Revitalise Your Fitness Journey: 5 Tips for a Fresh Start in the New Year by Fitness Expert 

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As the new year unfolds, contemplating resolutions to rejuvenate our health becomes a common endeavour. Whether recovering from health issues or returning to regular exercise after an extended break, rekindling fitness goals holds commendable benefits for both body and mind.

In this exclusive interview, Petrina Barber, a fitness advocate, campaigner, and Founder of Beyond The Stoma, known as shares her top five effective tips to guide you towards a healthier, more active lifestyle in 2024 – even if you are facing health challenges. 

Start Slow and Listen to Your Body:

Embarking on a fitness journey after a hiatus requires a gentle approach. Instead of diving headfirst into intense workouts, begin with low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling. Pay close attention to how your body responds and adjust your routine accordingly. If you encounter any discomfort or pain, don’t ignore it. Take it as a sign to slow down and modify your exercises. Gradually increasing the intensity allows your body to adapt and reduces the risk of injury, ensuring a sustainable and enjoyable fitness experience. 

During this phase, it is a good idea to talk to a personal trainer and even seek out specialist advice if you have any particular areas of concern, such as if you have diastasis recti (abdominal separation) or if you have had any kind of abdominal surgery such as stoma surgery which all have their own specific exercises. Remember everyone is unique!

Building your Strength:

Strength training is foundational for many and has been pivotal in helping me bounce back from health setbacks and surgery. It is undeniable that having a strong body and good muscle mass supports overall health and well-being. While cardio is essential for heart health, incorporating strength training into your workout can provide numerous benefits, especially if you’ve been away from exercise due to health issues. Importantly, strength training helps build lean muscle mass, increases metabolism, and also enhances joint stability. 

“An excellent way to begin building your strength is by utilising your own body weight as a primary tool”

Bodyweight exercises leverage the resistance provided by your own weight, offering a unique strength-training approach. In contrast to conventional fitness equipment designed for strength training, these exercises enable you to engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, enhancing the efficiency of your workout.

Then you can focus on compound movements such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts to target multiple muscle groups simultaneously when you are ready. 

As a rule, a balanced approach that combines cardiovascular exercise with strength training creates a well-rounded fitness routine, promoting both endurance and resilience. Remember to start small and build yourself up. 

Set Realistic Goals:

Setting achievable goals is crucial when reintroducing exercise into your life. Understand your current fitness level and establish realistic milestones that align with your capabilities. Whether it’s completing a 30-minute walk, lifting a certain weight, or consistently exercising three times a week, setting attainable goals will keep you motivated and prevent you from throwing in the towel. As you gain confidence and stamina, gradually increase the difficulty of your workouts. A step-by-step approach ensures sustainable progress and helps you stay committed to your fitness journey. Don’t forget this isn’t a quick fix or a fad diet; health and well-being is a lifestyle change. It is also worth remembering that you don’t need to “live in the gym”. Don’t think “this is now my life and all I do with my spare time”; not at all. I go to the gym three times a week for one hour at a time.

Embrace Variety and Enjoy the Journey:

To maintain long-term engagement with exercise, it’s essential to incorporate variety and enjoyment into your workout – have fun along the way. Experiment with different activities to discover what you love, whether it’s dancing, yoga, or participating in group fitness classes. Variety not only keeps things interesting but also targets different muscle groups, preventing monotony and potential burnout. Find joy in the process, and remember that exercise is not only about physical health but also a way to boost your mood and reduce all important stress and anxiety. 

Chart Your Success and Celebrate the Wins:

Charting your fitness journey is not just about tracking your workouts and nutrition; it’s also a powerful tool for celebrating your wins, no matter how small. Create a visual representation of your progress, whether it’s a graph of weight loss, a log of personal records, or a calendar of consistent workout days. Do you know what I do? I love to do a photoshoot to show myself how far I’ve come. 

These suggestions really help show your progress and keep you building up your goals. Take time to celebrate each milestone, whether it’s reaching a weight-loss goal, lifting a heavier weight, or completing a challenging workout. These celebrations, even the seemingly minor ones, play a crucial role in reinforcing positive habits and boosting your confidence. By acknowledging and enjoying in your successes, you’ll build a strong foundation for continued motivation and commitment to your fitness journey. Remember, every step forward is a reason to celebrate and be proud of the progress you’re making.


As you embark on your fitness journey this year, recognise that rebuilding yourself is a gradual process requiring patience and self-awareness. By incorporating these five steps, you can create a sustainable and enjoyable exercise routine. Listen to your body, celebrate your achievements, and relish the positive changes that regular physical activity brings to your life. Here’s to a healthier and more active new year!

Disclaimer: Any new or change/drastic exercise plan should be discussed / advised by a trained expert.

Follow and petrinabarberstoma on Instagram 

The post Revitalise Your Fitness Journey: 5 Tips for a Fresh Start in the New Year by Fitness Expert  appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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