How To Get Into A Fitness Routine

Happy Friday!

I have received several emails from readers lately asking how to get into a fitness routine.  They have a strong desire to start exercising and getting into the habit of it, but can’t seem to stick with it.  Those of you that are avid exercisers and have your routine down pat, props to you!  I encourage you to still read along and share any other advice you have in the comment section.


1.  Write out your goals on paper

What are you wanting to accomplish?  Ensure that your goals follow the SMART principle (S = specific; M = measurable; A = attainable; R = relevant; T = timely).  You can also read tips on how to reach your goals HERE.

2.  Do research and gain knowledge

If you don’t have much experience and/or knowledge with fitness, I would highly encourage you to speak with a fitness professional to get down the basics.  Sign up for a few sessions with a personal trainer, do research at the library or online, and/or take some group fitness classes!  You don’t want to get into a fitness routine without any knowledge otherwise you could be setting yourself up for injury and/or failure.

3.  Schedule your workouts into your daily planner or calendar

Treat your workouts just like you would any other important meeting.  So many people tell me “they don’t have enough time.”  Sorry, bad excuse.  If you want to wake up early and do your workout in the morning, go to bed earlier.  If you want to do your workout after work, get other things done during your lunch hour or before you leave for work.  Workouts don’t need to be an hour or more long to be a quality workout either.  There are plenty of workouts you can do in 20 minutes or less that are just as effective.

4.  Don’t overwhelm yourself

You don’t need to workout 5-6 days per week to see results.  Planning workouts 3-4 days out of your week is completely reasonable!  Also, don’t go balls to the wall crazy for every workout.  You will burn yourself out!  Take it easy and work up to your goals.

5.  Look for ways to be active outside of your planned workouts

If you can only get to the gym 3 days out of the week, don’t stress!  Look for other ways to be active in your day to day life.  Go on an after dinner walk with your family or a friend, park far away so you have to walk more, take the stairs, go on a walk during your lunch break, chase your kids at the park.  There are endless activities you can partake in that will add up in the long run.

6.  Eat a nutritious diet and focus on REAL foods

A lot of people tell me they don’t have enough energy to add a workout on top of their already busy days.  I get that, we are all so busy these days.  One thing that will help give you that extra boost of energy is eating a nutritious diet full of lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats, and produce.  I promise you will feel SO much better!

7.  Find a type of exercise that you enjoy

So many people assume that the only way they can get into shape is to run or go on the elliptical for hours on end.  Wrong!!  There are SO many different types of exercise out there.  Try them all until you find one that you enjoy!  If you find something you enjoy, you are more likely to look forward to it and keep up with your routine.  Exercise isn’t supposed to be a dreadful experience!

I hope these tips can help those of you that are wanting to get into a routine with your exercise.  It takes dedication and hard work, but you can and will get there if you truly want to!  I find that for most people, the first month or so is the hardest.  Once you get past that point, it will most likely develop into a daily habit.  Feel free to email me if you have any other questions!


  • What stops you from getting into a regular exercise routine?
  • Avid exercisers: Any other tips you’d like to share?
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  1. says

    Great pointers. If running after work, I always change at work so I’m ready to go. After a couple weeks you just get used to it and it becomes part of your routine. I saw this awesome motivational thing on FB last month…”It’s not about having time, it’s about making time.” If you really want to get into fitness/change your habits…you gotta work for it! Lsss talking, more doing.

  2. says

    I love this! Especially #4. :) Sometimes my mindset is that if I work out everyday, then I am really helping my body, but in the long run I could actually be hurting it.
    Thanks Ashley!

  3. says

    I completely agree with all of your points!

    I think a big thing for new exercisers to something that is attainable and doable, then build up from there!
    When I started exercising regularly, I started going to the gym just a few times a week for sometimes as short as 10-15 minutes. The more I went, the more I became focused on how exercise made me feel, and I starting LOVING that feeling I would get after each workout. I started taking fitness classes, experimenting with swimming, running, and the stationary bike, and have built up to an exercise routine that I love.

    My key things:
    -Do a variety of exercises. I don’t think I could go to the gym and do the bike or elliptical I’d get so bored.
    -If there is a day where you feel sore/tired and were planning on a workout that day, know it’s perfectly okay and good to take a day off.

    I think it’s just all about finding what you are comfortable with and what you enjoy :)

  4. says

    #3 is most important to me! You wouldn’t cancel on a friend just because you don’t feel like it, you’re not in the mood, or you’re tired, so don’t cancel on a workout!! I do feel strongly also that personal trainers can help if you need that first motivation of actually getting to the gym and developing a fitness plan! All great tips!

  5. says

    I love your tip about being active outside of your workout routine, like taking a walk. I think that’s so important to following a real “healthy, active lifestyle”. Just working out in the gym for an hour a day isn’t enough. You have to be active all the time. Plus, it breaks up the monotony of the gym. Happy weekend, lady!

