How to START and keep a workout routine

Photo Credit - Rachel Gaddis

“Tricks and Gimmicks” by Coach Alex

Man, there is so much I can say about this but I will try to keep it in bite size chunks and elaborate or go on more tangents and variables in later posts.

Step 1:

Write down 3-5 types of exercises you like/love.

Put them in order of which you like most to least.

Write next to them how they make you feel during and after you do them.

Remind yourself why you like to do them. How happy you feel after, due to endorphins, due to feeling productive, due to knowing how you’re being healthy and bettering your life. If you hate exercising remind yourself why you’re exercising, your health, longevity of your life, to eat that burger later, your kids, your sadistic tendencies, your vanity, whatever it is. Write it.

No clue what to write? The simplest suggestion: I feel accomplished after and it is good for my health.

You don’t have to LOVE exercising to know its good for you, and you should do it regardless if you love it or not. But remember you don’t have to train like an Olympic athlete; going for a walk, swimming, yoga, Pilates, jujitsu… ANYTHING is better than nothing. Just show up and move and find the way YOU like to move.

Step 2:

SET a BIG Goal.

A final goal. What you wish to reach or accomplish in working out, eventually.

My Big Goal is_________

For means of this post I’ll use a pretty common goal I am told as a continuous example through this and how I would plan it for myself or clients.

My Big Goal is to get into a workout routine of 4 days/week for 1 hour each.

Step 2a: Start small.

Start 100% achievable. Set yourself up to win with smaller bite sized goals.

Goal #1 is ______________

There is no need to try and rush back into a routine or start off 5 days a week for 1 hour a day. If you know 100% you’re that person, great. Go. But if that’s not you, or your body isn’t there yet you may give up. If you’ve been struggling with a routine for a while or struggled to start in general, this may be your biggest problem. Too much too soon. Most people try to hit the gym hard to get back into it, back to where they used to be or to where other people are. There’s where people go wrong. Focus too soon on where they were and not where they are now. They go in, hit it hard, wear themselves out, stress themselves out, maybe even injury themselves and drop off.

Start small, start smart and build the habit and routine first. Then go from there. Show up to practice first before you try to win the race.

Ex) Goal #1: Exercise 2x/week for 10-20mins each. Monday and Wednesday (2 weeks)


And set a timeline for this goal. I will start this for 2 weeks.

Goal#1: Exercise 2 times/week for 20-30 mins. (2 weeks)

Goal #2: Exercise 3x/week for 20-30 mins. (2 weeks)

Goal #3: Exercise for 3x/week for 30-40 hour each. (2 weeks)


Start as small as you need to succeed. The only intention here is to succeed. It matters most that you get there not that you get there right now.

Step 3:


Pick the days and times you’re going to workout. Put them in your calendar like they’re a doctors appointment. Don’t just say “oh I’ll workout 2 times this week.” No, pick the days. Pick the times and stick to them.

Goal#1: Exercise 2 times/week for 20-30 mins. Monday and Wednesday 5 pm (2 weeks)

Goal #2: Exercise 3x/week for 20-30 mins. Mon/Wed 5pm, Friday 1pm (2 weeks)

Goal #3: Exercise for 3x/week for 30-40 hour each. Mon/Wed 5pm, Fri 1pm. (2 weeks)

*Helpful Hint #1: Add a back up day in. Because shit happens in life so plan for it.

Goal#1: Exercise 2 times/week for 20-30 mins. Monday and Wednesday 5 pm, Backup Friday 1pm (2 weeks)

Goal #2: Exercise 3x/week for 20-30 mins. Mon/Wed 5pm, Friday 1pm, Saturday 10am (2 weeks)

Step 4:

Pick the exercise.

If you like to plan ahead do it. If not, the day of, even in the moment, pick the exercise you want to do. Look at your list, pick the exercise that appeals to you most. Doesn’t matter which you do just enjoy doing it.

Many times when we think about exercise we think about the things we don’t want to do. We don’t want to do burpees, or run, or do yoga. DO WHAT makes you the happiest. If you’re not a runner, don’t run. If you hate yoga because its too slow, don’t do yoga. We are building back your love or routine of exercising, so find whatever gets you back in it and makes you want to go back and keep the routine.

Step 5:

Write them somewhere you can see everyday.

Write your Favorite Exercises, Goals, Days and Times somewhere you can see it constantly!

Here is an excel with example and printable sheets for you to easily fill out and print and hang somewhere easily visible to help remember your intention every day.

Routine Renovation

Extra #tricksandgimmicks to be successful.

Tip 1: Pick a backup day.

Pick a day that you can make up a day if you miss it. Shit happens in life so plan for it. Have a backup plan. Always be prepared.

