This guide is designed to help you to get back to an active lifestyle.
Whether it's outdoor sports, walking, the gym, signing back up with a personal trainer, or you want to eventually be the next ninja warrior - you're in the right place to get the ball rolling again.
You're not alone. In fact, currently in just the United States, you have over 250 million friends who are in the same boat. You carry a level of stress because you know you should be exercising more but just can't seem to make it happen consistently. You know you can do better and you need to make a breakthrough.
You are here because you have not given up. You want to puzzle this out and create your own active life that fulfills you.
You simply want to feel better - to smile more.
Your life is unique, and you need to discover a solution that works with the REALITY of YOUR LIFE. You want to be left feeling truly empowered and able to make changes in your life - that will last.
This program is designed for us who are serious about making this shift. It is a full month process. Get ready to dig deep, see your life in a new light, and of course - move more.
I believe that the message of helping others find an active lifestyle is so important that I'm making this version of my program available to the public on this page, right now. I've already received requests to have a printed version. It's not available yet, but I'm working on it!
Bookmark this page, you'll need to revisit it many times over the month.
Stick with me - YOU WILL find your ACTIVE LIFE again!
Here we go!
Founder and Author
COUCH to ACTIVE
What to expect
This getting started program is divided into several steps. I recommend doing a quick read of this entire page before starting the program.
The time needed to complete each step ranges from quick reminders taking 10 minutes, to full month-long practices. It's meant to be completed all at once over a month. However, life isn't perfect, so I also designed the program so you can complete it one step at a time or in random order.
The work of creating
your active lifestyle
is about to begin!
Tip: Bookmark this page. You will need to revisit this many times over the coming month.
10 minutes now
my body needs exercise
Think about this: staying active is pretty much the only thing that all scientists agree on. Regardless of age, race, religion, or political views, all science agrees that staying active is important for your health.
Yet, the majority of us struggle to even come close to attaining a baseline of activity to help prevent disease.
Take a moment to remind yourself right now that adding exercise back into your life is an absolute non-negotiable.
Memorize this so that you can quote it to others:
My body needs exercise.
My body will always need exercise.
THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE.
It's not negotiable - it's science.
Memorize the quote above.
That's it, you are done with Step 1.
15 minutes now
i'm HEALING myself
- NOT HURTING myself
When it's within your control, injury-free must be your decision 100% of the time.
Right now - make this commitment to yourself:
I am healing myself.
I will not injure myself from over doing it.
I made this commitment to myself several years ago and this commitment, along with having compassion for my personal and physical challenges, has helped me stay strong.
The link below takes you to a blog about how this recently played out in my life.
What can you do to show compassion for yourself and stay injury free?
Memorize the quote in blue text above.
10 minutes now
your activity recommendations
This is the Center for Disease Control's recommendations for the activity YOU NEED to help reduce overall health risks.
You already know this - you don't need to be told to do more exercise. You've already spent plenty of time feeling frustrated over how impossible fitting in the exercise is. So take a moment to look at the guidelines and take note of what thoughts and feelings you have around it.
As you look at this please be kind to yourself and try not to make any harsh judgements of your current life.
YOUR WEEKLY GOAL
150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise
2 days of muscle strengthening
There are of course many ways to approach how YOU accomplish this. The CDC provides an easy at-a-glance view of additional options that can help in brainstorming what this could look like in your life.
I know, you already have lots of ideas of the exercises you could be doing. In fact, you might even have programs you have paid for that have gone unused. The issue isn't so much WHAT to do, but rather creating a life where exercise is a normal part of it.
Let's not dwell on this - let's move on and start working through your next steps below.
This step is informational only.
If you've carefully read this step 3, then you are ready to move on to step 4.
1 - 4 weeks
call your doctor
You body is yours alone and you have your own complex set of physical and environmental factors. There is no one size fits all, and that includes exercise and health needs.
I spent years frustrated with my lack of fitness results. I trained by the book, yet I always finished in the back of the pack. I completed 10 triathlons, multiple bike rides of 200 miles or more, and over 6 half marathons. This was incredibly frustrating.
My frustration flipped on it's head when I got myself into my doctor and got seriously in tune with what was going on with my body. After a year of working through multiple appointments and seeing specialists I discovered that I was functioning with only 65% of my lungs. Asthma had me more compromised than I realized.
I would not have learned this if I didn't make myself dig in
and become my own scientist.
This discovery helped me become more compassionate towards myself. It's no secret that we all need to work with our REALITY, but it can be almost impossible if there is an undiscovered health issue holding us back. Seeking sound medical advice is not a weakness, it's an information gathering mission. With more information about your health, you will be more empowered.
What questions do you have about your health?
What doctor appointments do you need to schedule?
Schedule the doctor appointments you know you need.
1 minute every day for 1 month
Here's how the PICK-1-CHALLENGE works:
Pick 1 exercise.
Do this exercise 1 minute every day for a month.
It's that simple.
If you already have another exercise program or plan, go for it. But for this month add the PICK-1-CHALLENGE and make it a priority every single day.
With this challenge you will see improvement in the area you select. This will be an exciting boost you need. Also, you'll use the Pick-1-Challenge in the next three steps of this program.
Work through the PICK-1-CHALLENGE by following the steps below.
1. Go to our PICK-1-CHALLENGE page and read about it.
2. Print your tracker and put it somewhere that you will see it every day.
3. Ask one person to remind you to do the challenge every day.
"I am going to ask my friend _______________
to help remind me to do this challenge every day."
