How to Create Fitness Habits That Will Last, According to Katie Austin

With the SI Swimsuit model’s help, make this the year that you stick with your routine for the long haul.
Katie Austin

Katie Austin.

Kickstart your New Year with SI Swimsuit’s 31 Days of Wellness! This January, SI Swimsuit will unlock exclusive offerings with brand models, wellness experts, fitness gurus and more, who will guide you through 31 days of rejuvenating workouts, recipes and self-care rituals.

As a fitness instructor—and the daughter of a fitness icon—SI Swimsuit model Katie Austin knows the industry well. Which is why, when cultivating our 31 Days of Wellness lineup, we knew she would be the perfect person to talk to about fitness in the month of January—and throughout the rest of the year, too. 

Her background in college athletics and her current career as the founder of the Katie Austin App makes her a trusted source in the fitness realm. Recognizing just how difficult it can be to get into movement for the first time, Austin has a multitude of tips—and over a hundred pre-recorded workouts on her app—specifically geared toward beginning a workout routine and forming healthy habits.

In January, there is a major uptick in the dialogue around fitness as people make goals and resolutions to move more throughout the year. Austin wants you to be aware (and wary) of that. “A lot of these trends and what people are feeding you” are part of “a very targeted time for monetary growth for the fitness industry,” she explains.

Rather than falling for the traps the industry has set out, it’s important to “[make] sure what you do for you is best.” That’s often easier said than done, but, thankfully, with Austin’s guidance, we have some practical pieces of advice that might help you to prioritize your own well-being.

Forget huge goals, aim for habits

Goals aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but they can be when they become too overwhelming or impractical. Austin believes that many people tend to create goals that are simply too lofty at this time of year. “A lot of times, people get stressed out about huge new goals that are not realistic for your daily lifestyle,” she says of New Year’s resolutions.

It’s worth realizing, she notes, that “you could do anything for 21 days, for three weeks, for a month.” In other words, keeping to New Year’s resolutions in the short-run isn’t the challenge. The question you have to ask yourself, according to Austin, is: “Can it last throughout the entire year and last a lifetime?”

What’s more important than making lofty goals is laying the foundation that will make way for habits that stick. If you start with the foundational aspects of movement, when your schedule becomes busier and you fall out of routine, you’ll still have something to fall back on and you won’t let go of those practices entirely. Even if “you don’t work out for a week, it’s easy to get back on the wagon” when you have a solid foundation, Austin says. “That’s most important: finding that habit, so it’s a part of your daily lifestyle, and you’re not trying to motivate yourself every single day.”

Her go-to beginner practices

Austin’s current program lies in the foundations of movement. Aptly titled “Building the Fitness Foundation,” it offers a jumping-off point for those looking to embark on a fitness journey for the first time and those who are looking to get back into it after a lull.

Whether “you’re in a rut and you haven’t worked out in a while, or you’re a pure beginner and you don’t know where to start,” the program, which can be found on her fitness app for just $9.99 per month, is “the perfect way to start” the journey.

Beyond that, Austin is a big proponent of walking. Whether on a treadmill, walking pad or outdoors, “walking is great for any fitness level,” she remarks. She guarantees that incorporating more walking into your routine will “boost your immune system, boost your mood, [and boost your] productivity.”

The biggest tip that she can give, though, is to start small. Don’t begin with a 45-minute workout on your first day. Start with five or 10 minutes, after which “you’re going to realize how much better you feel, and you’re going to want to keep going,” she says.

Here is where she reminds us all that it’s about habits, not oversized goals. Starting small will ensure that you form foundations that last. Remember, she says, “there's always time to progress.” Your goal in the new year should simply be to “get better.”

“You don't have to accomplish everything in January. You can better yourself in January so then it can just progress throughout the entire year,” the 30-year-old emphasizes. “You have 52 weeks, right? You have 365 days. This is the first four weeks of the year. There’s so much more time. We want to make sure we’re leaving lasting impressions” and creating routines that “have longevity.”

Be sure to check out Austin’s fitness platform, which offers hundreds of on-demand workouts as well as healthy, practical recipes. Check back next week for the next installment of her January movement series.

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Martha Zaytoun


Martha Zaytoun is a Lifestyle & Trending News writer for SI Swimsuit. Before joining the team, Martha worked on the editorial board of the University of Notre Dame’s student magazine and on the editorial team at Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham Magazines in North Carolina. When not working, Martha loves to watercolor and oil paint, run or water ski. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a huge Fighting Irish fan.