Get help from our network of more than 300 experts on changes big and small, personal and professional.
Paige Waehner on Getting in Shape
Paige Waehner is a Chicago-based personal trainer with more than 12 years of experience and has been the author of About.com’s guide to exercise since the year 2000. Waehner has penned numerous articles on fitness and getting in shape, and is the co-author of The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness. She has also written an eBook entitled Guide to Become a Personal Trainer. Here, Waehner shares some important tips to help you get started on your fitness plan and the road to a fitter you.
What are the fears of fitness novices face during the first 30 days of getting in shape?
Many people are afraid to fail or that life won’t be as fun anymore once they start making changes to get in shape. They may also feel frustrated because they’ve tried to change before and it hasn’t worked. It’s important to realize that every attempt has something important to teach you, even if you don’t succeed.
What emotions are associated with beginning a new fitness plan?
The first 30 days—and beyond—is usually a mix of emotions: Excitement, fear and stress are just some of the emotions people may feel. I think the best way to deal with them is to know they’ll happen and that it’s OK to feel afraid or sad when you let go of an old self and create a new self. Most of us resist change—it’s scary and unpredictable and we like to be comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way as long as you don’t let it stop you from succeeding at your goals.
What specific things are important to do during the first 30 days of getting in shape?
Make your plan of action and then focus on one day at a time, one choice at a time. It can be overwhelming to think that you have to keep doing these things for the rest of your life. It’s much easier when you focus on what you’re doing right now and realize that the present is the only thing that really matters.
Why are the first 30 days so important to the success of a workout plan?
These 30 days will really set the tone for your success and give you a chance to practice your new habits again and again. The more you practice, the easier these choices will be. This is also a time of learning—seeing what it’s really like to make these changes and how it feels in your life. You may find that some things won’t work and need to be changed and that other things work fine. This is a powerful time to learn who you are and what you’re made of.
How can people really succeed during the first 30 days of a new fitness plan? What makes the difference for people who have not had success in the past?
Making life changes doesn’t have to be the end of the world. If you go into it thinking you’re giving things up and life will never be the same, all you’ll do is “get through” until you give up. If you believe that you’re enhancing your life, that positive viewpoint makes any changes you’re making easier to embrace. There will be times when you’re just “getting through” and other times when you’re sailing through. Embrace the whole experience—both good and bad.
What can people do to continue to improve their fitness post-30 days?
Evaluate where you are on a regular basis and continue to track your progress. Always remind yourself of your original goals and set new goals so you always have something new to work toward. It’s important to keep going even when you slip up.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
I’ve always liked the quote, “Leap and the net will appear.” We lose nothing by trying new things and we often find strength we never knew we had by breaking out of old routines from time to time.
The best thing about change is...
…freedom. Any time you can get out of your comfort zone, you build confidence in yourself. That confidence reminds you that you don’t have to be held back by your fears.
What is the best change you have ever made?
Becoming healthy and making exercise part of my life has been the best change I ever made. I’m happier, I have more energy and life is so much better when I’m strong and fit.
For more information on Paige Waehner, visit www.exercise.about.com.