  6. says

    I think my two big tips would be 1) remember how proud of yourself you feel AFTER the workout and how crappy you feel when you skip and 2) once you get into a routine, it will be weird for you to imagine NOT working out! Seriously, it seems so weird to me that not everyone works out regularly but I used to not work out regularly!

  7. says

    I really agree with looking for ways to be active outside of planned workouts or strictly going to the gym. During the school year, I struggle to make it to the gym as often as I do during the summer months. It’s not worth it if it’s causing me serious stress. Instead, I’ll take my dog for an extra-long walk, or pull up an exercise video OnDemand so that I still fit something in, but I’m also not need to block off an hour+ in the evenings when I have lots of other things to do!

  8. says

    Great ideas, I agree strongly with #4, too much at once will overwhelm you physically and mentally, people forget that 20 minutes 4-5 times a week really adds up! What works best for me is to knock my workout out first thing in the morning, sometimes I am half way through a run before my body realizes what it’s doing! haha! It also gives me, some me time each morning which is necessary for my metal health!

  9. says

    These are all great tips! I agree that making workouts enjoyable is a MUST!

    I always make sure I pack all of my running/workout gear if I’m going to workout really early in the morning or after work. If everything is all set out ahead of time, I can’t make the excuse that I couldn’t find something.

  10. says

    These are all great tips!

    When I first got into exercising, I found the thing that really worked was planning to go to group classes with a friend. It made me accountable to my friend, and it also lessened the “scaryness” of new exercises and working out in front of strangers. Even if I wasn’t good at it, I could laugh about it after with my friend. After I knew what to expect from the classes and had built up my confidence, I started going on my own in between.

    I also like to track all of my workouts on something like dailymile. Even if I can’t immediately FEEL my progress, I can look back and see that yeah, I actually DID do all those workouts and see how the miles built up, pace got faster, etc. Plus, I can look back at how certain workouts made me feel, where I could learn from them, etc.

    Finally, keep reading inspirational healthy living blogs like this one! I honestly don’t think I’d be at my physical/healthy mindset without tuning in to these lovely gals. :)

  11. says

    There were time during this year when I was already only getting 5-6 hours of sleep and literally had no time to workout. In all honesty though, that didn’t happen very often – usually I could find SOME time in my day to work out. What is motivating me to work out now is the motivation to not get OUT of shape again because getting back in shape is one of the worst feelings.

  12. says

    I think that your tips are great! Especially the one about gaining knowledge! It is SO important when you’re working out. I also think that it helps that I’ve found people to talk to about working out. If you don’t have friends/family who are into it, they don’t understand the passion you have for it. Going to the gym/for a run with somebody is also an obligator.

  13. says

    love this post! for me it’s important to not just make exercise a habit (part of my schedule, not something that I can plan something over) but to also avoid making it too much of a routine–I’m continually trying new workouts, new classes, different paces when running, etc. all to avoid getting bored!

  14. says

    Perfect points! I agree with doing what you enjoy, its so important otherwise you will get bored and end up not doing anything. It can be hard to find that fitness “niche” so to speak, but you just have to keep trying, eventually anyone can find something they enjoy! Have a great Friday!xo

  15. says

    Loved this! What works best for me is to schedule workouts on my calendar and to do things I actually like. Running in the humidity is a total buzz kill for me, and I’m less likely to do it. Scheduling fun things like strength circuits with a new playlist, rollerblading, or going for a bike ride motivate me to move more and enjoy sweating!

  16. says

    Great tips Ashley! I am going to share this with my mom… she is trying to get back into working out (for a long time now) and I know these tips would help her out! Seriously I am about to and let you know what she thinks :)

  17. says

    My best tip is: scheduling!! I figure out my exercise for the week on Sundays, so that I know what I’m going to do before I do it.

    Another good tip: figure out what time of day works for you and stick to it. I know I’m a lot more likely to get a good workout in if I go right when I wake up, so I stick with that as much as possible.

  18. says

    I think the most important is finding something you LOVE to do. For me, I can’t do anything on a machine or I am super miserable.

  19. says

    Great tips! I especially like the one where you are scheduling time with yourself to exercise. I have to do that or else the day gets in the way.

    Someone once told me to make it a habit, like brushing your teeth. you wouldn’t go without brushing… so don’t go without exercise! :)

  20. says

    Great tips, Ashley! I think enjoying yourself is key as well as setting yourself up for success. If you plan on getting up early in the morning to work out, then set out your clothes and shoes the night before and make sure to get to bed a few minutes early. If you plan on hitting the gym after work, pack your clothes so you don’t have to run home (where you could get easily distracted by things you need/want to do there). One last thing that really seems to help is to have a workout buddy or someone to keep you accountable.

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