We all know that exercise is a must. It can protect us from disease, help us lose weight and feel more energised, and literally keep us alive for longer (active adults tend to have longer lifespans, according to research). But incorporating it into your daily routine is easier said than done. There are a dozen things that can come in the way of working out: work, family, kids, stress, a long commute.
And if you’re someone who is NOT an active adult but wants to be, the world of fitness can seem daunting. So many different workouts, all kinds of equipment, folks at the gym who seem to be so much better at the whole “fitness thing” than you are. But don’t worry. We all start somewhere. And once you get into the groove, your workout may become something you really look forward to in your day!
What’s Your Why?
Yes, we know this sounds as cringe as that morning WhatsApp forward or that “motivational quotes” page on Instagram. But knowing why you want to work out can help you stay consistent and enjoy the process.
Is it to get healthier after an illness or injury? Is it to lose weight? Is it to become more comfortable and confident with your body? Is it to get fit for an even bigger goal, like a hike or trek up a mountain? When you identify your “why,” you won’t get caught up with what everyone else is doing and go down the comparison trap. And you can design a routine that works for you and your “why,” with a little help from your trainer and doctor, of course.
Pick a Time.
Consistency is key in any workout plan. Make exercise a habit by incorporating it into your daily routine. No one knows how your day is structured better than you; when you are most active and energetic. So, whether it's working out first thing in the morning or after work in the evenings; or even squeezing in a workout in the middle of the day if you’re someone who works remotely, find a schedule that works best for you and stick to it.
Whether you are a complete newbie or someone who is getting back into the groove after an extended break — start small. You don’t need to hit the ground running (no pun intended). Any movement is good movement, so ease yourself into it and set realistic goals. You don’t need to run 5 kms on the treadmill in your very first week. When your goal is realistic, the more likely you’ll be successful at it. And then, you’ll keep at it and gradually increase pace and intensity.
For example, when you start, the duration of your workouts should be around 30 to 40 minutes, with regular breaks between sets (if you are doing bodyweight/HIIT esp). As your fitness level improves, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workouts.
Go (Fitness) Shopping.
The right gear can make you feel energised and excited about working out.
Depending on the kind of workout you choose, there may be some gear and apparel you have to invest in, from a mat to shoes and clothing.
The cliche of “buy yourself some cute workout clothes and you’ll feel motivated” does ring true. A great pair of shoes in a colour you love; a snug sports bra that gives you support and makes you feel confident; a workout tank you like wearing; tights and tracks that fit and give you freedom of movement — all these little things matter.
And if you do require specific equipment, ask around (friends, your gym community, your neighbours, even) and invest in the pieces you know you will need.
Find your Flow.
Sometimes, it’s just about finding that one activity that really works for you. A lot of people go the gym-based workout route, only to let go of it in time. Maybe gyms are not your jam.
With the options available to us today, from one-on-one sessions to boutique fitness studios, you’re bound to find something you’ll really enjoy doing. Maybe it’s a spin class. Maybe it’s lifting. Maybe it’s yoga or Pilates, maybe it’s a martial arts or boxing class. If you’re early on your fitness journey, it’s not a bad idea to try out a few things to see what really moves you (no pun intended) and motivates you to keep it at (while also being fun)!
Bank on the Basics.
Once you find a type of workout that works for you, don’t feel pressured to become an expert overnight. Take it easy! Learn the basics, get your foundation right, and then move on to more advanced techniques. Spending 3 months on basic yoga asanas may seem boring and repetitive, but perfecting the basics puts you in a stronger position (literally) to to safely progress to more complex moves. This holds true for any kind of workout!
Get a Trainer
If you are starting out on your fitness journey, get a trainer. Some of us are great at disciplining ourselves and sticking to a regimen; some of us need external accountability. A trainer keeps you accountable and helps you stay consistent — and also ensures you are working out the right way.
They can guide you through the basics and provide individualised help, so you can find what feels right for you (while also working towards your fitness goals).
Apps to Help You Get Started
If you’re new, we understand that going to the gym and working out in front of other people may feel a little uncomfortable. Or maybe you just don’t have the time or resources to invest in a gym or fitness studio membership. But not to worry. With the will to work out and an internet connection, there’s plenty you can do at home, with the help of these trusty apps: from bodyweight exercises to yoga, Pilates, HIIT and even a run in the park.
Overall workout: Nike Training Club
It’s free and easily accessible and has some of the BEST trainers in the biz, guiding you.
There are dozens of programs to choose from; like bodyweight exercises, high-intensity interval training, cross-training, yoga, core exercises and expert health tips by Nike trainers to keep you on track. Suitable for beginners and advanced folks. of fitness data
Programming lacks structure which doesn't help if you have strength goals in mind
If yoga is more your vibe, the Alo Moves app is a favourite among yogis. Launched by the athleisure brand Alo, it gives you access to not just yoga, buy meditation, Pilates, barre and more. You can choose from different forms of yoga like hatha, ashtanga, vinyasa etc. It even has restorative and prenatal yoga. The whole experience can be customised based on your experience level and goals, as well as length/duration of session. And you don’t need much else beyond a yoga mat and a chair!
For women: Sweat by Kayla Itsines
This app comes from the popular Australian trainer Kayla Itsines and it offers a holistic approach to fitness with workouts, with meal plans, diet tips and more. It was created to cater to women, by women. It’s an all-in-one platform to access all of Kayla’s HIIT workouts, but it doesn’t end there: users also have access to various workout programs that can be done at home or in the gym, such as yoga, strength and pilates, all taught by different female personal trainers.
Fittr started as a WhatsApp group by the founder to help his friends get more active. Over time, it evolved into a community and an app. There are a bunch of physical and mental workouts from yoga and Zumba to martial arts and HIIT and strength training.
There is in-depth and extensive advice from trainers and nutritionists, so it’s more than just a fitness app. It’s probably one of the most educational apps out there and strikes a good balance between exercise and nutrition to help you achieve better overall health.
HIIT: 7 mins
This one is hugely popular and is geared towards folks who want to do HIIT, bodyweight exercises, and other types of training. The unique feature is, you guessed it, activities that are only 7 minutes long. The software is easy, has a goal-oriented approach, and shouldn’t require any specialised equipment to start. This app is ideal for people who have a very busy schedule and can’t get to the gym, since it gives you a powerful workout in just 7 mins and helps you stay consistent.