How to start exercising… and keep doing it

Have you ever thought about starting exercising? Have you already quit sports a few times? Then this article will probably help you be consistent in your workout routine. Exercising comes with health benefits:

“Although dietary changes will take you a long way to being completely healthy, you’ll need some exercise to improve your fitness and sense of well-being. Something as simple as a daily walk can do wonders. Exercise helps you maintain a normal appetite, gives you energy, helps you sleep, improves circulation, digestion, blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglyceride levels… the list goes on. Changing your diet will help improve your health immensely, but a little exercise can take it to the next level.” Dr John A, McDougall

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Now, let’s see which issues could be stopping you:

• Hate sweating?
• Hate having painful muscles?
• Have a history of knee injuries?
• Not enough free time?
• Not enough money for equipment and protein shakes?
• No energy?
• Very little motivation?
• Get discouraged by your shape vs fit people?
• Get discouraged by your low fitness level?
• Forget to exercise?
• Hate the gym’s atmosphere?
• Don’t know anyone to train with?
• Want effortless muscles?
• Want effortless body fat loss?
• Don’t know where to start?

I think my tips will be useful to you as I have been training consistently 4-7 times a week for 8 years now. I will address each of the aforementioned issues below.

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❒ Hate sweating?
People get health benefits from physical exercise only if they workout hard enough to sweat, according to studies. Sweating is actually good for you. Furthermore, wearing comfortable and aerated sports clothing will make your exercising experience better. If you are still not happy with sweat on your skin, think of it as a temporary thing. After your post-workout shower, you’ll be clean again.

❒ Hate having painful muscles?
Sore muscles can be caused by extremely hard workouts, dehydration or mineral imbalance. You do not have to be in extreme pain to make your workout efficient. Doing hard efforts is good for improving performance, but it may lead to injuries if you do it wrong. Don’t train super hard more than twice a week. Easy training sessions help for recovery, as it helps the lactic acid buildup get out of your sore muscles. Make sure you drink enough water before, during and after your workouts. Our bodies are less efficient when they are dehydrated. Dehydration can also lead to severe health problems. Lastly, avoid taking supplements of isolated minerals (e.g. iron), because it could lead to a detrimental mineral imbalance. Stretching and massages will help your muscles relax.

❒ Have a history of knee injuries?
Knee injuries are mainly caused by excessive practice of high-impact sports like soccer and running. The solution is to spend less time on high-impact sports or to pick a low-impact sport like swimming, cycling, rowing, kayaking, canoeing, tai chi, rollerblading, hiking or water aerobics. An inflammatory diet and bad postures can also cause joint pain.

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❒ Not enough free time?
Everyone has at least 20-60 minutes of free time every day. You can free up time in your weekly schedule by dropping some of the following activities: pointless tasks, boring meetings, scrolling on your digital screen like a zombie, wiping dry your dishes (air-drying is great), shopping for more clothes, long meal preparation (healthy meals are made quickly), etc. If you still think you can’t find free time for exercising, then consider riding a bicycle, running or walking as a means of transport instead of using a car or a motorbike. If that last tip doesn’t work for you, then it seems that getting in shape is the lowest priority at the moment. Only you can decide to change how you prioritize your daily activities.

❒ Not enough money for equipment and protein shakes?
This is a common misconception fed by protein shake sellers. Protein is actually so easy to get in any whole food that it is not a factor in the choice of a diet. Even fruit and white rice have enough protein. Excess animal protein is bad for your health, as it exhausts the kidneys and creates inflammation in the body. What about male bodybuilders? Buying protein supplements is still a waste of money. Famous bodybuilders with impressive muscles will never tell you which juice they are on, they’d rather tell that their secret lies in the protein powders they sell.

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❒ No energy?
Time to eat enough and right. Time to hydrate properly too. Also consider quitting drinking coffee and tea, as they decrease your iron assimilation and drag you deeper and deeper into a pithole of low energy. Also, low reserves of glycogen (carbohydrates stored in muscles) equals low energy, low libido, little motivation and low attention. Listen to your body when it comes to carbs. Nobody ever thrived on a low-carb diet long-term.

❒ Very little motivation?
In order to have body results and health benefits from exercising, you need to have a consistent routine. And this requires motivation. Consider training in a group or download a fitness app/sports social media like Strava. Positive social interaction improves motivation. If it still does not work for you, then you may be doing the wrong sport. It is paramount to enjoy your workout. Being bored takes away motivation. Making your training fun will definitely improve your motivation. Try to make a game out of your training session, or try other sports until you find something you enjoy.

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❒ Get discouraged by your shape vs fit people?
If comparing yourself with super fit people is an issue, then stop watching them and stop being too harsh on yourself. All you have to care about is becoming a better version of yourself. Getting fit takes times. Start small. Have reasonable goals.

❒ Get discouraged by your low fitness level?
If you never start exercising, then you will always stay the way you are now, or even worse. If you are genuinely willing to look after yourself, then you will make a life-changing decision now. If you have never exercised, then you’ll have to start from the bottom. If you’re doing things in a sustainable way, then it will work. If you never get the result you desire, it is time to try a different strategy (diet, sport, rest…). You have to accept to start small and have gradual improvements with time.

❒ Forget to exercise?
Forgetting things could be due to a high-stress lifestyle, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption and too busy timetables. You can work on improving these issues for your own good and then, it’s time to set reminders on your computer or your phone. Once you organize your schedule better, you will get more things done.

❒ Hate the gym’s atmosphere?
You don’t have to train in a gym. You can do it at home or do outdoors training if your environment allows it. If you really want it, you will make it happen. If there is nature close to your place, then you could enjoy the nice clean air and landscape to train in.

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❒ Don’t know anyone to train with?
You could be a fitness inspiration for your existing friends down the road. Meanwhile, you can find a group by joining sports clubs or download a fitness app/sports social media like Strava to have more stimulating social interaction. Eventually some people you interact with will become your friends.

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❒ Want effortless muscles?
Only silicon implants will do the job then. But they will not make you strong nor healthy. Little effort and steroids could lead to muscles. I do not recommend any of these options. You don’t have to suffer to be in shape. Doing things right will make it easier for you.

❒ Want effortless body fat loss?
Exercise is a minor factor while diet is the main factor for a low body fat percentage. Restriction works in the short-term only. A healthy diet will give you lasting results. I will tackle the diet topic in later articles.

❒ Don’t know where to start?
Find your sport, start training modestly at least once a week, listen to your body and make it fun.

Let me know if these tips work for you or if you have additional tips for a sustainable and efficient exercising routine.

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