Are there any secrets to getting started with a fitness program?

The best way to start a fitness program is to approach it with realistic goals and a long-term mindset. Regardless of what form of exercise you choose, spend some time learning about it and any preparation that might come in handy before diving in. And then, dive in! Sometimes the hardest part about exercising is just getting started.

It is important to find methods of exercise that you enjoy, which can take some trial and error, but will ultimately help you stick with it and achieve the results you are after.

There are no "secrets" to getting started with a fitness program. Starting a fitness program takes both time and effort, yet, with the proper planning, most people can begin a fitness program that leads to success. Before starting any type of fitness program, be sure to seek clearance from your doctor first. Once cleared for physical activity, determine a goal. Use a blank piece of paper to write down your goal and leave space for the rest of your fitness plan. Ask yourself why you want to start a fitness program. Make sure your goal is specific, challenging, and realistic. You may need to start with a smaller goal that will allow you to see results in less time. The goal should be measurable in order to encourage progress, and it should be a goal that can be attained within a set amount of time. Next, assess you fitness level by establishing a few benchmarks by which you will measure your progress. The following are a few examples of assessments that are measurable:

• body weight;

• circumference measurements;

• body mass index (BMI);

• number of repetitions you can perform during a set amount of time;

• length of time it takes to walk a certain distance.

Once you have performed a few assessments, write down the results. Design your fitness program based on your goals and the results from your assessments. Plan to progress your activity accordingly. If you are a beginner, then plan on progressing exercises slowly. This will help avoid injury. Also, schedule the times you will exercise and treat it as an appointment. Include different types of activity in order to avoid boredom. Most importantly, plan time in between your exercise sessions to allow for your body to recover. Next, make sure you have all the necessary equipment for your program. Do need a new pair of athletic shoes? Do you need to invest in exercise equipment? Do you need a gym membership? Finally, be sure to monitor your progress. Schedule a date within the next three to six weeks to repeat your assessments and decide whether or not you need to modify your program.

To get started on a successful exercise program there are some questions you can ask yourself and write them down so you can reference them at a later time.

1.  Decide what you want for yourself.  It can be from anything like feeling better, looking better or performing better if you are an athlete.

2.  Decide what you are going to change about you and your lifestyle.  Be honest with yourself, can you make the necessary changes to get the results you are looking for.  Also, realize you are the only one who can make your goals happen.

3.  Make a list on how you are going to succeed.  In order to succeed, make sure you seek professional help.  Learn all you can about exercise and body movement.  Understand how to use proper posture to make exercise easier and safer.  I have had many clients tell me they tried to read it and apply it but just don't get it.  Unless you are an exercise buff, proper exercise technique needs to be learned.  Make the investment to be safe and successful.

Now, let's get to work.  Visualize your success and never give up, it will happen.
Set yourself up for success. Find something fun to do. Add in an exercise partner and start off slowly with realistic expectations and goals.

Preparing for the first day of working out can be intimidating. Plan to spend your first day doing something you really enjoy and incorporate it into your day. If you are going to the gym, do some research ahead of time. What does your gym have that you are interested in doing? Pack your workout clothes the night before and leave them at the front door so you don't have to think about it the morning of. 

Have a personal trainer watch you perform a simple squat assessment.  This will give you valuable information specific to your frame. This assessment will tell you how your body is moving, even when you aren’t paying attention. What you see will determine what stretches and exercises are needed, if any, to correct your posture and maintain a healthy frame. The goal here is to stretch the muscles that are tight and strengthen the muscles that are weak. By doing so, your muscles will pull your bones into proper alignment. You should perform the squat assessment every four weeks to check your progress and to help you choose your stretches and exercises for the next workout plan.

If affordable, have the same trainer design your first fitness program. They will use the squat assessment to design a program to fit your specific needs.  This gives you a safe start while you get to know your body better.

There are no secrets to starting a fitness program.  Just the thought of you starting one is a huge step.  Many people know that they need to get into shape but never get past that first thought.  Now when you are ready to start your program there are some things you do need to ask yourself.  First off is what kind of goal do you have in mind.  Do you want to lose weight, increase muscle, build up endurance or a combination of things.  Second is how many day per week and how much time can you give to your workouts.  Third is how am I going to track what I do and how will I hold myself accountable to my goals.  Just remember no one is perfect and you may have set backs it is only natural.  However, if you have a plan in place you can never fail at what you want to acheive in your life. 
If you have not been a regular exerciser for a while it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of starting a fitness routine. It is easy to get discouraged.  

