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Tips and Tricks for Starting Your Fitness & Wellness Journey

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal State Chico chapter.

I cannot tell you how excited I am that you’re here! I’ve been working out seriously for about three to four years and it’s something that has truly changed my life in so many ways. That said, I haven’t always been this committed or confident in my fitness. I started and stopped programs, avoided the gym, and didn’t know where to start. I hope that this article can give you some applicable tools that worked for me, so you don’t have to feel like you are starting from scratch!

Getting Started

I have a few tips for just getting started in general. If you look up “beginner workouts,” you will be met with hundreds of things that tell you what you “have to do” in order to get results that are both unrealistic and maybe not what you are looking for. The number one piece of advice that I give to everyone is to start with something that you enjoy, that gets your body moving, that you can absolutely dedicate 30 minutes of your day to. There are usually one of two responses when I say that. One being, “That doesn’t seem like enough time, and it doesn’t seem drastic enough.” To that I say, that is the point. Spending 30 minutes of your day completely committed to something just for you is almost guaranteed to be doable. If you want to hear more about some ways to keep your mindset right in order to stay motivated, check out my other article, “How Self Talk Changed My Life.” By setting yourself up to do something you enjoy, whether that’s lifting, walking, dancing, etc. for just 30 minutes, you are building a habit. What that really means is you are reestablishing trust with yourself that you are going to follow through on the promises you make to yourself. The other response I get is that they just want something that is going to give them the fastest and best results. If that’s you, I’m going to say something that you might not want to hear, but those results that you’re chasing will not last and they won’t satisfy your craving. Chasing a fitness journey means embarking on a long term investment to yourself and if your “why” isn’t something that is sustainable, it’s highly likely that you won’t stick it out. I challenge you to shift your “why” to something that is centered around you as a whole person. That is to say, moving away from just fitness and understanding what it means to strive for wellness. If you want to know more about the difference between fitness and wellness and the benefits of having both, check out this article posted by The American Sports & Fitness Association!

Starting at the gym

The vast majority of women that I talk to who are interested in lifting and going to the gym tell me that they’re too scared and then ask me about other ways that they can get into fitness. Now don’t get me wrong, there are ways. I mean, I worked out in my driveway for almost a year. However, I would love to take this moment to give you some tangible ways to tackle that gym fear. First one, wear a hat and have your music already in your ears when you walk in. Before you think I’m crazy, this tip is what got me into the gym! There is something about having a hat on that makes it feel like it’s just you and the weights, and having your music already in makes it so you have set the tone for yourself as well. You are really going to have to trust me with that one, but if you give it a chance I promise you will be telling other people to try it too! My next tip is go in with a plan and stay in one spot. Take a look at some beginner dumbbell workouts (I know I said looking up beginner workouts isn’t the best idea, but with some guidance and purpose it can be helpful in this context). When you find one that seems like fun, save it or write it down, so that when you go in you can stay in one section of the gym and know exactly what you are doing. My last tangible tip is to take a lap. Whether you ask for a tour or just walk around by yourself, being familiar with the space you’re in will ease so much of your stress! You don’t have to use every piece of equipment, but having an idea of where you are in the space will help you not feel so out of place. 

Lean into what interests you

There is not one, full proof, and perfect way to approach your fitness/wellness journey. With that in mind, as you find yourself wanting to try things out, just go for it! Not too long ago I found myself wanting to mix up my cardio routine, so I did some research and decided to try out boxing! It was so much fun and challenged me in a new way! This is the best way to avoid burnout. Staying curious will help you to stay consistent. If you decide that you don’t love working out alone, try finding a partner or even look for group classes available in your area. There is no reason to stick to one type of training and never switch it up, especially as you are starting out! By exposing yourself to a variety of types of exercise, you’re far more likely to find one or more that fit your lifestyle, goals, and bring you joy! Another way to approach this is to set a goal that seems fun to you! The first one that I ever did was to be able to do 10 full push-ups consecutively. I videoed my attempts every now and then, and now I can do almost any push-up variation for much more than 10 in a row. I still set these fun goals for myself that I work towards because they keep me engaged! (I am currently working on being able to do 10 pull-ups!) 

The more you build your consistency, the more your fitness and wellness journey will naturally build and flourish. Whether you stick with 30 minutes a day or increase your time, whether you start in the gym or workout at home, and whether you stick to one type of exercise or try a variety, as long as you’re showing up, you’re doing it right! I hope you found some helpful things to try out and I would love to hear about what you are trying! Feel free to check out my instagram that is linked on my Her Campus profile and DM me with questions or let me know how your fitness and wellness journey is going! 

Haylee Sust

Cal State Chico '24

Haylee is a fourth year English Education Major at Chico State. In her time at Chico State she has found a passion for student success and is hoping to run a life coaching business for High School and College Students someday. She works hard to pursue her passions while cultivating healthy routines and habits! In her free time Haylee is often at the gym. She has been training seriously for about 3 years, but fitness has always been a priority for her. She believes in the power of showing up for yourself everyday, and hopes someday to be able to write a book and do public speaking to share her journey in this area. Haylee believes that her mission on this earth is to connect with people! She is outgoing and enjoys hearing other peoples stories. Her family and friends are the light of her life, and she hopes to continue traveling and making memories with the people who are closest to her. As she begins turning the page to the next chapter of her life, she hopes to continue writing and challenging herself. She hopes that by writing for Her Campus, she can continue to grow as a writer, and have the opportunity to bring people together!