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Starting an Exercise Routine – 30 Things I Learned After Exercising for 30 Days

Starting an Exercise Routine – 30 Things I Learned After Exercising for 30 Days

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Ready to start an exercise routine and not sure where to begin? Start with day one and just KEEP GOING. 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. After I hit 30 days I just kept going and recently hit 100 days in a row of exercise! Now that I know it’s possible, I’m ready to push myself a little farther. Maybe you’re thinking about starting an exercise routine? Here’s what I learned after working out every single day.

Woman standing with electric bicycle

Mom Rewritten uses affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase through the links in these posts. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the Privacy Policy and Disclosures tab. This article first published Sept 2nd, 2018 and has been updated and republished.

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.

Woman wearing workout clothes lacing her shoes

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. I felt motivated enough after the first 30 days to go to 100 days in a row. And I’m not done yet! 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.

One thing to think about is that healthy living is a journey. Yes, each day you make a movement forward matters. But it’s about the long term plan you have for you. A lifelong goal, not the end.

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, and 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!

Thinking about starting an exercise routine? These are the 30 things I learned after exercising for 30 days.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

3. A Calendar is Motivating

For me, there is nothing like crossing off each day on my calendar as I complete the workout. I print out the Beachbody workout programs and after each day, I’d draw a line through it and share on my Instagram stories.

Thinking about starting an exercise routine? These are the 30 things I learned after exercising for 30 days.

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 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 program with a lot of jumping, 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.

Wearing a great new exercise outfit is one way to get motivated when you don’t feel like exercising. Instead of treating yourself to food after hitting a goal, go out and buy yourself a new workout outfit as a reward! There are some high end brands like Athleta and Lululemon that will run over $100 per pair of pants. But a $30 pair from Old Navy may be a better fit for your lifestyle (and wallet).

Stitch Fix offers workout clothing in a personally styled subscription box. Those who want to purchase new exercise clothing can make that request, with specific details for the stylist. In the note, give a description on exactly what you want (workout clothing, capri length pants, racer back tanks, supportive bra or running shoes). Receive $25 off your first box with Stitch Fix!

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

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

If you’re working out at home, it’s important that you have the equipment needed for the program. You don’t need to invest in an entire gym’s worth of stuff for first starting an exercise routine, but a few high-quality items is imperative. I recently purchased the Beachbody control door track to use with resistance bands. It’s been an awesome addition to my workouts! These are a few things that you might want to add to your home gym:

  • Proper exercise shoes
  • A variety of weights from light, medium and heavy. I have 6 lbs, 8 lbs and 10 lb weights. Adding 12 lb weights will be my next investment.
  • Thick core mat for kneeling, sit ups or for extra padding under your hands
  • Standard yoga mat
  • Resistance loops
  • Aerobics step
  • Strength slides
  • Core ball

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.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

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 online, without ever leaving your house.

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. I love Beachbody On Demand for the variety. No more boring one-note workouts which is really important when starting an exercise routine.

Thinking about starting an exercise routine? These are the 30 things I learned after exercising for 30 days.
Still fitting in walking in between the workouts, just for variety & for fresh air!

10. It’s Alright to Change If Something Didn’t Work for Me

After first purchasing Beachbody on Demand, I started off trying one of the tougher workouts. I did two rounds and it was very hard for me, having not done regular workouts in a loooong time. It wasn’t impossible but it was hard, even with the modifications. And my back was feeling it a little too much. I decided to step away from that program and try something else. You want to get your body strong and make sure you don’t injure yourself. If you’re not enjoying a particular workout or you’re just not feeling it, feel free to switch. It’s not quitting if you jump right away into something that’s more appropriate for your level.

11. Modifying Doesn’t Mean Failure

I’m 47 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!

Thinking about starting an exercise routine? These are the 30 things I learned after exercising for 30 days.

12. I Leaked

The first day of my new workout when I did a jumping jack, I was reminded quickly why I don’t do jumping jacks. My bladder didn’t handle it well. Thank goodness I started wearing leakproof underpants during all my workouts. They not only absorb leakage, but sweat as well. Better safe than sorry! Now I don’t skip any workout moves and I even do the jumping jacks. Be sure to click over and see which brand I like the best for exercise.

13. I Want to Be a Good Example

After a week of exercising, my daughter 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.

I coached my son’s soccer team last year because I want to be a good example for my kids.

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. I can do more than I have been! Starting an exercise routine means 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. Don’t let soreness stop you from starting your exercise routine. Once you stretch and start moving, the soreness will ease off.

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 a massage ball. Consider having a professional massage as of your “treats”. It’s an excellent incentive for hitting your goals and sticking to your routine.

18. Supplements Can Help

I’d never considered adding supplements to my diet and exercise routine always thinking “Doesn’t a daily vitamin do enough?” But I ordered a few when I started working out, including those for pre and post workout. I take them regularly and 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 pre-workout supplement before exercising and I was more sore when I skipped the post workout supplement. Now, instead of writing off supplements, I say give them a try and see if they work just as well for you.

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 from Fixate about meal prepping.

Thinking about starting an exercise routine? These are the 30 things I learned after exercising for 30 days.
21 Day Fix containers are perfect for well-balanced meals & portion control

21. Breaking Bad Habits is Easier

Every time the holidays come around (Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas) I have candy on my mind. I’ll admit to having a sugar addiction. 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.

If I’m in need of a chocolate fix, making a protein smoothie is a good substritute. I mix chocolate protein powder with almond milk, 1/2 banana and crushed ice in the blender) as my daily special treat. And it’s like dessert so I’m seriously not having the usual cravings.

22. Nothing Happens Overnight

For me, this healthy living journey is more than just physical changes. Yes, I want to firm and tone my body but 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. And of course in the adjustment of my mood, my energy level and how much stronger I feel after working out every day!

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. I worked out for a total of 100 days and the scale didn’t budge. 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. Remember that starting an exercise routine needs to be more than just losing weight – it’s about a healthier mood, better sleep, stronger muscles, and more mobile joints!

21 days on Personal Trainer Food program. Find out the food, plan and how much I lost after week 3! #spon #PersonalTrainerFood

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 might 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.

Thinking about starting an exercise routine? These are the 30 things I learned after exercising for 30 days.
5 months postpartum I was ready to starting losing the baby weight & I took this “before” photo.

26. Getting Stronger

After a few weeks of working with weights I noticed that my arms weren’t as fatigued with holding my daughter. 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 noticed that my strength was 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.

Read these 6 tips for walking with your baby including what to bring with you, where to go and choosing the perfect stroller. #Exercise #NewMom #Ergobaby #LoveCarriesOn

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 turn 48 years old this year. I just started a new exercise program. And this time I am going to meet my goals. It’s never too late for you either.

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