10 things top trainers wish they'd known before their first workout

When you’re first starting out with a new routine, particularly a new exercise routine, it can be hard to stay motivated. You wonder if your form is correct, if you’re working out enough, or if everyone in the gym is silently judging you. Getting up for your workout each day isn’t always easy, and it can be tempting to throw in the towel when it gets hard. You’ll be pleased to know that even top trainers have been there. Everyone has to start from the beginning, and everyone has to push past the same thoughts of resistance – even the pros. We asked some expert trainers what they know now that they wish they’d known before their first workout.

1. What’s your ‘why’?

Before you embark on a potentially challenging workout regime, be sure to ask yourself why. Why are you doing this? What do you hope to achieve? Wanting to look good on the beach is a great short-term incentive, but in order for a routine to become second nature, a more intrinsic form of motivation may be needed, whether health- or happiness-related.

2. Ask yourself, ‘why not?’

We all face challenges and resistance when beginning any new routine. Sometimes they’re external, whereas we sometimes place them upon ourselves. Try to think of one thing that’s standing between you and a successful new routine, and then come up with a strategy to overcome it. Is it a perceived lack of time, or the physical discomfort that comes with new exercise? Start to prioritise your schedule, or give yourself some positive pep talks to get over the pain.

3. Don’t push through stress

While exercise can be a stress-reliever, it’s also good to know your body and give it the breaks it needs. The saying ‘less is more’ is true; putting too much strain on your body straight away and in the potentially stressful first stages of your routine can be harmful. Learn to recognise when your body’s tired as opposed to when it’s feeling whole and ready, and respond accordingly.

4. Get an accountability buddy

Just telling someone else you’re going to work out can be a huge motivator towards getting it done. Spreading the word and having other people hold you accountable to your goals can spur you on – nobody wants to be the one who doesn’t do what they said they’d do.


Setting SMART targets isn’t just something school students are encouraged to do – it’s also useful for working out. Rather than simply having some elusive goal in mind, break it down into achievable targets. Rather than saying to yourself you’ll run a marathon one day, work first towards the 5K, and so on. Keep in mind what you’re working towards, write it down somewhere, and always celebrate the small wins when you reach a new milestone.

6. Remember to take it slowly

The good thing about having SMART goals is that reaching them feels easier. When you’re plugging away but seemingly not making progress, you might get discouraged. When you feel like you still have a long way to go, look back at your targets and your big ‘why.’ Keep these in mind and focus on enjoying the present moment. Get stuck into an exercise you love – make it one that stills your mind-chatter while you’re involved in it.

7. Are you having fun?

A common reason for skipping a workout is that it’s just not enjoyable. If you set out on a new workout routine but you choose an exercise you don’t enjoy, it’s unlikely that you’ll see it through. Make sure you choose an exercise that’s going to be fun for the most part. Don’t like the gym? Run outdoors, try a class, or take up a team sport like football or basketball.

8. Just do it

When resistance strikes, remember what Nike say… “Just do it.” We can talk ourselves out of anything if we try, so don’t give yourself the chance. One push-up is better than no push-ups at all, and once you’ve got that first one out of the way, the rest will come so much more easily. If you need some words of encouragement, head to this website and be motivated.

9. Treat yourself

Sometimes we all need an incentive to keep going. What can you bribe yourself with? Perhaps you’ve had your eye on a particular dress or pair of trainers. Commit to treating yourself once you’ve reached a particular target.

10. Don’t overcomplicate the matter

If the plethora of fitness apps and workout info are too much for you, cut them out. The latest piece of tech isn’t always helpful. Just putting on a pair of trainers and running out of your door is enough. Don’t overcomplicate things – just keep it simple, and get moving.

Have you just started out on a new workout routine? How are you pushing past resistance? What, if anything, is holding you back? Let us know in the comments!


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