How to Start Working Out For Couch Potatoes

At the beginning of quarantine, I decided that I wanted to become really strong… like Popeye the Sailor strong. I had realized that when I am not active, my body works like an old person’s where I suffer from a lot of muscle pain and joint issues. Surprisingly, working out actually helped me out with this and keeps me from falling apart on a daily basis. 

In addition to not wanting to have a plethora of muscle braces and creams on my side table, I felt that working out would also help me take care of my mental health. I’ve gone through various periods in my life where I’ve been both very fit and very not. There was once a year where I ran over nine kilometres on an injured ankle, followed by a year where I could barely run a grand total of two kilometres before feeling like I was about to collapse… and on a good ankle too!

Each person’s fitness journey is different from the next. I found that for me, I often put off the idea of working out because I felt discouraged about my inability to do the things that I used to when I was more fit. However, during each of my “fit periods," I found myself feeling a lot happier and more confident. 

So, I decided to jump back into my fitness ways and work towards becoming leaner for my own benefit and on my own terms – but without expecting too much too soon.

Get into the right mindset

If you look at working out as a chore, it'll be very difficult for you to keep up with it. Initially, you may dread the entire experience, which I definitely understand. There will be some days where you aren’t motivated to exercise and that’s okay! It’s important to rest your body, but also try moving around a little bit each day. Whether that’s walking somewhere instead of taking the bus or even taking the stairs instead of taking the elevator.

Work on Building the Habit and Endurance 

When you’re first starting off, I’d suggest working on some initial bodyweight exercises to get used to working out your muscles. Lots of people make the mistake of going crazy by attempting to lift heavy weights or to run five kilometres after not touching your running shoes in six months (I am this person). However, this is definitely NOT the way you should approach working out! In first year, I worked out a grand total of six times throughout the entire year (which physically hurts me to say, considering I actually enjoy working out now). But the reason for this is because I started off too strong and was unable to keep up. I also felt bad that I wasn’t as strong as I used to be, and I lost motivation. However, this time around, I decided to focus on forming the habit of working out and building my endurance. Slowly, I was able to work myself up to training more based on strength.

Spice it up! 

Not only is it good to switch things up when you need to rest your body, but it’s also great to do different activities for your own enjoyment. This could include playing sports, dancing, doing yoga, running or whatever you enjoy the most! It doesn’t always feel like a workout if you’re having fun.

Overall, whether you are someone who has lost motivation to exercise or want to start and don’t know how, remember to not expect too much too soon and work on building the habit! Your fitness journey is yours alone, so plan it according to what suits your wants and lifestyle. Lastly, a shower and a good ol’ plop on your sofa feels SO good after you’ve put some work in, so get to it!