Other coaches here have mentioned that a fitness evaluation is a good start. Besides the obvious physical reasons for this, there is a psychological benefit as well. Through the process of talking to your physician about beginning a fitness plan, and going through a fitness evaluation you can begin to develop priorities. You can make better choices about how you are going to spend the time you devote to your fitness program. This experience can be very empowering.  


The most important thing is to enjoy what you are doing.  If you are happy with your fitness program then it will be much easier to incorporate in your daily routine. Ask yoruself: What are my goals? To feel healthier or perform better at sports, etc.  This question will really help you design a fitness program. A workout program should also be progressive. For instance, if doing resistance training, then the first four-six weeks should focus on low weights and high repetitions. As time moves on, increase the intensity. Best of luck and let me know how I can help!


I personally believe one of the secrets to starting a fitness routine is start slow. No matter what your goal is, whether it be hockey, running a marathon, or rock climbing you have to start slow. There is nothing worse than following through on a workout routine and sustaining an injury within the first month.

Try something simple and when you have mastered that increase your intensity. Progress forward slowly until you are at the level that you want.

Another equally important idea to think about is, you got any friends?

Nothing is better than having that friend to workout with. The accountability and comradeship you will develop will be motivation to stick with it.

The biggest secret is your choice of activity. Choosing an activity you enjoy will keep you motivated and looking forward to your workouts as opposed to dreading them. If you are interested in weight training and have never lifted weights before or want to lose weight in a healthy manner, a personal trainer can coach you in both these areas. A fitness program will be hard work, but set small achievable goals for yourself as well as long term goals. Keep good records of your measurements, body fat percentage, resting heart rate and weight so you can track your progress. 
The secret is there are no secrets. Attitude will be critical to overall success. Much like anything in life, positive attitude goes a long way in setting yourself up for success. Sharecare has eliminated most of the excuses, the rest is up to you.

Yes, BE READY!  Sounds simple but it is not.  Truth of the matter is if you are ready then you will do whatever, believe in yourself enough and go through whatever to accomplish your goal.

If you are not ready then excuses and being de-motivated can easily happen.  Being ready is not something you say, being ready is an internal belief that will fuel all your decisions moving forward.

Having a good choice, choosing the right gym, having the right exercise and nutrition program and anything you can think of are all important but secondary to actually being ready in your heart and mind.  If you are ready and believe in yourself you can and will accomplish all things.

In my particular business the tagline is Be Ready...Have Faith...Forgive Yourself!

Be Ready and your actions will follow suit.  Have faith in yourself and the process and be willing to pick yourself up and dust yourself if you fall short.  Do that and you will always succeed, ALWAYS!

There are not really any secrets about starting a fitness program, but I would offer a few helpful tips.

  • Write down your goals and remember why you want to start this program.
  • Make sure your physician has given you the all clear if you have any medical conditions.
  • If you haven't worked out in some time, it may be helpful to consult a personal trainer to make sure you are starting out with the proper exercises so that you don't do too much too fast.
  • Make sure you find activities that you really enjoy. You will stick with it longer and if you have a variety of activities then you can mix it up so you are not doing the same thing all the time.

Some exercise is always better than no exercise. So depending on what your goals are you just need to be motivated and keep moving!

Continue Learning about How to Prepare for Exercise

Why is it important to stay hydrated when exercising?
Hydration before, during and after exercise is crucial to performance and to maintaining the proper ...
More Answers
How can I prepare for yoga, Pilates, or barre if I'm not flexible?
Sadie LincolnSadie Lincoln
First of all, you are fine just as you are. Our job as instructors is to help you! Make sure you...
More Answers
What should I do before starting an exercise regimen?
National Academy of Sports MedicineNational Academy of Sports Medicine
To get your exercise regimen started, set some reasonable goals first. You’re more likely to enjoy y...
More Answers
How Should I Hydrate My Body When Exercising?
How Should I Hydrate My Body When Exercising?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.