7 Things to “Ditch” when Starting an Exercise Program


As a parent, it is often difficult to find the time to fit an exercise routine into your life. However, participating in a regular fitness routine can help you have more energy, release stress and tension, make you feel better overall, and set a good example for your children.

I am not a personal trainer or health professional, so I will not pretend to be the expert on what you should and should not do to get fit. However, experience has taught me that there are also many things not to do when beginning and sticking with an exercise program.

7 things to ditch

Ditch the excuses. If you want to make a change for a healthy, active lifestyle, there is no room for excuses. Research indicates once a person becomes invested in a training program, they will likely continue. Every two years Running USA compiles a survey on runners which includes a profile of the average runner, based on over 30,000 participants. According to the 2013 report, runners “were motivated to start running for exercise and continue to stay motivated for the purposes of staying in shape.”

Ditch the fear. If you are scared of failure or scared in general about beginning an exercise program, you need to just get over it. Do not be scared, but think of this as a challenge, an adventure. Many gyms, training programs, and classes can seem intimidating to someone who has not exercised in a long time, or maybe even ever. But there are many easy ways to break into a fitness routine. The best way to start is with a group of people at the same fitness level. For example, the participants in the Couch to 5K program all begin with an inactive lifestyle and train to complete a 5K run, which could be an excellent choice for someone who is just starting an exercise regimen.

** Columbia has several fun 5Ks coming up in March including the Color Run (aka, the Happiest 5K on the Planet!) and the Moe’s Burrito Run.

Ditch the unrealistic expectations. So your goal is to complete a distance run? Is it really a big deal if you have to stop and walk some from time to time? A walked 5K is better for you than no exercise at all. You are only competing against yourself, so do not worry about how fast others can run in comparison. A friend recently said to me “A twelve minute mile half marathon is just as finished as a six minute mile.” If you set small, achievable goals, you will naturally improve over time. You will feel stronger. There is no reason to be scared or push yourself to attain unreasonable goals.

Ditch the crappy diet. If you are putting a bunch of junk in your body, you will not have the energy and fuel that you need to exercise well. Rather than feeling better, you will continue to feel exhausted. A strange thing happens though when you begin to exercise. Your body seems to crave better choices and you also realize how hard you have to exercise to work off a cheeseburger and fries. You need good energy, and lots of it, to have a productive workout. It goes without saying; make sure you are drinking plenty of water!

Ditch the old shoes. Good quality, comfortable shoes are a must. You need to be comfortable and avoid injury if you plan on maintaining an exercise schedule. Invest in a good pair of shoes, especially if you plan on beginning a running program.

Ditch the watch. Keeping tabs on time just makes the workout seem like it goes on forever and ever. Rather than focusing on the time that has passed or is still left before you are finished, focus on something else. As examples, you can try to lose yourself in the music you are listening to or the thoughts in your head. Running provides an amazing opportunity to clear your mind and think about the things your hectic lifestyle makes difficult.

Ditch the naysayers. In a perfect world, everyone around you would want nothing more than to see you succeed. However, this is not always the case. There is an odd phenomenon in our culture that some people like to see others fail. Those people are no good for you. Find a group of like minded individuals who are committed to making a change. They will support you.

So if you’re serious about having a more active lifestyle, then ditch the things holding you back. Through personal experience, I found these seven factors kept me from meeting my fitness goals. But once I ditched these things (or at least make a strong effort to do so), I was able to go from Couch to 10K in one month and am currently training for a half marathon and a sprint triathlon. Hope to see you at the finish line!

What have you had to “ditch” from your personal life to meet your fitness goals?


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Alexa Bigwarfe is a mother to 3 wildlings who keep her on her toes. She is an advocate, activist, speaker, author & author coach, publisher, and podcaster. Her writing career began after her infant daughter passed away at 2 days old and she turned to writing for healing. Since then, she has used her writing platform for advocacy and activism to support mothers, children, and marginalized voices. She began a nonprofit, Sunshine After the Storm, to provide support, care, healing retreats, and grief recovery to mothers in their most difficult time. She is the creator and co-host of the Lose the Cape podcast, which features moms working to make a difference in their children's lives and has co-authored and published four volumes under the Lose the Cape brand. Her primary business is Write|Publish|Sell, a company dedicated to shepherding authors through the massive process of writing and publishing their books like a pro. She owns her own publishing house, Kat Biggie Press, and a children's book publishing company, Purple Butterfly Press - both dedicated to bringing stories of hope, inspiration, encouragement, and girl-power to the world. Learn more at alexabigwarfe.com.



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