Whether it is to lose weight, get toned or just live a healthier lifestyle overall, the thought of beginning a new journey of fitness can be intimidating. You probably don’t even know how or where to start! You are not alone and I am telling you that it is never too late to begin.

Here are some extremely helpful and sensible tips to get your new lifestyle of fitness and health started! These tips will help you mentally and emotionally prepare for the journey ahead before you even start with the physical stuff.

1. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch

I cannot emphasize this enough! If you haven’t worked out in a while the best thing for your muscles is to warm them up and stretch them. Don’t go wild and try to do the splits, simply do gentle stretching to get those muscles ready for what is about to come. This will help prevent injury.

2. Drink Water

Now this one may seem obvious BUT do you know how much water you should be drinking a day? Yes, drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water is a good start, but depending on your weigh, height, physical activity and many other factors, there is a specific amount of water you should be drinking. Check out this Hydration Calculator to find out how much water you should drink a day. Getting in the habit of drinking the proper amount of water will minimize muscle soreness and dehydration.

3. Figure Out Your Appropriate Calorie Count

It is going to be extremely beneficial to know how many calories you should be consuming. Just like there is a certain amount of water you should consume, there is a certain number of calories you should consume as well. This will make losing weight and becoming healthier overall 10 times easier. There are tons of sites or applications you can download on your phone to keep track of your calories, MyFitnessPal being free and the most popular.

4. Rid Your House of Junk Food

As hard as it might be, rid your pantry, room, cupboards and drawers of all that junk food you know you shouldn’t be eating. No more feeling guilty for sneaking in that Twinkie or bag of chips. It is normal to have temptation but if you throw away all that junk food, temptation will not win. This will help you reach that health and fitness goal. Make sure to always keep the bigger picture in mind!

5. Pick a Set Workout Space

A lot of people don’t want to pay for a gym pass and that is perfectly fine! You don’t need a gym pass to exercise. Simply pick a space in your house, whether it is the garage, the backyard or the living room, and make it and inviting place to exercise. Push the couch aside, set up your weights and get going!

6. Make Working Out Fun

For those of you that absolutely hate even the thought of working out, find different ways to make it fun. Exercise does not have to be boring. Call up a friend and see if they want to do a scenic hike with a beautiful view at the end. Or do an early morning walk to catch the sunrise. You can also plan an outing like ice skating with a group of friends.

7. Make Time

One of the biggest excuses for not exercising is time! How many times have you said, “I just don’t have time to workout today.” If mornings and evenings don’t work, what about your lunch break? Find a time and COMMIT!

8. Figure Out Your Weaknesses

It is common for people to experience something that makes them throw all their discipline out the window. For example, you might be extremely stressed out from work and decide, “okay, today I am going to eat whatever I want and not exercise because I don’t feel like it and it will make my stress feel better.” This is not the answer! We all know that feeling but doing this every time you are stressed or sad is going to set you back. That is why it is so important to acknowledge that weakness and tell yourself you will not do it this time.

9. Get Others on Board or Join a Group

It is hard to have a positive attitude and actually WANT to get fit, especially for those that are just embarking on a new journey to change their health and fitness. It is often intimidating but you do not have to be alone. Consider joining a fitness group that reminds you to keep up that good work or enter a challenge that will motivate you to reach your goal.

Getting a friend or significant other on board to become healthier and stronger is a really good idea. If the people around you are on the same page it makes everything easier and more enjoyable for you. You won’t be the only one eating a grilled chicken salad while everyone else eats pizza!

10. Take it Slow and be Patient

Wouldn’t it be nice if all this health stuff could just happen overnight? Yes, that would be ideal but unfortunately that isn’t the case. This process is going to take time so patience is a virtue. Don’t try to do things at full speed otherwise you will burn yourself out or even worse, injure yourself. An easy way to build up to your goal is to start your first week of exercising for 10 minutes then each week increase it by 10 more minutes until you can consistently and efficiently work out for an hour or so.

This whole healthy fitness thing might be new to you but it is never impossible. Follow these tips and your journey will be a smooth one.