“I don't count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” - Muhammed Ali
Fitness is the accumulation of many small habits. What you eat, how you sleep, and what you do (or don't do) during a day, day after day, will define how fit you are.
Certainly genetics play a role, and we all have a different starting point or baseline. But we all have to play the cards that we're dealt.
No matter where you are starting with fitness, the most important first step is to set a reachable goal. An unrealistic goal is an easy excuse for your mind to give up. So let's say you haven't run before, but you want to. You may have a goal to run a marathon. That's great! And I'm not going to dissuade you from that as [anyone can run a marathon], but it is important to set intermediate goals in between. You can't go from running 0 miles a week to running 40, so a good reachable goal would be to train for a 5k or 10k for the first two months.
So please do still have grand aspirations! But also set an initial goal that you can visualize yourself doing realistically, so much so that you can say "there's no way I can't do that!"
The next step is to sign up or make a commitment in some way. A great way to do this is to tell a friend or family member about the goal and/or convince them to join you in reaching a similar goal! Humans are social creatures and many studies have shown that you are more likely to achieve your goal if there is some element of social pressure involved.
Last, but certainly not least, you need some way to track your progress and hold yourself accountable. For any big goal, it can be broken down into tactical steps you can take. If you are running a 5k six weeks from now, you can have a target mileage for each week. And if you want even more organization, you can assign daily workouts 3-4 days per week at specific lengths. You should have an easy way to visualize the targets and whether or not you are keeping up with them.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention one more thing you have to do: go and take that first step toward your goal. This can be the hardest part: whether it is going out for your first run or picking up the phone to setup a doctor's appointment. But if you've done the legwork in advance, you should have the motivation and tools you need to succeed!
We focused on running in this introduction, but your fitness goals could take various forms. And we'll cover far more than running here. Nutrition, health checks, sleep, and many other forms of exercise all contribute to your overall fitness, and we'll cover all of them.
That said, you may see a fair bit of running-related info as it is a very approachable way to exercise and we're just big fans of running and the friends and communities that naturally spring up around it!
Before you go, here are some resources for each of the steps we mentioned:
- [10 Reachable Goals to start getting into shape]
- [How to Commit to a Goal]
- [The 10 Best Tools to Track Your Progress]
- [How to Take that First Step]
Beyond that, we have a host of other resources back on the main page. And if there is a health/fitness topic you'd like to see more of on here, please [let us know]!