I exercised every day for 30 days. Yes, even when I had a headache. Even when I had “other things to do”. Even when the kids were clamoring in the other room. I worked out every single day for a solid month. Now that I know it’s possible, I’m ready to push myself a little farther. I have had the same goals for so long and I’m finally feeling like I’m going to reach them! Maybe you’re thinking about starting an exercise routine? Here’s what I learned after working out for 30 days in a row.
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Starting an Exercise Routine
I know what you’re thinking. Because I thought the same things too. Every week it was, “Eh, I’ll start again on Monday”. And then Monday would roll around, I’d eat something I shouldn’t have or I made an excuse on why I couldn’t exercise. And pretty soon it was Friday again and I was making the promise to myself that I’d restart on Monday.
But that Monday never came. Months went by. I started backtracking. A few pounds crept back on. My clothes didn’t fit and everything was snug in all the wrong places. But even worse, I felt terrible. I had no energy. My body hurt. I felt yucky inside and out. My motivation was totally gone. And I just didn’t even know where to start.
Nobody Can Start Something Except YOU
One thing I’ve learned about starting back into a diet and exercise program is that nobody can force it on you. YOU have to be ready. YOU have to be committed to it. Otherwise you’re just going to drag your feet, make excuses and eventually quit. When I’ve felt pressured to work out, I won’t do it (just out of spite sometimes!)
Maybe you’re not ready today. Maybe you’re not ready this Monday. But one of these Mondays, you’ll be ready. And these are the things I learned in those first 30 days of exercising when I was starting my exercise routine. Maybe they’ll help you on your fitness journey!
1. You CAN Be Healthier Now Than Before
Take each workout as they come. One day at a time, you know that old saying. It’s totally true. While it’s wonderful to have a goal in mind for yourself, it’s more important to just take each day and make it count. If you work out today, you’ll be healthier than you were yesterday.
2. Plan Your Start Date
If you just know that this Monday is finally going to be the day you’re starting an exercise routine, then make the plans in advance. Circle the date on the calendar, print up your workout sheets, have your workout clothes washed, set out your equipment, get your grocery shopping done based on your diet plan and have your food bought and prepped. You want to start Monday with a bang!
3. A Calendar is Motivating
For me, there is nothing like crossing off each day on my calendar as I complete the workout. I printed out the 21 Day Fix workout program and after each day, I’d draw a line through it and share on my Instagram stories (#21DayFix and #Beachbody!)
4. You’re Going to Need a Lot of Workout Clothes!
If you’re seriously working out, you’re going to sweat! After doing my working out I’m POURING sweat. I peel off those sopping wet workout clothes and jump in an ice cold shower immediately. If you’re working out every day, make sure you have plenty of well-fitting workout clothes because you’re going to be doing a lot of laundry!
5. Workout Clothes Are Incentive
And on that note, workout clothes are an awesome incentive to keep up the exercise. After the first week of doing A Little Obsessed, I realized I was going to need better sports bras. Having cute and comfortable exercise clothes to put on each morning is definitely a workout incentive. Instead of treating yourself to food after hitting a goal, go out and buy yourself a new workout outfit as a reward!
6. I Found My Best Time
While I’m usually a night owl, that time slot is taken with writing/blogging. I find it best to get my workouts done first thing in the morning so that nothing stands in the way. Right away, I put on my workout clothes when I get up. After doing the school drop off, I put the toddler in her high chair with Sesame Street (no judgement!) and do my 30 minutes of exercise. A quick shower, dressed and I’m done! Finding your best time of the day where interruptions are minimal is crucial to sticking with your program.
7. Invest in the Right Equipment
Certain workout programs require different equipment. For instance, A Little Obsessed (and 80 Day Obsession) use Resistance Loops and Strength Slides & Booties in the workouts. I did the routines but didn’t have the loops or the sliders, so I know this inhibited me from getting the full workout results. Make sure to look at the program before starting to give you time to order what you need to get the best results. Fortunately you don’t need a ton of stuff to be successful. The Core Comfort Mat, dumbbells in varying weights and of course, proper workout shoes are ideal.
8. Online Communities Offer Great Support
While it’s okay working out alone at home, I have to admit that having a cheerleader in your corner is important. I love to share after my workout, talk about my ups and downs, see what’s working for others and help support another person wherever I can. Even if you think you don’t need this, everyone can use some encouragement. Find an online group or even just follow the program hashtags to see success stories from others who are doing the workout.
