirty, or you just…don't feel like it. And it's challenging to know where or how to even start, especially if you've never really had a workout plan or let physical activity fall by the wayside. But you're far from alone—and it's never too late to begin!
The struggle is real, agrees fitness trainer Kayla Itsines, co-founder and head trainer of Sweat, the health and fitness app, who hears it often from her millions of Instagram followers and workout devotees. To start working out and really stick with exercise, make it a habit instead of relying on motivation. Motivation changes over time, Itsines says, but a habit will never let you down: "Habits help you push forward even when you have low motivation."
Another big mental barrier for people is that it takes a little patience to get going. Getting to a point where working out is as mindless as combing your hair can take about two months, says Sandy Joy Weston, M. Ed., an exercise physiologist and the author of My 30-Day Reset Journal. The secret is repetition plus consistent timing and cues, she says. Here's why: The brain creates neuronal connections when you do something, and with each repetition, the connections get stronger and the action takes less effort.
The trickiest part, of course, is making that first step. To get you finally up and moving, we asked fitness experts and psychologists for their best-ever advice on how to start (and keep) working out, whether you're just beginning or getting back into it after a lull. With a little patience and determination, you'll be working up a healthy sweat in no time. Your body and mind will thank you.