What to do before you start a fitness program?

Congratulations!  You’ve made the decision to commit to embarking on a life changing journey.  Now, this isn’t a short trip that stops at 6 weeks, right?  Hence my above statement of “life changing journey”.

As busy Mom’s, whether we are stay-at-home Mom’s, working Mom’s or empty nested Mom’s, we have busy lives!  And we tend to live them in the near and not-so-distant future.  So thinking 6-weeks ahead of time is almost impossible.  Heck, I barely can wrap my head around tomorrow, until I finish with TODAY!

Sound familiar?

In the efforts for it truly to be a life-long, life changing journey, you have to switch your mentality.  With that, comes a lot of questions, feelings, actions and confusion.

Mostly, what do I do before I start?

It’s not all about ripping open your new home workout program and pushing play, or signing up for a year long membership at your neighborhood gym and going.  You have to take action steps to set yourself up for success and reward.

So, what do you do before you start a workout program?

  1. Commit to it as a new lifestyle. The sooner you can recognize this is a new lifestyle you are embarking on, the better off you’ll be and the sooner you can embrace and celebrate those small successes.  Remember, it’s not a race to the end.
  2. Read/Preview Your Workout/Nutrition Plan.  This is critical when starting a workout program – especially the Beachbody programs.  They came with a fitness and nutrition guide for a reason!  READ THEM!  Cover to cover and over again!  Know what to expect!  Research the foods that are recommended and start circling your favorites and what you want prepare, so as you hit the store, you’ll be able to start Day 1 with a bang!  Also, preview your workouts or the “WATCH THIS” video, before you start. There is imperative information that you’ll need to know and absorb, as you start.  This is important information coming from the professionals!  From the trainers!!
  3. Purge your pantryOut with the old, in with the new.  In the efforts of being successful with your new transformation, the root of it stems from your kitchen.  Restock with fresh and clean foods that are recommended from your workout programsnutrition guide.  Things to get rid of:
    1. Process or packaged foods
    2. MSG laden foods (privy in most pre-packaged meals, canned soups, etc)
    3. Artificial Sweeteners, sugary foods and/or foods sweetened artificially (High-Fructose corn syrup, Splenda, Equal).
    4. Any and all JUNK FOOD (soft drinks, candy, chips, ice cream…you get the drill)
    5. Non-Fat/Fat-Free foods.  They are typical loaded with additives, chemicals and artificial flavoring.
  4. Weight Yourself.  Go ahead…step on the scale. It will be quick, so just get it over with. Once you do it, put the scale away and don’t bring it out for another 30-days.  The worst thing you can do is weigh daily or weekly.  Each 30-day phase, be sure to use the same scale and weigh at the same time of the day as your last weigh in.   This will be your best bet to see measurable results.
  5. Take your Before Picture.  Sounds awful, daunting and down right frightening, right?  Well, it’s amazing how powerful these pictures can be when that day comes about that you just aren’t “feeling the day’s workout”, had a bad day or are just plain tired.  Trust, me, when I started my first round of P90X, I kept that before picture in the fore front of my mind and visible daily.  This before picture will be seared in your brain…trust me! Some tips for taking your before pictures:

*  Take in AM

(Suggested attire for women: sports top & shorts; Men: shorts only – DON’T SUCK IN OR PUSH OUT YOUR GUT):

* Picture angles:

i.      Front view; arms at side.

ii.      Front view; arms flexed at 90 degrees

iii.      Side view (right and left)

iv.      Back side; arms at side.

v.      Back side; arms flexed at 90 degrees

*  SAVE THEM.

(Create a folder on your computer for “before” pictures.)

  1. Print out one picture and carry it with you in your purse, diaper bag or man bag.  It’s powerful to refer to it often.
  2. Repeat every 30 days to mark and celebrate success.
  3. Do your Before Measurements.Yes, much like your before pictures, this isn’t very pleasant either.  But, that’s why we are embarking on this, right?  Some tips for taking your before measurements.
    1. Take in AM
    2. What to measure (write it down!): waist, hips, thighs (both), biceps, chest, neck
  4. Get your Body Fat %. This may  just be your wake up call! You can get a cheap Fat Caliper (skin fold test) at any health or sports store, go visit a gym and have a trainer take it or your physician.  Regardless, which method you use, be sure it’s the same every 30 days.
  5. Repeat every 30 days to mark and celebrate success.
  6. Keep a Journal or Blog about it. This can be an emotional journey for many.  Especially if you are a new Mom, hit a little Post-Pregnancy Depression (PPD) or that seasoned/empty nested Mom that can now focus on herself.  What to write about?
    1. How you feel.  Getting your emotions out on paper or on computer can be powerful.
    2. Any emotions you experience.
    3. Daily thoughts. Whether is a revelation in Motherhood or life in general.
    4. Successes.  As you embark on this journey, you’ll reach small success points and you should CELEBRATE those.
    5. Catalog or time stamp your journey.  In 3 years, would be interesting to reflect back and reflect back on what you experience and how your responded.
  7. Set Goals and Expectations.  These should be small and obtainable.  Don’t set out with the “I have to shed 50lbs in the first month or else”, mentality.  Right there, you set yourself up for failure.  Tips for goal setting:
    1. I will get up at ___:___AM/PM every morning (for me, it’s 5:15am EVERY morning – yup, only time the house is MINE and QUIET…try it!  I dare ya.)
    2. I will commit to celebrating every 30 days of commitment.
    3. I will plan my meals out ahead of time. Last minute planning doesn’t always work out for us busy Mommy’s!
  8. Get Free Online Support.  My favorite part before my workout commences at 5:15am, is logging into our online SuperGym, and logging into my workout for the day.  Here I get to see who’s up with me, doing the same thing.  Not to mention, I’m qualifying myself for the daily cash prices.  SCORE.  But cash prizes aside, you have FREE online support from ME and a host of other people going about their respective journey’s.  Other ideas:
    1. Myfitnesspal.com
    2. FitDay.com
    3. Facebook Groups
    4. Smartphone Apps (there are a TON!!)
  9. Get Accountable.  Find an accountability partner or forum that you can stay committed to and help keep you on track.  It’s powerful when you can buddy up with a friend when starting with a new program or meet people on the same journey, via websites and forums.  Most sites and forums even have nutrition trackers.  Some of my favorites:
    1. Teambeachbody.com (get a your free account here)
    2. Myfitnesspal.com
    3. Fitday.com
    4. Sparkspeople.com

Getting started on your journey to better health can only be the BEST thing you can do for yourself, your future and those that look to you for inspiration.  But, getting on that path can be challenging.  Set yourself up for success by following these basic steps and feel free to reach out to me, for any support, advice or information you needed.

Wishing you the very best on your amazing journey.

Your partner in health & fitness.

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