Tip 2: Find accountable.

Sign up for a class you can’t cancel. Ask your spouse or a friend to hold you accountable, tell your coach when you’re coming, HIRE a coach or trainer, COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR GOAL! Let me and the internet hold you accountable. Anything! But make sure you have accountability outside to begin with. The best way to succeed in building a habit is to surround yourself with people who support you, find them and ask them to help. If they’re the right people to be around to succeed they’ll be more than happy to help.

Tip 2a: Find a friend!

Find a friend to GO with! Either someone who already goes regularly and join them, or another friend looking to get into a routine too! Having someone to not only hold you accountable but enjoy their company, “suffer” together, and keep the habit with is HUGE!

Tip 3: Plan ahead.

You have set your days and times and have someone or something to hold you accountable. Now help yourself succeed and pack your stuff the day before, or set out your gear or equipment at home. Get yourself ready before you even have to show up.

Tip 4: Be nice to yourself.

Don’t worry about being in shape or not, doing it perfectly, what other people see or think. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or how often or much they’re doing it. Just enjoy the movement, enjoy bettering your life, being healthier, being a little bit better everyday. Being YOU and accomplishing YOUR goals.  

Tip 5: Try something new!

If you haven’t found a type of exercise you like, try new ones! Instead of exercises you already know you like, make a list of 3-5 you’d like to try and each time you need to exercise pick a new one and give it a try!

Tip 6: Never half ass your workout.

Just because it is on your list to do don’t half do it. You’ll get more out of a 10 min hard workout then half assed dicking around on your phone for 1 hour. Think about that, what would you rather do, good effort for 10-30 mins and then have 30+ of that time in your life to do something else, or waste that hour doing next to nothing in the gym?

My Personal Story

”Remember you are not alone”

Remember you are not alone. I HAVE BEEN THERE, and recently. I went from competing in the Pro division for Granite Games, hitting numbers that could have qualified me for Nationals in Olympic weightlifting and all time life goals and PRs… to barely wanting to go to the gym hardly at all.

I went through a really weird stressful time in my life personally and on top of it needed surgery. So my world was upside down and my hip hurt like crazy, giving the gym multiple negative connotations for me. And it didn’t get better after hip surgery as I then became even more limited, albeit temporary. But I was so far from where I had been, where I had worked to get for so long. I was physically and emotionally stressed and just ended up so fed up, I often didn’t even want to go to the gym. Slowly the habit and joy faded. My mindset changed and that’s where I went wrong. I wanted to stay fit but my body and mind refused.

I started reminding myself why I loved working out, and that I didn’t need to train like I was going to Granite Games I just needed to move. That was a year goal, not now.

I started small. Some days I literally just went into the gym, walked on the treadmill at a incline for 15 mins, lifted for about 15, and left. Because that’s all I could mentally do that day. But I went. And I did that again a second time that week. Win. And every time I moved I felt better. And I built back that feeling and love of exercise by remembering how I felt a little bit better each time. After a few weeks I added another day, then more time….Until I met my goal of 4-5 days a week for 1 hour each.

And you bet your ass I utilized the time I spent when I was in the gym. I walked at a step incline and a decent pace, and I lifted as heavy as I could even if it wasnt much. I didn’t half ass, I worked fast but well to GTFO (get the fuck outta) there and make it worth showing up at all. I would write my workout before and tell myself the faster I do it the faster I can get out. And I’d text a friend when I got there too.

Slowly but surely I got back to it. I began to love the gym again, I got strong again, it became a habit again and no longer a chore or a negative feeling. Now I’m back to CF and always feel great about going after no matter if the voice in my head hesitated or debated going. Don’t get me wrong. I still have lazy days, tired days, days I would rather do something else, but I go back to my tricks and gimmicks and remind myself why I go and then I go.

You CAN and WILL get back to a routine if you just set your intention and keep trying. It’s a process but be patient, consistent and nice to yourself and you’ll get there.

Final reminders.

Start small. Because some is better than none.

At times if you take on too much you’ll feel you can’t do it and stop all together.

So start small. Then after a week or two add more time or days. Your make up day can become your third day. Then pick a new day to be your make up. Eventually it can become your 4th day to exercise, if that is your goal.

Just continue till you reach your goal, because you CAN reach your goal!

A goal of 3-5 days is amazing. You do not have to workout 6 days a week and for hours each day to be healthy. Sometimes this is even the opposite of healthy and can go against your goals. But more on that another day.

Start small. Because some is better than none.

So who’s starting their routine? What’s your goal?!  Write it down below!! I love seeing everyone’s goals and the internet and I can be your accountability! Put it into the universe and watch it unfold.