As soon as you have your PICK-1-CHALLENGE started, continue to step 6.
15 minutes today
5 minutes a week for the rest of your life
IT'S TIME TO Get social
Going public with your goals is much deeper than making connections and finding accountability. It's the beginnings of shifting how you see yourself and how others see you with regards to being active. It's the first step of what eventually makes all of this stick.
Pick 3 ways you can start talking to others about your goal to be active. The first one is filled in for you because you already completed it in step 5 above. Next, commit to having these conversations during the month you complete your PICK-1-CHALLENGE.
Make each item something you are drawn to. Your gut will likely be spot-on in telling you what is best for you. Don't overthink it. Trust your immediate instincts on this one.
Additional ideas to consider.
In addition to having conversations with people you currently hang out with, imagine reaching out to an old friend or a new friend. Sometimes reaching out via email to a group of friends can actually be less intimidating. When interacting it's important to stay as positive as possible. Say something like this, "I am figuring out how be active again and I know that being open about it will help me stick with it."
Use social media such as Facebook.
Start sharing your story and journey.
Ask who else is working on this same topic.
Start liking, commenting, and cheering on friends who are also posting about staying active.
Wish others well. People admire and respect those who wish them well. Be that person.
Join COUCH to ACTIVE's private Facebook group. This group is at its infancy and I monitor the group. It is intended to be a safe place to post struggles, celebrate successes, and make connections. Everyone in this group has the common goal of staying active and supporting each other.
What if my support network feels weak?
Sometimes the people closest to us aren't ready to support our goal, and sometimes they flat-out make it incredibly difficult. Other times, we just feel alone. If you are currently faced with this, then this step will be difficult. It will also be a very important step for you. We will look more closely at how to manage this challenge in future steps.
In the meantime, be sure to join COUCH to ACTIVE's private Facebook group. I'm there for you.
5 minutes every day for 1 month
PICK-1-BARRIER - AND BREAK IT!
It's normal to get overwhelmed by how crazy busy our lives are. It's even easier to feel stuck. But how many of us actually take the time to analyze it all? I mean really analyze what's getting in the way of exercise?
In this step we list all of our barriers to being active. By looking at each barrier one at a time we can become more grounded in the REALITY of our UNIQUE lives.
By breaking only 1 or 2 barriers
you will be well on your way
to making a
The empowering piece of this exercise is when we recognize that we don't have to break through all of our barriers at all. In fact, most of our barriers can stay right where they are - barriers. Everyone has barriers. I have barriers and always will. You also have barriers to being active and always will.
Get a notepad and make a chart with these two columns.
Column 1: What got in my way of being active TODAY?
Column 2: What are possible solutions for this issue?
As you go through your days, pay close attention to everything and notice how it either supports or distracts from your goal. For the entire month that you doing your PICK-1-CHALLENGE, keep adding to your list. Treat each item as just a data point to find interesting.
Then, as you brainstorm solutions, assume every single item is solvable. If you get stuck on a solution, leave it blank. Your mind will continue to process this without you even knowing it. What's important is that you work through this list every single day along with your PICK-1-CHALLENGE.
By the time you've created your list, you have probably already started working to break some of these barriers. At this point, pick ONE item at a time. Challenge your limiting beliefs on what is possible. Try bold new solutions as experiments.
You are working to get out of feeling stuck, and into realizing solutions are right inside of you. Continue to take an even closer look at what is right in front of you.
Remember, many barriers will stay right where they started - as barriers. This is perfectly fine. We've never expected life to be perfect.
1 hour each week for 3 weeks
IT'S TIME TO DIG DEEP
The more clarity you have of your unique life, your goals, and how to get there, the better chance you will have of reaching those goals. This step requires the most sustained focus of all steps in this program. This is why I'm asking you to print these sheets and work though them away from the distractions of your phone or computer.
You are going to dig deep, challenge your assumptions, and see your life in a new light.
Download and print these 3 worksheets.
Spend about 30 minutes to 1 hour on each sheet.
30 minutes now
5 minutes each week for a year
You're not giving up
It will realistically take a full year before you begin to feel settled into your new active life. However, after a year, the magic finally happens. This is when your NEW NORMAL begins to take root. Your new-normal becomes your normal-normal.
To stay the course and not give up, you need to continually revisit these steps for about a year. Then at each major life change, you'll need to revisit them again.
Right now, set up monthly calendar reminders for the next 12 months. Have the reminders point you back to this webpage.
Copy this text into each calendar reminder:
Making my move to an active lifestyle.
I will never give up.
Work with a calendar you already use. Online or paper calendar, it doesn't matter.
are you stuck?
The struggle is real.
If you've worked through this entire program and still feel stuck, don't lose hope. You are facing challenges that are bigger than you realized and you might need to make some huge and difficult decisions to transform your life.
It could also mean that you are experiencing a unique season of your life and you need to give yourself extra compassion.
The good news is that when you feel completely stuck, it actually means you haven't given up on your dream to make a breakthrough.
It means there's still hope.
Your massive frustration is where radical transformations begin.
(June 2017) I am working on additional resources to help you identify if you are truly stuck. Stay tuned.
Let's Stay Connected
COMING SOON: I am working on creating a printed workbook for this program. Join my mailing list and you'll be the first to know when it's available
spread the word
As of June 2017, this website and program is authored and managed entirely my me. I need help spreading the word.
It would mean the world to me if you let others know about COUCH to ACTIVE and this program.
Please share the website.
I want to make this my life's work, and need everyone's help to make magic happen.