Guide to starting exercise

8 mins read

Personal Trainers Guide to Starting Exercise


Written by

General Fitness /

Posted on
23 Aug, 2019

So, you’ve been out of the game, maybe you never have, but you’re now thinking, “maybe it’s time to start exercising.” You’re excited by the prospect, and then you’re hit by doubt. You start to think, “maybe next week”.

You are not alone! It’s a mental battle we have all had at different times in our lives. Getting past this however, will open up a whole new world of opportunities to you, introduce you to new communities and cool, like-minded people, whilst improving your physical and mental health and fitness.

Here are 10 of the most common reasons people find too not exercise and some simple solutions:

  • I have no time
  • I’m too tired
  • I have family obligations
  • I’m too lazy and lack will power
  • I don’t like exercise
  • I’ve tried before and failed
  • I lack confidence
  • I find the gym intimidating
  • Exercise is uncomfortable
  • I don’t know where to start

I have no time

Change your perception; workouts really don’t have to be long. Doing as little as 15-20 minutes is a good starting point. Create the habit first, dedicate a small amount of time to doing something active and let it become the norm. Over time you can increase the length of your training and add in new elements and challenges to keep it interesting.

We can all get up 20 minutes earlier, or take a fast walk around the block on a lunch hour. Break exercise down into smaller chunks and they will add up over the course of a week/month/year.

Plus, there are so many free resources out there, created by personal trainers and fitness experts, it isn’t hard to keep fitness training interesting and fresh.

PT starting trainingI’m too tired

Plan to exercise when you feel most fresh, which for some is first thing in the morning. Trying to exercise at the end of the day when already mentally fatigued means there’s a bigger barrier to overcome, but it isn’t impossible and may suit others. If you have the time to train in the middle of the day and that’s when you feel freshest and most willing, then do it.

Once in the habit, you’ll soon learn you feel more refreshed after you’ve exercised.

I have family obligations

Get the family involved. One of the best ways to make exercise more enjoyable is to do it with friends and family. Make it a family challenge, set up a group on WhatsApp or in a fitness tracker and challenge each other to do the most movement/exercise over a month. Incentivise it with rewards for the winner.

Having the support of the family greatly increases your chances of sticking to training whilst making it a bit of fun.

I’m too lazy and lack will power

You need to find a way of accepting that the benefits of exercise far outweigh not exercising. Find a compelling reason to exercise and you will exercise. Want to run around with the kids and not run out of steam, want to be able to move better, feel stronger into later life….whatever it is get moving and work towards a goal.

I don’t like exercise

Exercise does not have to include going to the gym, lifting weights or running on a treadmill. Exercise as any activity that requires physical effort which results in muscular contractions and increases your heart rate beyond normal living levels.

Yes, you’re going to have to get the body moving vigorously, but that could be some push-ups, squats or chasing your dog around the park.

Again, break it down to its smallest component and you’ll find it difficult to find an excuse not to.

I’ve tried before and failed

99.999% of all people who exercise have stopped at some point. We’ve all gone hard for a month or two and then fallen off the wagon. Or we’ve been training for years and one day we just can’t find the motivation to get up and do it.

Don’t let that sidetrack you. Identify what led you to stop and you can then work on that reason. Was it over-training? Then adjust your plan. Was it the loss of a social life? Then lose a session or train earlier, freeing up your evening.

Whatever the reason, don’t beat yourself up and call it a failure. Assess, readjust, go at it again. Setting or reviewing your goals is another way to help you stick to your exercise programme. Making sure your goals are SMART will ensure your success.

Personal Trainer starting Exercise

I lack confidence

Building confidence gradually by setting smaller goals and acknowledging achievements along the way is the best approach. If you create SMART goals, goals that you can stick to, track and measure, you are more likely to hit them. This will help boost your confidence. Remember, start small and let the process grow as you do.

You can also recruit friends and family. There is no reason to go it alone. If you lack the confidence to get going, as those closest to you to help and support you. If you have the confidence to get up and out, but aren’t confident with your knowledge, hire a personal trainer.

Just remember, doing any form of physical activity will help. Start small, build up gradually, set some targets and enlist the help of those closest to you and of professionals

I find the gym intimidating

You don’t need to go to the gym to exercise. As mentioned, any activity that is physically challenging will have a positive effect on your overall health and fitness. But if you feel the gym is where you need to be, try off-peak (mid-morning or mid-afternoon) there are far fewer people and you will have more time and space to get comfortable with the gym.

When you get to the gym, dive straight into your workout so you don’t have time to think about others.

You could also use the skills of a qualified personal trainer, not only can they help you with your programme and give you an extra push in training, they can also help you feel more at ease in the gym, show you the ropes and introduce you to new training methods.

Exercise feels uncomfortable

Make exercise more enjoyable and comfortable with music, friends, a podcast, anything that you enjoy. This will help exercise to feel less uncomfortable.

Invest in good training kit and you won’t have to worry about it rubbing, chafing or being uncomfortable. Plus, you’ll feel better about yourself. It doesn’t need to break the bank, but some good trainers, decent tops and comfortable bottoms will make a difference.

If it’s a physical discomfort you feel, seek the advice of a qualified personal trainer and they can check your form and make sure you are performing exercises correctly.

I don’t know where to start

There is a lot of free information out there that can help get you started. Some of it is bogus, but much of it is excellent value. Reading up on training, and training for your goal can be a huge confidence boost.

If you feel overwhelmed by all the information then invest in yourself and hire a personal trainer. They know what they are doing and their job is to help you achieve your goals.

If you aren’t at that stage, then take a few classes. Virtually every gym offers classes as part of your membership and there are lots of boutique studios out there many with beginners classes or, at the very least, an extremely welcoming community and coaches dedicated to helping you through the early stages.

Not knowing where to start is fine, we have all been there. But use what’s around you and learn. It’s a great way to find out what you like, and if you like something you’re more likely to stick to it.

Starting exercise can appear an insurmountable challenge, but it needn’t be. While it might be difficult in the early stages, the long term benefits are innumerable.

Identify your goals, create a plan, ask the right questions, get professional help, believe in yourself and you will nail it!


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