9. Variety Kept Me Coming Back
When I was a teenager I had an exercise tape. One exercise tape. And my mom and I would do it together before bed. After a short while we were bored out of our mind with repeating that same tape day after day and we stopped the workouts. Thank goodness there are so many varieties of exercises to do on Beachbody on Demand. Feeling like pushing yourself? Needing a great yoga stretch? Wanting a weight lifting challenge? They have it all right there for you to stream on your laptop, computer, smart TV, tablet or phone, wherever you are. No more boring one-note workouts.
10. It’s Alright to Change If Something Didn’t Work for Me
After purchasing Beachbody on Demand, I started off trying A Little Obsessed. I did two rounds of this program. It was tough for me, having not done regular workouts in a loooong time. It wasn’t impossible but it was hard. And my back was feeling it a little too much so I decided to ease into things more. I scaled back my thoughts about jumping into 80 Day Obsession just yet and decided to do a few rounds of 21 Day Fix first. I want to get my body strong and make sure I don’t injure myself. If you’re not enjoying a particular workout or you’re just not feeling it, feel free to switch. That’s what I love about Beachbody on Demand; I can do a different program every single day if I want to!
11. Modifying Doesn’t Mean Failure
I’m almost 45 years old. I don’t feel like I have to prove anything to anyone anymore. So I’m not going to feel bad about myself when I have to step back from doing full program and do the modified exercises instead. There are certainly parts of the routines when I do the harder exercise and other times when I have to do the modified. No big deal, I’m still moving!
12. I Leaked
The first day of A Little Obsessed when I did a jumping jack, I was reminded quickly why I don’t do jumping jacks. My bladder didn’t handle it well and now I always wear a pad before I start working out. Better safe than sorry! And now I don’t skip any workout moves and I even do the jumping jacks.
13. I Want to Be a Good Example
After a week of exercising, my toddler started noticing. She’d say, “Exercise, mama?” Some days I let her join me for the ending stretches and she loves following along with the video. I want to be a good example of healthy living for my children. Exercise is a daily thing, no excuses. Good eating is important, whether you’re young or old. I want my kids to know that. And I have to live it out for them because they are watching.
14. My Body is Different Than It Was 20 Years Ago
When I was in college, I took every dance class that was offered. This was in addition to the 20 hours I was teaching at various dance studios and rec centers and the many hours dancing in productions. I’d even get to school at 6 am to jog the track before classes! My body was always in workout wear and I was moving a lot. But was I healthy? Nope.
I was leaving the house without ever packing a snack or a lunch. I was eating fast food three times a day. Sure I had great stamina but I was far from healthy. What I could “get away with” back then, I can’t do now. My metabolism isn’t the same. My joints aren’t the same. I’ve had wrist surgery, which makes push ups and planks very hard for me. I’m not going to pretend I’m 20 years old. But I’m also not 100 years old and I can do more than I have been. I will continue to do what is best for me and my body; Your mileage may vary.
15. My Body is Not the Same After Birthing 3 Children
Just like the leaky bladder issue, I’ve found that my body just isn’t the same as it was before having kids. I bounced back quickly after my second but after having my third, I’ve struggled. I had a rough pregnancy and delivery, which has affected my flexibility and given me back problems. But this shouldn’t mean I do nothing. I’ve been able to adjust the workouts to suit me and my post-baby body. Just keep moving…
16. Soreness Isn’t a Bad Thing
Wowwy, after the first few days of workout I was beginning to wonder if sore muscles were going to be my new norm. Fortunately my body is adjusting and I’m much less sore after 30 days than I was that first week.
17. Massage It Out
If you’re having a kinked muscle, I’m learning to work that out with massage. Daily stretching helps, as does a foam roller. Or make a professional massage on of your “treats” as incentive for hitting your goals and sticking to your routine.
18. Supplements Helped
I’d never considered adding supplements to my diet and exercise routine (“Doesn’t a daily vitamin do enough?”). But I ordered the Beachbody On Demand Performance Pack when I started working out and this included Energize and Recover. I take them regularly; Energize about 20 minutes before my workout and Recover within 30 minutes after my workout. I didn’t realize how much they were helping until I didn’t take them a few times! I didn’t have as much stamina when I didn’t take the Energize before exercising. And I was ridiculously sore for days after forgetting to drink the Recover. Now, instead of writing off supplements, I say give them a try and see if they work just as well for you (I know I don’t want to exercise without them!)
