When we originally republished this blog, we were unaware that we attributed the work to the incorrect author. We thank Christopher Gonzalez for his understanding and allowing us to republish it with credit to his original hard work.
Sweating it out on the treadmill or lifting weights in a gym is fine for the first few days of an exercise programme, but after that who can stay motivated with the same old boring routine? Not to mention, on the days that it’s rainy and grey outdoors, or when you’re just knackered, your fitness routine is the first thing to get chucked off your ‘to do’ list. What’s the trick to staying keen on exercise?
Follow these simple steps for some fitness motivation and to keep you from getting off programme.
1. Start safely
Always take time to get proper instruction on different types of exercise and technique. Schedule an appointment with a personal trainer at your local gym, these guys are the ‘professionals’ of the exercise game so take advantage of one!
2. Choose a workout you enjoy
Thirty minutes on the treadmill is torture if you’d rather be strolling outdoors or taking a spinning class. ‘It’s crucial to make exercise something you like doing, otherwise you’ll dread making it a part of your life. If solo sport-orientated exercise like skiing or running is your game, go for that over class-based workouts.
3. Set realistic fitness goals
Having clear objectives and a challenging, yet achievable goal—such as losing 5kgs before holiday—will motivate you to get to the gym or take that afternoon walk on days when you just want to toss out your trainers. Whether it be for weight loss, muscle gain, or general health, one way to encourage yourself to keep a fitness commitment is to sign a contract with yourself stating your goals.
4. Reward yourself
There’s no better way to sustain your motivation to get fit than immediate gratification. So, when you reach the halfway point of your goal, treat yourself to something like a nice dinner out or that new handbag you’ve had your eye on. Share your accomplishment with family and friends, as others’ acknowledgement of success will inspire you to further press on towards your goal.
5. Be consistent about when you exercise
Choose to work out at the time of day when you tend to feel most energetic,’ suggests Luscombe. If you’re a ‘morning person’, exercise when you wake up. If you’re on a consistent workout schedule, your body’s hormones adjust so that you train most efficiently—and with the least fatigue—at that particular time of day. And stick to yoru training no matter what!
6. Fit in fitness whenever possible
Did you know that six 5-minute spurts of exercise can be just as beneficial as one 30-minute workout? That means it’s fine if you can’t do your workout all in one go—just break up exercise throughout the day. ‘Try getting off the bus one stop early, walk to the office or supermarket, take the stairs instead of the lift or stroll through the park at lunchtime.
7. Take it one day at a time
The more gradually you take on an exercise plan, the more likely you are to achieve your goals, Your body will adjust better if you start slowly, and you’ll get stronger without injuring yourself. Avoid making too many lifestyle changes at once. For instance, changing your diet, giving up smoking and rushing into a full-on fitness plan is too much all at once.
8. Find an exercise partner or a support group
Make two appointments per week to meet up with someone and exercise. If you have a friend relying on you to go to the gym or take a morning walk with her, you’ll be less likely to cancel. Write down any workout dates in your diary and commit to them as if they are business meetings.
9. Vary your fitness activity
Cross-training is the key to a balanced fit body, If you don’t change up your workouts, your body only trains one set of muscles and you stop seeing results. To prevent this fitness plateau, make sure you incorporate a variety of strength training, flexibility and cardiovascular exercise into your routine. One weekly fitness plan might include swimming, running or walking briskly one night, lifting weights the next, doing yoga, cycling, and weight training or Pilates on consecutive evenings.
10. Skip a day
Exercise obsession is as bad as none at all because it’s physically and mentally counterproductive. Allowing your muscles to rest and rejuvenate is a crucial part of being healthy and achieving maximum results. And giving yourself a mental break prevents burn-out and makes you more likely to stick to a long-term exercise plan. Listen to your body and if you’re having an off-day, take it easy and rest.