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You were doing so great with your gym routine (hey, four times in two weeks is a routine)…and then life got in the way. We get it. But now, you’re determined to start—and stick with—a fitness plan. We’re here to help, with six tips for getting back into your workout groove if you haven’t seen the inside of a gym in many moons.

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Start Small

When you’re just getting started on a fitness kick, manage your expectations. Instead of going from couch potato to gym rat, ease yourself into a routine by exercising, say, one or two days a week. As you build up strength and stamina, amp up your workouts. Maybe—just maybe—you’ll become one of those women who works out every single day.

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Enlist a Friend

You know the saying “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”? Yeah, this totally applies to working out. Going to the gym for the first time in a while can be intimidating when you’re by yourself. With a pal, though, it’s way more relaxed and comfortable. Plus, embarking on a lifestyle change with a friend is a great way to hold yourself accountable and make sure you keep showing up.

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Set a Specific Goal

Do you want to run a half marathon (or even a 5K)? How about completing 30 push-ups without stopping? Setting a tangible goal is a great way to start working out. Going in with the general aim of “getting fitter” makes it a lot easier to go easy on yourself, but having something to shoot for will make you be even more dedicated.

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Buy a New Outfit

Will a new pair of leggings or fresh sneakers make you run faster (or be any less sore the day after your first workout back)? Probably not, but they will make you feel better, and that counts for a lot in our book. Psych yourself up for your new foray into fitness with some fresh gear and we’re willing to bet you’ll be a lot happier sweating it out than you would’ve been in your stretched-out pants and ratty T-shirt.

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Think Outside the Box

Is your idea of hell spending an hour in a testosterone-packed gym? Luckily, there are tons of other options when it comes to working out. Whether that means working out at home, taking a dance class or swimming for cardio, don’t limit yourself to the traditional types of exercise. (Psst: Here’s a list of the best workouts for people who hate working out.)

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Be Nice to Yourself

In the same vein of taking it slow, don’t be too hard on yourself. You haven’t worked out in a while, and that’s OK. It’s awesome that you’re getting back on the bandwagon, and you should recognize that (and be proud of it). Cut yourself some slack and keep it up, champ.

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