How to Start an Exercise Program

By: Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN


If you are new to working out, then you might be wondering how on earth you get started with the an exercise program, right?

I mean, after all, there are so many different opinions out there of what works and what doesn't, as well as many "promises" that one method of training is better than the next. The good news is that there is less confusion in the exercise world than there is in the nutrition. Unfortunately, both worlds co-exist.

Nonetheless, my job is to make your journey much easier.

Get Set - Set Your Goals

The key to embarking on an exercise program begins, first and foremost, with establishing at least one compelling goal that you will work towards. Is it losing 10 lbs of fat, gaining 10 lbs of muscles, getting in shape for a wedding, training for a sport? Whatever your goal, it must be specific and you must set a date for its attainment - otherwise, there's simply no urgency.

What's Your Big "WHY"?

Once you've set your goal, the next thing you need to do is get clear on WHY it is absolutely imperative that you achieve this goal. Write down as many reasons WHY as you can possibly think of because these will be what keep you going when times get tough. Having a (or many) compelling reasons is what separates the champions from the second place finishers. Your WHY will mean the difference between you jumping out of bed in the morning to exercise or not! Catch my drift?

Where Are You Right Now?

To move forward, you need to get clear as to where you are at right now. All journeys require a starting point and a destination. You beginning an exercise program is no different. So take stock of where you are in terms of your weight, your body fat, resting heart rate, or blood pressure. You can also take yourself through some basic fitness tests like seeing how many push-ups you can do, how long it takes you to run 1-mile, or how long you can hold a plank. Whatever it is that you are measuring just make sure to write it down (with a date) so that you can track your progress over time.

Actions to Close the Gap

Now that you've done all the steps above, it's time to figure out the best way to reach your goal. Should you be doing hours of cardio, lifting weights, running stairs, using a stability ball? The options are many to consider but I think it's important to realize that you first need to build a solid fundamental base. The best way to do so, at least initially, is through bodyweight workouts and training full body movements that will get your body ready for later progressions.

If you haven't already, then watch the video I've put together at the top of this page for more detailed exercise-specific "action steps" that you can take to get started with your exercise program and reach your goals.


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