Note: Of course, ya’ll know I’m not a trained dietitian or fitness instructor. I’m a teen like you. Take my advice like you would take a friend’s advice. Always consult professional/experienced people before trying anything crazy! 😜
I decided to write this partly to answer a question I received for my Q&A video:
What is your motivation for running? I’m a homeschooler and I’m not in X-country or running club, so I have trouble being motivated to run.
It’s a great question, so when I lost the video of me answering it (🤪), I decided to make this blog post to give you some tips to help you start exercising and stay consistent.❤
First, I have some exercise and eating tips to make your exercise more effective and enjoyable.
Exercise: Focus on Performance
First, I have a challenge for you and for me. You know those handy smart watches? I love mine, and I recently discovered I can easily track the calories I’m burning. Here’s the challenge: I want you (and me!) to NOT look at how many calories we burn. Instead, let’s focus on performance. Here are some new ‘calorie trackers’: Did you try hard? Did you have a good time? Did you do better than last time? Do you feel emotionally ‘lighter’? In my experience, the more I focus on the exercise itself and less on the calories and food, the more enjoyable and effective my workout will be! In fact, I’ll be more likely to do it again the next day:)
Exercise: Be OK with Missing a Day
Resting is important. And sometimes you just need a day or two off. Take the rest you need and then hop back into it. Realize that every day doesn’t have to be super intense – in fact, should not be. We all need to take some easier workout days to stay motivated and avoid injury. It’s okay if your exercise today was a not-at-all-intense walk or a leisurely biking trip with your friends.
Nutrition: Eat When You’re Hungry
People call it ‘intuitive eating’ or something else that sounds complicated, but the concept is simple: feed your body what you’re craving (in a moderate serving) and eat when you’re hungry. First, eat what you’re craving. My dad always says if he’s really craving some chocolate, he’ll go ahead and have some chocolate in moderation. It satisfies the craving but doesn’t tempt him to ‘cave’ and eat even more. Generally, if you give yourself the food you want in moderation, you’ll be less likely to snack on other unhealthy snacks (or eat the entire pan of brownies 😂). Second, eat when you’re hungry. If I eat a really healthy salad, but my body really wants something substantial like pasta, I’ll be hungry and eventually reach for the Cheezits in the pantry to satisfy my hunger. Fill yourself up and you’ll be less likely to reach for something unhealthy. And also, before reaching for unhealthy snacks, drink some water! Sometimes that midday hunger is really just dehydration!
Nutrition: Don’t Miss Out on Fun Times
Maybe that bowl of ice cream has absolutely no nutritional value and is super high in sugars and fats. BUT maybe that bowl of ice cream also has the potential to give you one of the best moments of your life. Health isn’t just about being fit. A healthy lifestyle includes good relationships and fun times too! Don’t miss those amazing moments!
All that being said, exercise is super important for physical and mental health and can be fun and challenging all at once.
Alrighty, now on to the practical stuff.
How to Start
Starting is often the hardest part of exercising: both starting a workout and starting to incorporate exercise into your life. My first tip: don’t overthink it. Put on your shoes and step outside or simply start a workout video on YouTube. Don’t give yourself a chance to procrastinate.
When starting to exercise, I would recommend starting out with cardio (biking, running, swimming laps, not weight training). When I started running, I just wasn’t used to moving very much. All I needed to do was to move, so I only really focused on cardio for the first two years or so. Of course, part of this was because I was pretty young, but I didn’t need weight training as much as cardio.
Find Something You Love
There are so many ways to exercise. Pick a few things you love and enjoy your workouts. Here are a few I love:
- Lap Swim
- HIIT and Plyometric Workouts
- Roller Blading
- Jump Rope
Make Realistic Goals
Don’t expect to workout five times a week, avoid all sugary foods, and exercise for hours when you’re just starting up! Focus on one part of health and fitness at a time, and you’ll be more likely to stay consistent. In my experience, when I focus on improving my performance in practice, I naturally crave more filling, substantial, and healthy foods anyway. Make a few goals for yourself today, and make sure they are realistic for your schedule and situation.
Be Ready for a Challenge
Running totally changed my mentality for doing hard things. I had to be ready to push myself and keep going even when I didn’t feel like it. Expect a challenge and work hard to push yourself. In my experience, many people (myself included) end up enjoying the challenge in the end.
How to Stay Consistent
Workout with Someone Else
Accountability is so important. If you planned to go run with a friend, you can’t just cancel or delay as easily. Grab a friend or sibling and make an exercise plan with them. Comment below if you would be interested in a workout accountability plan here on Joyful Creations too!
Another side to this is that when you’re exercising with someone else, you have a distraction from the pain. It’s just more fun in general and in the most intense parts, you can know that someone else is ‘suffering’ with you 😂. It makes a huge difference.
Suggested: How Running Changes the Way I View My Faith
Switch It Up!
Doing the same thing every. single. day. gets very boring and draining. Change up your exercise schedule! When my coaches give us workouts, they don’t have us the exact same thing two days in a row. Your body needs different kinds of workout intensities and focuses and your mind needs something to keep you interested. For a variety of running workouts that I trained with in the spring, check out 5 Workouts to Make You Run Faster.
Also, when you’re just getting started with running, it can help to switch to something other than running every once in a while. Go for a bike ride with a friend or a hike with the family. Changing things up will help you stay motivated in the long run.
I touched on this before, but I want to stress this point again.
- Don’t Do Super Intense Workouts Every Day – I explained this before, but I wanted to remind you one more time. 😊
- Stretch Regularly – recovery is just as important as your workouts!
- Change Up the Focus – try focusing on different parts of fitness on different days. Do distance and fast intervals for running, but don’t neglect your arms and core. Overall strength and health is important!
Last, but not least, here is a playlist to help you crush your next workout!
I hope these tips were helpful! For more fitness and running tips, check out these posts:
Fashion Friday: Staying Warm Outside (during runs)
What is your favorite way to exercise?
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Last Week’s Post: Video Q&A: Favs, Faith, and Photography
Featured: Run to Jesus
P.S. If you’re curious, the watch featured in the pictures is the Garmin Forerunner 35. It’s pretty simple, about $100, and works great for running.
All photos in this post are mine. No use allowed without permission. All rights reserved.