Fitness Articles

14 Tips for Starting and Sticking with a Workout Routine

Stop Failure Before it Starts


For some of us out there, if we could just convince ourselves that there is enough time in the day to exercise, we could be on track to a great fitness program. For others, we get started but quickly lose momentum and give up. To help get started and stay on track, here are a few tips:

  1. Throw away the bathing suit you wore in high school… and the memory too. It’s normal to have a mental image of yourself when you last exercised like a fiend. But if that image is from high school, you could be in big trouble. Even if it’s from last year, forget it. Remember as little as possible of what you used to look like. Starting today, make new memories.
  2. Prepare. We already know you don’t have the time, so write it down like an appointment every day. You wouldn’t cancel an appointment, why would you cancel on yourself? Aren’t you important too?
  3. Start slowly. Do much less than what you’re capable of. Take a 20-minute walk if you’re returning to exercise. You might feel like it’s not enough, but it’s a good start.
  4. Get the family involved. Run while your daughter rides her bike. Go to a local track and let the kids play their own games. Run with your spouse. Sign up for a local 10K. Walk with your son. Celebrate with a little something special after every activity.
  5. Where are your friends? Four words, four reasons – motivation, inspiration, determination, conversation. Surround yourself with friends who think positive and live large.
  6. Put the pain in perspective. When the going gets tough, remember that you have survived 600 carpools, 540 loads of laundry (this month), 41 baseball games, 230 dinners and one family vacation. What’s the big deal?

7. Allow yourself to slow down. You’re driving this bus! For the first time today, you are in control.

8. Sign up for a race. It’s a goal to strive for and adds a little meaning to your everyday workout.

9. Run/walk in public. Be proud of your accomplishment. Take in all the sites and be an inspiration to others.

10. Just show up. Go to the gym, class, or the park. Once you’re there, it’s hard to say no. 98% of life is showing up.

11. Eat. Follow a healthy eating pattern. If you limit your calorie intake, you will not have enough energy to work out and your metabolism will slow down.

12. Understand your energy cycle. There are peaks during our days. Even during the week. Try to complete your workout when you feel good about yourself.

13. Wallow in your greatness. You can exercise to become a better exerciser, or you can exercise to become a better mother, a better father, doctor, teacher, or a better friend – or you can exercise to become BETTER. Be proud of that accomplishment.

14. Have fun. Where’s your childlike spirit? When you can make workouts "playouts," you’ve got it made.

Don’t give up on yourself. After all, it’s never too late to be that healthy person you might have been.

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Member Comments

    Good tips, many of us have followed these throughout the decades of our life.....but many of us still go back to where we began, over and over again. There is more to losing weight then what these tips provide. Daily life messes up the best of plans. So we do these same things over and over, that is why we are frustrated.
  • The greatest wealth is health. - Virgil
  • Sometimes you have to go out on the ledge to see the view of where you want to be.
    I think I'll start with #1. I never realized how dangerous it is to visualize my self the way I was.
  • I like the idea of making an appointment.
  • I am learning to love exervise.
  • Great article. Thanks for the motivation.
  • Love this article. Make it a habit and it will stick!
  • love love LOVE staying in the PRESENT!
  • Best way to make exercise a habit is make the habit enjoyable. "Exercise" gives the connotation of work, something that has to be done to get paid, the payment is for better health and looks. Some put vanity before health, other's think of vanity as secondary, something that is an extra bonus of regimented exercise.
    The key is motivation and time, how much motivation, and how much time do you have to exercise? You should answer these questions. Many ride to a gym to exercise, then ride back home in a motorized vehicle. There is better way to use time, ride on something that you propel with your energy. Your ride to sit or stand on a machine, use energy to go nowhere, why not use a bicycle, or a Me-Mover that accelerates aerobic conditioning almost instantly.
    Bottom line, changing your modus operandi can save time, and give you the benefits of an anaerobic (if you weight train), and an aerobic workout in 1 session, actually 3 workouts, aerobic, anaerobic, aerobic. If it makes sense, go for it.
  • Great article. Very inspiring! Thanks so much! I needed this!
  • walk out in public? like where all the people are? eww.
  • Sorry, this article is coming to you from the disconnected who live in la-la land. When you live with chronic pain issues and limited mobility making an appointment for a workout is pie in the sky and appointments can easily be broken. At 40 I got up at 4 - got to the gym at 5 when it opened worked out vigorously for 45 minutes. Got hubby up for work, made lunches, had breakfast, walked the dog and went to work myself. All before degenerative disc disease, neurapathies and more - oh my. Today I'm retired. I get up at 4 as always. Have coffee, read the news and see how my body feels. Then and only then can I decide between what I have to do and what I might want to do. Have to dos: still include walking a an older, now special needs dog carefully so neither of us falls; cleaning my own house because I can't find someone reliable or thorough to do it at any cost; doing laundry; cooking, shopping and keeping track of all of our finances. Before I can leave the house I also have to make sure that I make any necessary phone calls since I'm deaf and can only use a captioned landline. Then I do my PT homework ... necessary to keep moving. Then and only then can I even consider going to a gym ... and there is no such thing anymore as an attractive one. It's all about business and making money. Really.

About The Author

Julie Isphording Julie Isphording
Julie, a former Olympic marathon runner, is an author, radio host and fitness expert.

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