When you start your fit journey, you soon find out that you ‘simply’ need to do two things: eat healthy and work out. One does not go without the other. Eating right can be a hassle and it isn’t easy fighting daily temptations. But choosing the right kind of sports isn’t either. You have to find something that is exciting enough to drag your ass to for three or more times a week. And it must be a place that doesn’t serve wine or cocktails ;)
How to choose a sport that fits your personality
Let me start out by making clear that EVERY type of workout is better than not working out. Whether you start out with two short runs a week or completely dive into an active lifestyle right away: it’s super badass that you came off the couch and started to care for yourself and your body. So what can help you find something that suits you?
Team player or solo?
You could start by asking yourself: am I a team player or do I like flying solo? Think about if you would like to compete against others with a group of people or if you are more interested in challenging yourself. Examples of group sports are soccer, basketball and hockey. How about thinking outside of the box and looking into street dance or rowing.
If you would rather start by yourself, there’s things you can do outside or at home. Running, jumping rope or exercise with our video challenges. The downside: you need to motivate yourself entirely; there is no trainer or expensive subscription that drives you to it. The upside: easy to fit in your busy schedule and it doesn’t cost that much money.
Discover the sport facilities in your neighborhood
Maybe you didn't notice, but there are a lot of different types of workout places in your neighborhood. When I started my fit journey, I was a bit lost. Hitting the gym didn’t work for me and I had no idea what else to do. I asked my friends about their experiences and learned there are so many things to choose from. Also all the variations of familiar sports that I didn’t know of. For example, my best friend is crazy about Bikram Yoga. It’s a routine of yoga poses and breathing exercises, but what's different is that you practice in a room that’s really really hot. It’s really intense, but the atmosphere is very ‘zen’ and she always comes out stretched and relaxed. If you would rather do something really active, there are many high-intensity sports to choose from. Bootcamp lessons in the park, an hour of Insanity and a tough Crossfit ‘Workout Of the Day’ really challenge you physically and mentally. Plus you'll never have the same workout. There’s a great variety of moves and exercises that alternate. Boxing, Taekwondo or Karate are really focused on mastering techniques.
Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone
At most sport locations you can try a lesson for free or they offer a trial period for a special price. That’s an awesome way to find out if a sport is for you. It can be difficult to go there by yourself for the first time. You could take a friend with you if that makes you feel more comfortable. Go there once and if you feel like you want to come back within a day or two, it’s probably a place where you could feel at home after a while. When I first started working out publicly, I felt a bit stupid because I didn't know what I was doing and didn't have any strength at all, but it helps to remember: everyone started out somewhere. It’s important that you can be yourself when you workout. You don’t want to have to think about how you look when you are busting your ass off. So choose a place where you feel welcome, but do not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Every beginning of something beautiful can be a bit overwhelming or scary!
SET GOALS TO KEEP YOU MOTIVATED
What would you like to accomplish?
You can think about having two or three different kind of sports, especially if you are easily bored with something (like me). I really like the combination of Crossfit and running. I never liked gymnastics in high school because we always had to compete with each other, and I never cared if we won or not. That’s not a teamplayers attitude of course. But I do like other people and the motivation I get from them. So Crossfit is my social thing: everyone is super nice and helps each other. When we do an exercise I get fired up. I’m entirely focused and do not have time to think about anything else other then 'I need to survive this'. Running on the other hand is something I love to do alone. It gives me the time to think about everything that goes on in my life, clear my mind of negative thoughts and plan my activities for that week. In both sports, I can set goals for myself: lift a bit heavier every time or train to run a marathon. I think it’s really important to think about what you want to accomplish, besides losing weight or getting a more toned body. Talk to your trainer about this, especially in the beginning. Tell him or her what you would like to change in your life, and they will want to help you get there. You don’t have to do this alone!
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Not every sport you like will like you back. It’s important to listen to your body. My osteopath told me yoga isn’t the best thing for me to do, because of my hypermobility. My body is too flexible and for me, it’s better not to stretch too much or try to make my muscles leaner. I benefit more from lifting weights, because
my muscles get tighter and hold my flexible limbs together. A friend of mine has a problem with her knees, so running on the concrete roads of the city isn’t good for her. If you have any injuries or pains, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist about what your plans are and if that’s the best choice for you.
If you are overweight, not every sport will be easy to start with. You could think about starting your fit journey in the water. Besides swimming, you could also try a lesson of aquarobics, aquajogging or hydrospinning (yes, spinning bicycles in the water!). Most swimming pools offer a variety of aqua-activities. It’s really fun, you don’t feel hot and sweaty, and time really flies by. I know a swimsuit is not the easiest thing to put on if you are conscious about your body, but don't worry, you'll be under water the entire time. Plus, I’ve seen so many different people there: young and old, in every shape and size, it really doesn’t matter. It’s an easy way to lose the first pounds: in the water you use all of your muscles because you have to constantly stabilize yourself. And you come home showered and clean, ready to start your day or head to bed. But even high intensity training can be good for you: just keep in mind at first you must scale every exercise to your potential.
After a while it gets easier to go and there’s a chance you'll get addicted to working out! For me, it’s still a bit of a ‘task’ sometimes, and last week I even cried on the ride to my Crossfit box because I really didn’t feel like going. It’s not always easy to motivate yourself and sometimes being a Fit Girl just sucks. But every single time I do go, I get that high while pushing myself to my limits. And afterwards I feel so great and really happy that I went. Of course, it also helps you start seeing changes in your body after only a few weeks! This, plus being proud of yourself that you do your best, keeps you motivated. Trust me.