Recently I made a post on Instagram talking about creating a habit and how to create a habit in small steps. When I go searching for beginner routines and beginner fitness advice, there's this baseline understanding of someone's fitness level -- "where you should be at in general" without having ever focused on fitness or movement.
Here's a real truth: not a lot of people are at that "beginner" level. I was one of them.
When the seeds of Wondercrew Fitness started to plant (even before I knew it was going to become what it is now), I was climbing out of a depression that had completely taken me out of fitness and movement in general. It hurt for me to walk more than 5 minutes. I lost a lot of muscle and I gained a lot of weight. My mobility sucked. It just seemed ridiculous and unattainable at the time and worse: I felt bad. Wow, what kind of shitty human am I when I can't even do a beginner fitness routine?
No, fuck that.
In a lot of beginner routines you'll see the same sort of structure. You'll see a certain amount of exercises and it will be 10 reps and 3 sets. There'll be basic amount of weight that someone "should be able to lift" based on age and gender. If these routines are something achievable by you, amazing. Do them and enjoy them. If they are not, throw it the fuck out. Get rid of this idea that based by age and gender you should be able to lift a certain amount of weight. Garbage.
The same is true for cardio. Generally speaking, a lot of the time there's this assumed level of fitness even in beginners. On youtube, most beginner routines are about 30 minutes. Mine are, too (although the full runtime is an hour due to talking and coaching). Not everyone can do all 30 minutes. When I started, I started at 5. Then 10. So on and so forth. Get rid of this idea that you SHOULD be able to do ANYTHING, and focus on what you CAN. Accept that it is good enough and that it will and you will get better. Moreso, accept that its fucking awesome that you're doing anything at all.
It is so important for me to emphasize the fact that if you cannot do a beginner routine there is nothing wrong with you. It is really important for me to emphasize that if you come to one of my classes and you cannot do the whole class that there is nothing wrong with you. It does not mean that you're always going to be in this place, and it does not mean that you're not a good enough human or you're just so unhealthy there's no point in trying. It doesn't mean that you're not man enough if you can't lift heavy shit yet, and it doesn't mean that you're not woman enough if you lack coordination, it doesn't mean you're getting too old if you can't run for a long time. Take those thoughts and throw them out. They're garbage.
If you're someone who's decided that they want to introduce movement into their life, I encourage you to start building a habit through small steps. When you're building this habit, don't think about the "end product" at first. I actually encourage you to not even think about "goals" in the beginning. When you're building the habit, you don't need to "feel the burn" or be exhausted. A lot of people aren't there yet, and that's okay. Change the narrative of "needing to achieve something" and think about it as introducing something that's good for you, and that you want to be in your life. That's it. Frankly, introducing something like this IS an achievement. Even if you don't feel it at first.
What I would like to encourage people to do if they are starting this journey from a place where beginner routines and even possibly my routines are just too much for them, is to consider starting small. Every day, at some point during the day, you get up and move for one minute let's say. That's it, and then you go do whatever it is you're going to do with your day.
The next day you do the same thing, and the next day you do the same thing, and then maybe the next day you add another minute or you do something different like perhaps you want to do some crunches do you do two crunches. Then you keep doing this for a couple weeks and think "maybe I'll do 5 crunches and 2 minutes of walking". Then a month goes by and maybe you add in some bicep curls. All of a sudden, you're starting to curate a fitness routine that works for you.
I can promise you all that when I started getting back into fitness I was not able to do half an hour of aerobics and body weight toning while also instructing other people. When I first started getting back into fitness I had to bus from my place to the gym that I was with at the time. It was literally only a ten-minute walk, but I knew that if I did not bus my way there I would not walk there and therefore I would not work out. So I bussed.
What it's really about is finding the method that work for you to get you to that "beginner" baseline. There's an extreme focus on Aesthetics in the health and fitness community which is totally ridiculous. I said it before and I'll say it right now again to close out this post: the way that you look does not determine how healthy you are.
Start small. Like, minuscule if you have to. Have fun. .