Starting your first ever exercise routine? Here are five things you need.

So, you’ve decided it’s time to get fit. You want all the benefits that being fit offers: more energy, improved mood, better health and a body you feel comfortable in. Simply making the decision to start is the first step. But, unfortunately, you can’t just head out and begin working up a sweat. If you want to create a fitness routine that will stick to, no matter how sore or tired you are, you’ll need a few things.

Here are the five things you’ll need before you start your first ever exercise routine.

A plan

Do you know what kind of exercise you want to do? And what kind of environment you’d like to workout in? Does the high-intensity training of Crossfit appeal to you? Or what about kickboxing? The gym? How about in general, do you enjoy exercising with people or alone? If you enjoy exercising with other people around to support you, then you should look for classes that interest you. And you won’t have to look far. Whether you want to learn to fight or relax during a yoga class, there will likely be somewhere close to you that offers what you want.

Perhaps you’re more into solo exercise? Something that gives you time to clear your head and think about your day or daydream. Something that gives you time to simply be alone for once. Well, for that, you should consider hiking, running or jogging.

Research

Now, since this is the first time you’ve ever decided to give an exercise routine a proper chance, you need to do your research. You’ve chosen what kind of activity you want to partake in and now you need to find out all about it. If gym is your choice, find out which facilities near you offer the kinds of equipment and services you want (of course, you’ll also want to check the price as well). And with classes, you’ll want to find where and when you can attend beginners class… you don’t want to accidentally end up in an advanced kickboxing class, you really don’t.

And, if you’re planning on hiking, running or jogging, where will you be doing this? Look for hiking trails that you feel confident you can conquer and write all of them down so you can try a new one every weekend. If you’re planning to run or jog, what route would you choose? The best way to start running and jogging is to go around the neighbourhood. Having a set route means you can’t just decide to take a shortcut because it’s been a long day.

Time

You need to ensure you have the time to actually go through with your chosen exercise routine. If you’re not a morning person and you start work at 7:30 am, you’re not going to want to wake up at 5 am to hit the gym. You have to factor in things like how long it will take you to get ready for your chosen form of exercise, how long it will take you to get to the place where you plan to exercise and then you have to factor in the time it takes to shower and get dressed afterwards.

When factoring in the time you’ll need to exercise, think of all the little things you need to do both before and after exercising. You don’t want to have to skip moisturising with your favourite Ingram’s product after a hot shower just because you don’t have the time.

Motivation

You’re not getting anywhere if you’re not motivated. Don’t start an exercise routine half-heartedly. It won’t work out. You need to have a reason to be doing this and it has to be a good one. It’s best if you start with a realistic goal that you can easily achieve. You’ll be so motivated to reach that goal that your commitment won’t wane, even when all you want to do is sit on the couch, eat junk food and binge watch TV series.

If you’re not motivated or you’re exercising for the wrong reasons, you may as well give up before you even start. Rather that than waste money on classes, equipment, a gym membership or those expensive running shoes.

The right gear

You can’t run in just any old sneakers, you can’t do kickboxing in an old pair of jeans and you definitely can’t do yoga in a dress. You need to have the right gear. But that doesn’t mean you need to invest in the most expensive brand right away. Look at more entry-level gear when you’re starting out. Then promise yourself that you’ll purchase new, even better gear when you reach the goal you’ve chosen. You don’t want to spend large amounts of money on a whole running outfit only to leave it at the back of your closet after a week or two.