If you’re new to the idea of fitness, it can be extremely overwhelming. With all of the recommendations about what to do (and not do), it may leave you wondering which ones are important to the process and which ones are merely optional. To help clear up some of the confusion, here are three things essential for every fitness beginner:

#1: A Competitive Spirit

Although you’re not necessarily competing against others unless you engage in activities such as sports or other competitions, you should always compete against yourself. Set goals and strive to reach them. Challenge yourself to be better, stronger, and more fit than you’ve ever been in your life. Give yourself something to work towards so you constantly progress forward.

#2: A Consistent Supply of Motivation

While it is easy to be motivated at the beginning of your fitness pursuit, all too often, your drive dwindles not far into the program, making it extremely easy to return to the couch instead of keeping up the process. One way to combat this effect is to involve yourself in group fitness training. Use other people’s zest and excitement to keep you going. Let their passion rub off on you, compelling you to want to continue your fitness journey even more.

#3: The Realization That Slower is Better

Most people jump into a fitness program so fast that they overwhelm their body and mind—neither of which is good. Instead, aim to go step by step, slowing making changes so they are more likely to stick. You didn’t become unfit overnight, so you don’t have to make yourself fit in that same short period of time either.

If you have these three things, then you have everything you need to make the most of your new fitness lifestyle. Good luck on your journey! I’m with you every step of the way!