19. I Want to Eat Better
If I’m putting in the time and energy to work out, I’m not going to RUIN my effort by eating junk. Working out regularly makes me want to eat better. I want to fuel my body with the best things. That’s not to say I don’t still love pizza and chocolate because I do. But I don’t have to eat it as often as I did (and I’m surprisingly not craving it either).
20. I Need to Have the Right Foods on Hand
Having the right foods ready to go in the fridge has been the best thing for my diet. If you’re going to be eating the right foods, you need to stock up. Read your list of foods and figure out how much and what you should be eating each day.
I’m not too big on meal prepping (probably because I’m working from home and can fix a fresh meal anytime I want). But if you’re going to be away all day, follow the recipe ideas on Fixate about meal prepping.
21. Breaking Bad Habits is Easier
Halloween is coming up and I already have trick or treat candy on my mind. But I’m not as worried as I have been in the past. Before I would have binged on chocolate and sweets until I felt sick. But now I’m not even tempted. Sure, I’ll probably indulge in a few of my favorite pieces. But I’m not going to eat candy just to eat it because it’s there. I’m in a different mind set now and I’m breaking my old habits to replace them with good ones.
Having a chocolate Shakeology (I mix with soy milk, 1/2 banana and crushed ice in the blender) is like my special treat. And it’s like dessert so I’m seriously not having the usual cravings.
22. Nothing Happens Overnight
I’m not hopping on the scale every day. I know that reaching my goals this time is a long distance race, not a sprint. And these changes don’t happen overnight. I weigh myself once a week and measure every two weeks. I judge my progress more in the fit of my clothes and how I’m looking in the mirror.
23. The Scale Number May Not Move
I know you’re probably hung up about the scale but don’t be. I worked out for 30 days in a row and lost two pounds. But I don’t even care, because more importantly I lost inches all over my body from hips, thighs, waist and arms. And for me, slimming and getting stronger is way better than any numbers on the scale.
24. Outward Appearances
I’d be lying if I said that I’m only exercising for health reasons because it’s also important to me that I maintain a healthy weight. Along with a lower weight will come a trimmer figure. When I don’t have the extra weight, I look and feel more confident and comfortable. I’m probably never going to be rocking 6-pack abs, but that’s totally okay with me. So long as I feel good in my skin, that’s what matters. And hey, maybe those abs will come, I’m not giving up on that!
25. “Before” Pictures & Measurements are GOLD
Show a little skin and take those “before” pictures. Seriously, you’re going to cringe at them now but in a few months of solid clean eating and sweaty workouts, you’re going to notice the differences. I’m already seeing differences after my month with a flatter stomach, more definition in my shoulders and a slimmer back.
Also, don’t forget to take your measurements before starting and log it somewhere (I use a Google spreadsheet). I only measure every other week so I don’t get obsessed about the numbers.
26. Getting Stronger
After a few weeks of working with weights I noticed that my arms weren’t as fatigued with holding my toddler. I was able to accomplish the jump squats in the workout without quitting. I did a 60-second plank without dropping! Even in just 30 days of workouts, I’m noticing that my strength is improving. Can’t wait to see how strong I am in 6 months!
27. It Does Require Sacrifice
Some mornings I’d rather skip the workout and just get on with my day. But putting in the exercise each day only takes me 30 minutes. It’s a sacrifice but in the long run, I’m making good choices for my life.
28. Making the Daily Commitment
Up till 30 days ago, I would go weeks without any exercise. I might take a stroll around the block and call that my exercise. But I wasn’t even making an effort. But that was before and now I’m in the zone and ready to make healthier eating and exercise a part of my daily life.
29. It’s NOT as Hard as You Make It Out to Be
Seriously, I had it worked out in my head that starting an exercise routine was just going to be the worst. I was dreading it. I was working it up in my head how hard it was going to be and starting on the excuses before I’d even begun.
And you know what?
It’s not that hard. Yeah, the exercise itself is a challenge and it should be. When things get too easy, it’s means you’re ready to be adding extra weight or speeding things up. But to be honest, doing the actual exercise hasn’t been hard. In fact, I look forward to it everyday (which just seems weird, but it’s true).
30. It’s NEVER Too Late to Start
You’ve seen that motivational quote. You know the one about how in a year from now you’re going to wish you’d started today. I spent years doing this about starting an exercise routine and maybe you have too. I’m turning 45 this week. I just started a new diet and exercise program. And this time I am going to meet my goals. It’s never too late for you either.