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How to begin a wellness routine that lasts

STORY: Karina Antenucci


It can be overwhelming to start working out and eating better if you haven’t ever really done it, or it’s been a while. Many people start a new routine in a new year and then drop it around four to eight weeks later, says Tyler Potts, registered nurse and certified health coach at Regenerative MedSpa of Buckhead. So how can you pull it off this year? Our fitness and nutrition experts shared some tried-and-true tips on how to get active and stay motivated in 2020.

Pick a workout you enjoy.

This is everything. If you don’t like it, you won’t do it. And if you don’t know what you like, then shop around. You might not enjoy a spin class, but you might love a Pilates class. “When you do find something you love and start burning calories and feeling those endorphins, it’s addictive and you’ll look forward to doing it,” says Ashleigh McDonald Hughes, cofounder of Reb3l Fitness, a new online dance-fitness program, and teacher at Dance 101 in Brookhaven.

Set realistic expectations.

The struggle will be real. Exercising is going to be hard. Don’t expect to be good at it overnight. “Would you walk into a college class expecting to know all of the material already? Then don’t expect to go to the gym for the first time and know how all of the machines work. It takes time,” says Potts.


Focus on small goals.

It can be easy to get fixated on losing 5, 10 or 25 pounds, but try not to focus on a number. Instead, concentrate on jump starting a regular workout routine and eating food for fuel and nourishment. “Make your goal obtainable and maintainable. Start slow and go week by week,” says Potts. Additionally, don’t change everything at once. For example, don’t cut out sugar, fast food, alcohol and meat as well as start working out all at the same time. “That’s just not realistic,” says McDonald Hughes. She suggests simply practicing mindful eating to begin with. This entails sitting down for two bigger meals per day instead of grazing throughout the day, which can lead to never feeling full and ultimately, overeating.

Get a workout buddy.

This is all about motivation. If someone else is counting on you to be there, it’s more difficult to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep instead of getting your butt out of bed and to the gym. “Find someone who’s willing to be committed to holding your feet to the fire when you don’t want to go exercise. Letting someone else down is harder than letting yourself down,” says McDonald Hughes. Potts adds, “Make sure that person is on your same level and has similar interests and goals. Don’t choose your really fit friend you can’t keep up with.”

Or, find a coach.

No workout buddy? Don’t sweat it. A health coach or personal trainer can also help keep you accountable, especially if you need that extra motivation and don’t think you’ll be able to sustain the routine on your own. He or she may also help with advising on nutrition and other lifestyle habits. Or seek advice from a registered dietician.

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