Fighting back against chronic pain with a simple, creative, & healthy lifestyle. Inspiring others to become warriors.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

3 Initial Steps to Starting a Workout Program


1. Give Yourself Two Weeks to Prepare

I'm serious, don't start tomorrow, plan ahead. Just like with the Whole30 eating program, you want to start something and make it stick!

Strip Your Schedule
I'm serious. What are you going to give up to get your workout in?

One less hour of TV? 20 minutes of social media binging? One less round of Overwatch?

Think about it. To start something new "when you don't have time"to exercise...then prepare yourself in two weeks in advance of starting a workout program by slowly cutting off some of your "entertainment" over the next week or two.

But Mayo...I use that time to relax and unwind?!?!

You know what else is relaxing and unwinding....exercise.  'Nuff said.

If you know all of this, then find out what your true resistance is to working out?  Do some self-reflection in the two weeks you are preparing to start your workout program.

Headspace has a great meditation pack that is 10 days long on Acceptance that helps you to clarify what you are resisting.

If you really, truly feel that finding room in your schedule is impossible, read The Miracle Morning.  This book gives you all the tools to start your workout program.  Read this in your two-week prep.

Start saying the following affirmations out loud for 5 - 10 minutes with feeling for the following two weeks.

The benefits of exercise help me in so many ways.  It gives me strength and health.  It gives me energy and eases the burden of stress.  Exercise opens the door to a better, stronger, and healthier future. When I exercise I feel happy and excited to be moving my body.  I look forward to the future when this is a habit.  Changing up my routine may be challenging at first but when exercise is a habit, it will become second nature to me like brushing my teeth in the morning.  I am excited to see what I can achieve each new day I workout.

2. Start Slow

I love the couch to 5K programs, what a way to feel defeated in the first week.

If you are serious about making this a lifelong habit, don't start with something that you are dreading.

Sure a 5K is a great goal but not if you hate running, have been inactive for years or even decades, you are over 30, or have health issues.

Why over 30? Your body rapidly declines in Human Growth Hormone after 27. Around 30 is when most lifelong adult injuries occur. You blow out your knee, hurt your back, or start getting tendonitis problems like crazy.

You won't ever see me making a goal of running a 5K or hell even a 3K.  Even though my adhesive arachnoiditis is not as severe as others, that is not a good or even an ideal goal for me.

Set an ideal goal for you and your lifestyle.

Maybe your goal is just being consistently committed for once?
Maybe your goal is to work up to X mile(s) of walking by December?
Maybe it is to get active enough to actually attend a yoga or pilates class in a few months?
Maybe you are not a chronic pain or illness warrior and you can do a 5K?

Then go for it but put a realistic time limit. Do you how many of my friends, sorority sisters, and coworkers I've known through the years set a goal of a 5K in six weeks and achieve it? One. Just one.

How much does discouragement set you back in your goals? Think about it.

Just to do updog (which is usually done on the ground)
my yoga master uses props, belts, and stools to help
me get in the correct position. She also only had me hold
this pose for only 10 seconds. Crawling before Walking!
Crawl Before You Walk Exercise Program

If you are a chronic pain and illness warrior like me, start with a walk to your mailbox. Your goal is to get around the block in 3 - 6 or even 12 months depending on the severity of your limitations.

I'm up to a 20-minute walk with my dog, and some days that's definitely a challenge. I'd personally rather do yoga.

If you don't have chronic conditions and are under 50 years old, start with a medium to brisk 15-minute walk. If you are over 50 you may want to start with a slow 10 to 15-minute walk.

Your goal is to work up to 30 minutes by the end of 30 days.  60 minutes or 3 miles (that's usually the time the average person can walk 3 miles) by the end of 3 - 6 months.  This does depend on age and how long you have been inactive.

Reached it? Pick up your speed and shorten the time it takes you to do three miles.

If walking isn't your thing, or you feel you need to up your slow game, put on a yoga DVD and only do 10-second holds. Make a goal of reaching 30-second holds in X months? It took me between 5 - 6 months to reach 30-second holds.

No yoga?

There are pilates and strength training programs on Apps, YouTube, and DVDs.

Take it slow and limit yourself to less time or pulses in a pilates hold.

Lifting weights? Start with 10, yes, just 10 once and with low weight.

Think of this as physical therapy, not weightlifting. A physical therapist isn't going to start you out with 10 reps 3 times!

After one month of just 10, make next month 8 reps twice, then in another month 10 reps twice. Eventually, work up to 15 reps 3 times or at that point join a gym and get a trainer.

Keep saying your affirmations!

You may notice I don't say start with running.  Find out why running is terrible for you here, here, and here.

Now to combat soreness treat yo self with an Epsom salt bath with or without essential oils.


3. Consistency not Intensity

I am at the point where I am in great shape for someone who has debilitating chronic pain and a progressive disease that can't be cured. Dare I say it. I'm in better shape than my husband who has zero health problems and is 6 years my junior.

I've lost 31 pounds since my second back surgery - the one that was life-changing. I've lost 8 inches off my thighs and 10 from my waist all while being in some of the worst uncontrolled pain of my life.

Where I really improved was this past January. I got consistent. 5 - 20 minutes of working out every day depending on my pain level.

From January to this morning when I did my measurements, I lost 11 3/8 inches total overall. That's what consistency did, every morning as a part of The Miracle Morning's Life S.A.V.E.R.S. I get my E every damn day!

It took my workout game to the next level. It's not an intense workout, it does challenge me, the key is...I'm not dreading it. I look forward to it. I have a specific time in my daily schedule for it and if I do it in the morning, I'm at my lowest pain level of the day.


3 Initial Steps to Starting a Workout Program comes from my own rehabilitation journey over 2017.

These 3 things I incorporated over my year of finding out what works and what doesn't to try to get control over my back surgeries.

Unfortunately, halfway through my journey, I was diagnosed with adhesive arachnoiditis, so what was my rehabilitation program turned into my lifelong treatment program.

My fitness goals for 2018.  
Work up to a two-minute plank series by December.
(I'm at 45 seconds)
Attend yoga class once a week without fail.

Stay tuned for more exercise advice and tips for sticking with your goals and sign up under the "follow by email" to get the content delivered to your inbox. 

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