What’s the Best Way to Start Working Out Again?

Last Update: September 29, 2022

It’s a New Year, so of course I feel like I should start working out again. But it’s been so long that I don’t even know where to start. Any tips on how to get excited about getting fit? —James D.

You’re not alone—so many people are ready to get back into shape come January 1. But if it’s been awhile since you hit the weight room and you can’t even remember where your running shoes are, it’s tempting to continue to put it off and wait for a “better time” to get going.

The truth is, it’s always the perfect time to start a fitness regimen. It doesn’t have to mean working out seven days a week for two hours at a time. It can be as little as 10 minutes a couple of times a week—start with what you can do, and slowly up the intensity and length of your workouts.

All that matters is that you stick with it, because through consistency you’ll see serious changes and real health benefits. Here are my six favorite tips for getting motivated—and keeping it up all year.

1. Think about how you want to feel

No doubt, working out and eating right can be seriously challenging at times. Whenever you really want to quit, think about how you’ll feel once you finish your workout. Tired, maybe. Sore, kind of. Accomplished? Definitely. Plus, getting your body moving will get those endorphins pumping through your body, which can help improve mood and regulate pain—so you’ll actually feel better mentally and physically after you sweat sesh. When the going gets tough, think about how proud of yourself you’ll be once you finish.

2. Start a challenge

Humans are competitive by nature (see: every “friendly” game of Monopoly you’ve ever played), so signing up for an exercise challenge can be a really motivating way to get in the habit. Go digital and download apps like MapMyFitness or Nike Training Club to compete with other people, or head to a local yoga studio or Crossfit box. Usually gyms and studios offer specials at the beginning of the year that reward new clients for attending classes consistently, or hitting a goal like finishing 20 pushups.

3. Call your friends

Enroll your friends and family in your fitness journey. The people you’re closest to can help hold you accountable while encouraging you to keep up the good work. Bonus: You might inspire someone to join you for a sweat session!

4. Hire an expert

You’ve got to watch the video to hear my surprising confession, but it’s safe to say I believe in hiring a fitness expert. Working with a coach or trainer will help you achieve your goals more quickly and safely. And they’re built-in support—call up your expert whenever you need advice or encouragement.

5. Create measureable goals

This one is HUGE. Creating a measurable goal like, I will run three days a week for all of January is so much more powerful than, I want to get fit. Measurable, realistic goals help you track your progress and determine whether you’re on the right track, or whether you need to change your approach. I recommend writing your goals down—having something concrete to return to is a tangible reminder of what you’re working towards.

6. Treat yourself

I saved the best for last! Hey, getting in shape can be annoying, inconvenient, and downright difficult. Every once in awhile you deserve to treat yourself. Some of us have the tendency to reward getting through a tough week or challenging workout with a not-so-healthy food—don’t do that. Instead, pick up something that will continually remind you of your hard work: A beautifully designed water bottle, a new foam roller, a standing massage appointment to ease sore muscles. Whatever it may be, treasure and savor your reward—you earned it!

Video credits
Produced and Directed by: Liza Glucoft
Director of Photography: Naeem Munaf
Editor: Stephanie Provence

Michelle Pellizzon received her bachelor’s degree from New York University and certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

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Michelle Pellizzon

Certified health coach and endorphin enthusiast, Michelle is an expert in healthy living and eating. When she's not writing you can find her running trails, reading about nutrition, and eating lots of guacamole.

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