Are you a gym rat one week and a couch potato the next? If so you are not alone. A lot of people who are new to exercise start out strong in the beginning and eventually work out less and less as time goes on. This usually happens due to a number of reasons:
- Sore muscles and fatigue. When your body is not used to moving and pushing so hard it will feel sore and achy. Without proper rest, nutrition, and hydration eventually your body quits because it has been pushed to its limit and has had enough!
- Boredom. If you’re wondering what to make for dinner or what you’re going to do after work in the middle of your workout then it may be time to switch up your routine.
- Not seeing results. The expectation to see a significant change in body weight in 2 weeks time is not realistic. Pay more attention to the way you feel and if the result is positive (like feeling energized and strong) then use that as a reason to continue.
- Life. Sometimes as much as we try to put ourselves first, work, family, and friends can stand in our way. Are the people you associate with supporting you or draining you? It may be time to move yourself up on the priority list because your health and happiness is just as important as theirs!
I could go on and on about the barriers to exercise, but instead of giving you more reasons why its hard to stick to an exercise plan, I rather give you 8 reasons about how you can:
- Make a date. Schedule your exercise times like you schedule going to school, work, or a doctor’s appointment. When you set the days and times for the week you are twice as likely to get there.
- Be realistic. With that being said (scheduling your workouts), be honest with yourself. If you know that you are not a morning person then don’t plan on taking the 5AM spin class. Instead look for times that work best for you. For example, if you get out of work at 5PM, then a 6PM spin class might be more achievable.
- Dress the part. Exercise is best in athletic clothing, socks, and sneakers. Oh and if you have long hair don’t forget your hair tie! Nothing is more annoying than sweaty hair dripping or slapping you in the face in the middle of burpees.
- Plan ahead. Going off of my tips about making a date, being realistic, and dressing the part; leave a spare gym bag in your car or locker so that you don’t have an excuse to stop home after work before your gym session. The chances of you wanting to go back out upon stoping hoping after work are slim to none so plan and prepare to go to the gym straight from work!
- Make an awesome playlist. It may be time to update your iTunes or Music library with whatever songs make you feel pumped up and energized. If you don’t download music try different Pandora stations or YouTube channels.
- Get a fitness app. Some people use a FitBit to track their steps or heart beat and others use smart phone apps like Pacer. Whatever you choose, having an app to track your progress can be a useful tool in motivating you to push a little harder than you usually do.
- Change up your routine. If you’re getting bored or not seeing results it’s time for you to seek guidance from someone or something new. Try taking a new workout class, look up some ideas on YouTube or schedule an appointment with a personal trainer. Even if the class or training sessions are not something you see yourself committing to, you may learn something that you can apply to your fitness regimen!
8. Be clear about your goals. We often “fall off” or “fall behind” because we have lost sight of why we started in the first place. Exercise is important and should be a part of most individuals lifestyle however the amount, time, and energy to put in is up to you. Are you trying to look good in your clothes? Are you trying to prevent or treat a chronic illness? Maybe you just like to feel good and exercising makes you happy. Whatever the reason is, it is important to define and get clear about WHY it is most important to you. When you know why, remind yourself of why. Why did you get started? Why do you want to continue? What will happen if you don’t? When you know why then update your goals and develop a appropriate plans and strategies about HOW you are going to get there.
The recap: If you are new to exercise start slow. There’s no need to push your body to the point of exhaustion. First, get into the habit of exercising consistently; i.e. going to the gym three times per week for about 3 weeks. Once you’ve mastered that task then begin to explore new routines or possibly add another day of exercise to your weekly schedule. Keep in mind that small progress is still progress and if anything sometimes the best progress! Committing to a healthy lifestyle can be challenging, but the benefits are outstanding and eventually those “challenges” become a part of the triumphant soldier that you are.