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Sustainable Fitness: 5 Ways to Begin an Exercise Routine That Lasts a Lifetime

Updated: Jan 29

Relax and cool down after you finish your workout

“Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” - Simon Sinek

Why do YOU want to exercise? Is it …

… to be able to join challenging physical activities with your kids? Beat your teenager at ping pong? Run a marathon, bike a Century, or prevent health problems our parents faced as they aged [1]?

We all know we should have regular movement and exercise. So, how do we make it a priority?

Starting movement and exercise is easy. Being consistent long-term is harder.

Our goal with this blog is to give you some tools you need to overcome the difficult parts - obstacles that block your road toward consistency over the long haul.

To do that, we have compiled five of our most important tips to help you overcome the main obstacles that derail your good intentions - to make exercise an essential part of your day-to-day life.

These are the exact same tips and methods world champion track cyclist Kirk Whiteman and advanced Pilates expert Jenny Whiteman have used for years. Proven ways to help their coaching and Pilates clients do exactly what YOU want to do - start a sustainable training routine in the correct way, a way that can help you to realistically continue the rest of your life!

TIP # 1. Know YOUR WHY! What motivates you?

This is the first tip because it’s the big one and the main reason people drop out of their exercise program - they lack the passion and motivation.

So, what is the thing that will keep you continuously motivated? It has to have deep meaning to YOU. Something that you can use to kick your own butt when your lazy mind over-rules your active mind, and you end up on the couch with another cup of coffee.

Your why is super important because you will lean on it often. Some of us almost never feel like exercising, but we do it because we really want the results, we want to enjoy the long list of benefits.

Here are some ideas/goals to help develop your WHY and MOTIVATION:

  • Feel alive - strong, enthusiastic, and confident!

  • Health - lose weight, lower blood pressure, prevent illness

  • Get back in the game - be active with friends and kids: shoot hoops, touch football, hike, cycle, dance

  • Strong enough to travel, walk miles, climb ALL the stairs, & lift my bags easily

  • Lofty goals: run a marathon, bike a Century, climb Mt. Everest

TIP # 2. It’s critical to start SLOW and build a good foundation first

Starting slow helps avoid the stumbling blocks of excessive soreness, cramping, or mild strains and injuries, which usually result in setbacks.

Some people get excited and want to make up for lost time. They start their exercise routine from zero and train too fast for a marathon or lift weights that are too heavy. Then, boom! They’re hurt. They stop and never restart.

Remember, this is a Long Game, a lifetime commitment to …

… feeling good, being out of pain, and enjoying the activities you love - deep into your long, healthy lifespan.

Your schedule might be overcrowded, or you may be just starting out and not physically able to do all the great things you want to do yet. So start slowly and build up slowly. That way, you stay in the game and eventually achieve your goals.

Here are some ideas on how to build your foundation:

  • Get enough good sleep and take regular rest days.

  • Use DIALED [IN] muscle cream before and after workouts to prevent muscle soreness and cramping.

  • Aim for regular, consistent movement like walking, 20-30 minutes, 3-5 days a week if you’re a beginner.

  • Add whole-body movements that don’t overload the joints - Pilates, yoga, and mobility movements.

  • Don’t jump into weightlifting right away! Once you feel confident and ready, add strength-building exercises focused on proper form to avoid injury. Start slow with lighter weights!

Never too late to start working out!

TIP # 3. Set measurable, realistic goals.

Yes, you’re excited! You are doing this!

You tackle a run you’ve fantasized about for the last three years. It is way out of your league. After about 20 minutes, you feel like you’re dying. You can barely catch your breath. You head home, defeated.

Let’s begin with measurable goals you can realistically achieve and slowly build from:

  • Walking 20-30 minutes, 4 days a week.

  • Add running slowly - alternate one block of running with one block of walking.

  • Set a realistic goal of cycling, swimming, or aerobic dancing in the same slow, progressive way.

  • For strength training, start with less weight and reps than you think to keep it realistic! After you feel stronger, add more reps and weight, a bit at a time.

Keep your training within the bounds of what’s realistic for you so you avoid the heartbreak of an injury or strain that derails you from your program. This way, you will eventually get to where you want to be.


Your workouts are about building a stronger, healthier, happier YOU. Resist the temptation to compare your workout to anyone else’s; we’re all starting from different baselines. As coach Whiteman always says, “What’s work for you, is work for you!”

TIP # 4. Track your progress to boost your long-term motivation.

Thanks to setting realistic goals, you avoided strains and injuries. Tracking the measurable activities you have done gives you a record you can look back on and feel proud of. This alone is great motivation to keep going!

You can see from your progress that so far, your program is paying off! Anything we can do to increase and fortify our motivation pays compounded dividends later by keeping us on track for our goals.

Track your progress in a style that works for you. If you love numbers, then Geek Out! If not, keep some kind of daily or even weekly numbers to remind you later of where you were and how far you’ve come! You may be surprised at how much you’ve improved.

You can track all your training in one way or another:

  • Walking - track aerobic level and distance or time

  • Weights - number of training days, areas worked, sets, reps, & weight amount

  • Bicycle - watts produced, distances, time spent training, etc.

  • Running - number of days per week and distances

  • Body weight and measurements - be brave, use the scale & tape measure!

TIP # 5. Let’s mix it up! Have some fun while getting in better shape!

Boredom from repeating an activity we are not fond of has ended many well-intentioned training plans.

Here are some ways to block monotony from sabotaging our road to fitness.

Include activities in your exercises that you enjoy:

  • Don’t run every day if you don’t like it - try an aerobic dance class.

  • Get a bike and head out on a bike path.

  • For cardio, try things like African Dance, Pilates, a HIIT class, swimming, or pickleball.

  • What about rucking? (carrying a weighted backpack), a rock-climbing gym, or rollerblading?

  • Ice skating, hockey, or cross-country skiing are great options during winter

When we say mix it up, we mean that you will still need to do some things that are not as much fun as others.

According to the CDC, adults need to build muscle with weight training twice a week. And it’s paramount to get your heart pumping in a few weekly cardio sessions. [2] Building muscle builds bone at the same time!

Be creative so you’re doing things you like sometimes. We want to encourage you to have more stamina, strength, and agility. This means that sometimes, exercising needs to be fun!

Also, take full advantage of the magic of DIALED [IN] muscle cream we have developed just for you, with the express purpose of helping beginners, returning, or elite athletes keep going past their soreness and cramping.

We found over the years that our coaching and Pilates clients who rubbed the cream on before and after exercising were more likely to keep training.

When all else fails, and you’re thinking of staying in bed, it’s time to bring out the fitness trainer’s first law:

Exercise is not optional, it’s a NECESSITY - like eating, sleeping, and brushing your teeth.

Please take our ideas here and adapt them to your own situation and needs. There is nothing that will build your confidence and self-esteem better than the way you feel after regular, consistent exercise!

PS: If you want to receive Kirk and Jenny's free coaching/exercise tips, plus find out about special offers, sign up for the DIALED [IN] monthly newsletter:


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