April 13, 2023

Creating a Workout Routine


Creating a Workout Routine- Tracy Benjamin from Shutterbean shares how she created a workout routine!

Creating a Workout Routine

There are a few things that have helped me lose 50 lbs (!!!!!!!)  in the past year and I plan on getting to all of them in due time. It involved a lot of hard work, practice, and a deep dive into my relationship with food.   The first/most important step in my health journey was FINALLY creating a workout routine. I’ve been asked a lot about it and here it goes! 

For years I have had “create a workout routine” on my intentions for the year list. Every time I tried to create this habit,  I would get a few weeks in and lose steam. The collapse usually had to do with getting off track with eating and letting life/stress get in the way of my health. 


The three main things that helped me create a workout habit: 

  1. Starting off slow to build a routine 
  2. Checking in with others
  3. Tracking progress

My Everyday Life Week 38 - Shutterbean

1. Building the routine:

It took me far too long to realize that getting in the requisite 30 mins x 3 a week was unrealistic for me. I would make excuses throughout the week (too tired/didn’t have the time/missed the opportunity to, etc!)  and by the time Friday rolled around, I would have only one workout under my belt and WHO WANTS TO WORK OUT EVERY DAY DURING A WEEKEND? Definitely not me. 

Instead of giving myself the goal of 30 x 3 times a week, for the first month of my plan, I decided to try to work out on my elliptical machine for 15 minutes a day, every day. If I wasn’t in the mood to do elliptical, I did one of my favorite workout videos and danced! What I know about myself is that it takes me about 15 minutes of doing something to get into a good rhythm/hyperfocus state.

Favorite Productivity Tools - Shutterbean

If I went past 15 minutes, GREAT! If I didn’t, that was fine too. The point was showing up and making the effort.  After the first month, I increased my workouts to 22 minutes which sometimes turned into magical numbers like:





(I’m motivated by angel numbers)

It took me a little over 2 months to make the routine stick. After month two, I got to the point I actually CRAVED working out and could see a big difference in my energy level and how my body felt when I didn’t work out. 

Discipline is Self Care -- I love lists Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com 

2. The Power of Accountability:

Checking in with others who share the same goals has also been key to my success. I’ve been involved in my friend Sam’s book club for over a year now and what I learned in showing up and doing the work is that there is power in community and accountability.  One of the books we read was A Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck what he said about discipline really made me think-

“Self-discipline is self-caring.”


I had expressed interest in creating an exercise routine at the group level because I got tired of doing things on my own and failing.

Sam became my accountability buddy because he also wanted to create an exercise routine.

We agreed to the 15 min plan.

My Everyday Life Week 31 of 2022- a photography series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com

(here’s my Fitbit Versa that I use to track my workouts!)

We started sharing our progress via texts to encourage each other to stay on track.  He worked out in the mornings while I worked out in the afternoons/late evenings. Getting a snippet of his progress at the beginning of the day was the push I needed to complete my workout for the day. We both shared our efforts at group level and it encouraged a few of our friends in the book club to move their bodies too.  I also check in with my friend MC who loves to dance too!


My Everyday Life Week 22 of 2022- a photography series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com

3. Tracking Progress:

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I like to see the results of my hard work. My initial goal wasn’t to lose weight- it was to find the discipline to make exercise a regular part of my life.  It was also to use the elliptical machine that collected dust over the pandemic! 

I hung up my monthly printable calendar on the wall I face while I worked out and filled in each day I completed a workout with a colored pen. Every month had a different color. I used whatever pen was nearby so the different shades have no significance.  I didn’t write down the length of time- just that I did it. I wanted to see how many days in a row I could accomplish my goal of at least 15 minutes.

As you can see, I started this practice in June of 2022. 

My Everyday Life Week 1 of 2023- a photography series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com

After the first month, I gave myself a rule that would keep me on task.

I would try not to go more than two days without exercise if I could help it. 

There was a week in December when I went three days without moving and I felt like SHIT so I would say my rule works! 

Currently March 2023- -Currently Workbook by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com

I’ve been keeping up the practice! 

Favorite Workout Videos by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com

The thing I like about doing  Workout Videos on youtube is that they’re FUN and quick. It’s amazing how fast 30 minutes of dance routines can go. I also overdid the elliptical in the first few months and tweaked my ankle so they were a nice reprieve while my body healed.

My Everyday Life Week 45 of 2022- a photography series by Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean.com

A month after I started my workout routine, I recorded a podcast about Binge Eating with my friend Benjamin that began my journey of unpacking my relationship with food. There’s so much to tell you about that and I’ll be writing about that soon!

