fitness, health, positivity, Quarantine, Wellness

The Best Way to Begin

Like many people in the early stages of their fitness journey, I was unsure of myself and felt like a fish out of water in any gym. I didn’t understand how to structure a workout and probably couldn’t name the majority of equipment on the floor. For months, I spent all of my gym time doing steady-state cardio—it’s comical now, but I was truly afraid of weights and intimidated by the people who used them.

After numerous conversations regarding my gym naivety, a friend suggested that I give fitness classes a try. He said that it might help me develop a foundation that I can later build on during my own gym time. For most of my life I was a three-sport athlete, so he also explained that a team-like workout or group fitness might work better for me. He was very right. While it might seem overwhelming, group programming helped teach me the basics of working out and gave me the confidence to enter the gym on my own. I found that I was able to extert more effort during group workouts and I found myself inspired by others on my “team.”

While Covid-19 has put a lot of in-person fitness on hold, there are a plethora of new and existing programs that are available online (many are free). The beauty of virtual fitness is that time is never of the essence—if you don’t understand something or you need to correct your form, you have the ability to pause and/or restart the workout. Also, due to being virtual, a lot of more notable programs are available at a less exclusionary price-point (finally steps towards equity).

“I think one of the most important elements to getting started is to find a person, an activity, or a group of people that inspires and pushes you.”

I think one of the most important elements to getting started is to find a person, an activity, or a group of people that inspires and pushes you. There will always be someone that can sprint faster, lift heavier, and complete more repetitions than you. Accept that fact. Rather than beat yourself up, use it as fuel to level up on your own. Once you realize that perfection is unattainable, you can allow your journey to be you vs. yourself. Set goals for yourself and then continue to create new goals as you surpass your initial ones. It’s important to remain inspired by the things you have yet to do. I adopted this mindset from my fitness role models, Akin Akman and Angela Manuel-Davis, the co-founders of the training facility AARMY.

There are still so many milestones that I have yet to reach, but I choose to be thrilled by that. For example, Crossfit is something that I have been nervous to try, so I’ve used this time in quarantine to experiment with some crossfit programming at home. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and odds are your goals won’t be reached in that time either. Accept that. The beautiful thing is that with consistency you will get there. Instead of having a defeatest mindset, take the steps necessary to improve. I record myself each time and play back the more challenging parts of my workouts in order to improve my form and analyze my weaknesses and strengths. This could be something to try on your own. You might surprise yourself—during playback I often realize I’m a lot better at something than I thought.

Me during a recent at-home spin class. I quickly review and critique myself after each one.

To sum things up, you have many years to live and during them you will grow and change repeatedly. Ultimately, the key word in all of this is lifestyle. You should aim to build a lifestyle that’s centered on being the healthiest, boldest, and strongest version of yourself. Don’t be like me four years ago. I began my fitness journey uninspired and with the wrong motivation. I was so centered on asthetics and looking “fit.” Sustainability, my mental health, adequate eating, and supplementation were not on my radar (they are all crucial components)! Thankfully my trajectory was changed, but it took time to right my wrongs and find the healthy form(s) of motivation.

Hopefully this will aid you in beginning a journey less detrimental than mine was initially! If you’re ready to begin, maybe take this week to compile a list of programs, people, and/or activities that inspire you.