Fitness Articles

14 Tips for Starting and Sticking with a Workout Routine

Stop Failure Before it Starts

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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? Continued ›
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About The Author

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

Member Comments

  • Thanks, Julie. Good, sound advice! - 1/27/2016 11:58:04 AM
  • Thanks for tips. I will use one and make an appointment with my golds gym bike and do 30 minutes with the 8 week wt. loss setting. This will be my second 8 weeks, though first 8 weeks I only lost 2 pounds. I am setting another 8 weeks using Sparks menu and goals. - 1/24/2016 3:18:44 PM
    I, too, resonate with the "just shown up" tip. - 1/14/2016 10:27:08 AM
    Turning Workouts into Playouts is my motto. I use Kinect video games to work out. Its good to start out with childrens games if you are really out of shape and then move up to the dancing games and then the actual fitness games. If you love to play games it is so fun you will forget you are getting a workout. The next day your muscles will tell you just how much you really did. I play Disneyland and that game is no joke. You are doing squats and arm movements. Something you will not get with walking and you don't even notice you are exercising because it is so much fun. - 12/10/2015 9:14:34 AM
  • #10 - just show up... funny! in one city where I lived, I travelled past my gym in the morning on the way to work. I didn't have time to exercise in the morning. But I'd get off the bus, drop my gym stuff in a locker. They emptied the lockers at night and threw everything out... So on my way home, usually late, exhausted and not feeling AT ALL like exercising, I had to get off the bus to get my gym bag... Every time I'd think "I'm not gonna work out, just grab my bag and leave." Once I showed up... and saw everyone else sweating it out... I always decided to just do a few minutes of weights, or stretching, or... And it almost always led to a full workout! Sometimes we have to trick ourselves. - 12/9/2015 11:46:34 AM
  • Workouts are not fun. Why does everyone try to make them out to be anything other a grueling time of sweating, struggling, many times with little to show for it? I exercise because I have to, not because I want to. There is no activity I enjoy, unless you count reading, playing the piano and singing activities. - 5/7/2015 9:48:17 PM
  • How about stop calling it a workout, which has the word work in it? Stop thinking of it as work and start thinking of it as fun. - 4/19/2015 8:44:01 PM
  • JOHNNYBOY123456
    thank you
    - 1/3/2015 3:29:42 PM
  • #1 is so true but so hard. The thing I remember is that I thought I wasn't good enough while wearing my size 4 clothes. So it has nothing to do with size, if you don't learn to live life for things other than weight you'll never be good enough. - 9/14/2014 7:21:18 PM
  • Very inspiring! I printed to put up on bulletin board. - 8/12/2014 11:42:24 AM
  • I've been working on Comment #1 since my 60th birthday, 2 years ago. Only this year have I really come to terms with the fact that I'll never look 21 again! - 5/4/2014 1:51:29 PM
    Great tips. My favorite is the last one HAVE FUN. Thanks to my granddaughter I am learning that exercise can be fun. - 4/21/2014 9:11:08 PM
  • This is such a great article! I've read so many of these types of articles, I almost didn't read it and was literally thinking to myself, "you've heard it all before..." Well, wasn't I surprised!! your tips were REAL things that honestly will make a difference in the way I think about exercising and they way I approach it and the way I encourage myself to just GET THERE. Thank you, this was really, really needed!!! do we save an article so that we can review it later??? :) - 2/27/2014 10:15:14 AM
  • Good one. I am starting over. My body isn't letting me do the things I use to do and it is okay. I will exercise to by ability and work forward. - 2/7/2014 8:28:22 AM
    I joined this site today and this article is just what I needed. Tip #1 was an eye-opener. I have a pair of Calvin Klein jean I wore 20 years ago. They are a size 4. I now wear a size 16 and remembering what I used to look like ( I was hot and in my early 30's) is a good blast from the past. My life is totally different now and I shouldn't dwell on the past and that includes that size 4. I'm putting those jeans in the donation bin along with some other clothes I was holding on to. The other tip that was an "Aw-ha" moment is making an appointment to work out. I wouldn't skip an appointment, I'm not that kind of person, so I'm going to put exercise in my appointment book and look at it just like appointment I have to keep. - 12/30/2013 10:30:30 PM

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