If you’re looking to create a workout routine, my advice is to start slow, build some accountability into your practice, and track your progress so you can see your hard work pay off! 

Move through the Discomfort- i love lists - shutterbean

I hope this inspires you to take good care of yourself and move through the discomfort! 


  • Christine

    Thanks for sharing this. I feel inspired. I feel happy for you. Congratulations on sticking to your goals.

  • Diane

    Thanks for sharing this! I’ve been going for walks every day this week trying to get back into the habit of moving. I love the workout videos that you shared. The 5 minute arm video was perfect post-walk. Can’t wait to try the others.

  • Jenny

    So inspiring, Tracy!! Very proud of you for being open about your routine/roadblocks. xx

  • Marla

    Thank you! I can’t wait to hear more about your journey. You inspire!

    oh – and total side note, I love that Sol Chicken! Delicious.

    🙂 you are such an awesome person, I have learned so many things from you over the years

    • Tracy

      Your note made me smile big! I’m so happy you love that chicken too! 🙂

  • Meredith

    Way to go Tracy!!! I worked out yesterday for the first time in months and I’m determined to get back into a routine. I’m inspired by the minimum 15 minutes every day and think this post is the sign I needed to refocus my efforts. Thank you for being open, honest, and inspiring.

  • Carlise

    Thanks, Tracy! I NEEDED this post!! I can’t get my act together, regarding my workout and weight loss goals! I MUST get started. Appreciate these practical tips!!! Congrats on your excellent work and new habits!!

  • Annie

    Awesome Tracy!! You’re inspiring me – it’s a year of big changes and the perfect opportunity to incorporate regular movement into my routine. Love this, high five mama! ❤️

  • Joaby

    Way to go Tracy! I’m super inspired by you. I’m putting the no more than one day without a workout rule into effect right away. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  • Another Tracy

    Thank you for this. I needed this!

  • nicky

    Your kind words & your approach are just the motivation that inspires me.

  • Jamie

    This post is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you and good luck to you and everyone who is on board!

  • Tami Hackbarth

    Thank you for sharing your process. Moving most days helps so much with everything for me especially as I get older.

    I started reading A Road Less Traveled because of that quote you shared. WHOA – I am loving it so far. I can’t wait to share with my people!

  • Becky

    Amazing! Congratulations! You inspire so much through your images and words, thank you ❤️❤️❤️

  • Pixierita

    Thank you SO much for this lifeline! The path I have been on is in some ways the opposite of your path. I was exercising regularly and then I became the full time caretaker of my mom who has Alzheimer’s. I gained 25 pounds and have zero me time. I, too was thinking I needed 1/2 an hour to get in a workout. You have given me such a gift by opening my thought process to 15 minutes! I am actually crying right now. Thank you so much. It seems so easy a thought, but when you’re in the muck, you can’t always see for yourself. Thank you.

    • Tracy

      Taking care of others can take the life out of you! Sending you love and strength! You’re worth the effort 🙂

      • pixierita

        Thank you so much, you are so sweet! I think I’ve commented before, but just in case I haven’t: I love your site, and find you SO inspirational. Thank you for being you! You are appreciated!

  • Laura

    Congratulations on your amazing accomplishments!

  • Amy

    This was the most helpful, most encouraging post I’ve read and just what I needed to get myself to move more. I am so bad about sticking to a routine, but this really clicked with me and when I tell you I ran to get the monthly printable so I could do something similar….thank you so much for sharing!

    • Tracy

      Yay Amy! I am so glad to hear you’re going to practice taking good care of yourself! Keep up the good work 🙂

  • Sherri

    You are the person that I am to others but not to myself. I am loved and supported by my friends, family, and coworkers but no one gives me this. I am going to lean on you for a minute until I learn to take care of me. Hope you don’t mind. No effort on your part. Just keep being the amazing woman you are! ❤️

  • Pill Doctor

    Creating a workout routine is essential for maintaining physical health and overall well-being. As an intermediary Online Portal committed to patient safety, Pill Doctor emphasizes the importance of incorporating exercise into daily life under professional guidance. Whether it’s consulting with qualified prescribers for personalized fitness advice or accessing reputable resources online, Pill Doctor facilitates connections to support individuals in crafting effective workout routines. Prioritizing safety and informed decision-making, Pill Doctor ensures that patients receive the right guidance and support to achieve their fitness goals safely and effectively.

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