Tuesday Workout of the Week: How to Get Started with a Fitness Program

How do you get started with a fitness program? Especially if you’re coming at it after a long layoff (think injury, formerly sedentary lifestyle, post-pregnancy)? One of my nearest and dearest buds let me have the straight scoop last week: Every48 can sometimes seem a tad, shall we say, intimidating. Something about those marathons, perhaps.

Here's the starting line. And yes, the sky's the limit. Get started with a workout program today - doing whatever you can do, as often as you can do it. (Image courtesy of sippakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Here’s the starting line. And yes, the sky’s the limit. Get started with a workout program today – doing whatever you can do, as often as you can do it. (Image courtesy of sippakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

We can go back and forth on whether I’ve got all my exercise marbles together (quick answer: more than I used to, still working on being a little more consistent about the whole healthy-lifestyle thing, but most days are good ones now). But we can also dive into the theme of Getting Started. How to start moving when you have no idea how to start.

So, here’s what I did to start.

I woke up in the fall of 2008. That was when the “before photo” of me was taken (make no mistake, I was not running in that race – I was mostly walking, and unhappily too: I’d pulled an Achilles tendon earlier that fall, because I was too heavy to be running safely). I realized I had major work to do. And I decided to start slowly, but consistently.

I house-sat for my cousin and her partner in Monterey while they jetted off to a cool December vacation in Peru and Ecuador. And I bought a one-month pass to a local yoga studio, and made myself go there every day.

Nothing about that first month was perfect. But what that first month really did was teach me about consistency. Show up. Do your best. Don’t worry what the pretzel-yogi next to you is doing. And don’t worry too much about your body and what it can and cannot do right now. Just show up. Enjoy the movement. (And can I just say it? Definitely find a class with an instructor you love. I just loved my time at Bikram Yoga Monterey – Emily in particular is a wonderful instructor, but everyone there is just great.)

Then I got home. And I kept on moving. But it was that first month of daily yoga classes that got me started with the habit of being active.

And here’s what some of my friends did.

I polled ’em on Facebook this week. Here’s what six of them said about how they first got started with a workout program:

“Running after a toddler!!”

“My parents took me cross country skiing when I was 13. It was the first time I’d really exercised. After that, I started running a mile a day. Every day I ran, I could put a star on my calendar. Sometimes I ran just to be able to put the star on.”

“I found a parcour course along the waterfront in Tacoma. It combined a mile run with fifteen exercise stations. I havent stopped execising since we did this. We run around Lake Union four days a week and lift weights the remaining three.”

“I started walking the dog. Going further and trying to go faster as I got in better shape. Now I regularly go at least 2 miles each day at about a 15 minute pace. Not too bad I think.”

I started in the pool. 3 laps or 6 lengths and get out before I had a heart attack my heart was beating so hard. The goal was to come back the next day.” 

“Girlfriend challenged me to do a half marathon to celebrate my 40th birthday. And I was not a runner.”

So, there you go. Got some ideas? That first workout is your WOW – the workout of the week, the workout that gets you going. Pick one. Go.

Yesterday’s #Every48 workout: Oh, my goodness…I got to RUN! I did a five-miler at Seattle’s lovely Seward Park – two minutes of walking after running each mile. But for the first time in a month, more running than walking. Yay!


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