8 Unexpected Ways to Stick to Your Fitness RegimeApril 6, 2017
Making it a habit to work out, especially if you’ve been sedentary for years, can seem like an almost impossible task. Here are some mental strategies that will help.
Wear your fitness clothes to sleep
That way, the only thing you have to do is put on your shoes and get out the door. Working out in the morning lessens the chances of you missing your workout – which may happen if you wait till evening – and you’ll have the added bonus of the accomplishment of knowing you’ve gotten something momentous out of the way the first thing in the morning.
Use a gym ball at work
Get rid of your regular office chair and sit on a stability ball instead. Doing so improves your posture in addition to strengthening your core and lower back muscles. Plus, you’ll burn a few extra calories with almost no effort.
Promise someone you’ll be there
Whether it’s meeting a personal trainer or promising a friend you’ll show up for a fitness boot camp with her, it’s much harder to justify missing a workout when someone else’s time and energy is at stake too.
Try a variety of activities before committing
It may sound like clichéd advice but it bears repeating: working out doesn’t have to be a chore, and the only way to fall in love with it is to find an activity you enjoy doing. This may take awhile, so it’s important to stay open minded during this process. More extroverted types might enjoy the camaraderie of a group activity like dragon boating; quieter personalities might prefer the meditative aspect of yoga; and still others could enjoy the technical challenge of picking up a martial art. You’ll never know what’s right for you until you try out a variety of activities to see what suits you best.
Focus on the right things
People often use their weight to see if their fitness efforts are paying off. Most of the time, however, this may not be the most accurate measurement of progress, especially if they’re not overweight to begin with. Some people gain muscle before losing fat, so when they first start on a fitness regime, they may actually become heavier, at least initially. If this happens to you, don’t be disheartened. Instead, focus on the fact that your body’s a lot stronger and capable of doing more than before you started on your regime.
Recognise it’s doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing
Research has shown that it takes, on average, more than two months to build a new habit. More importantly, the same study shows that one “missing one opportunity to perform the behaviour did not materially affect the habit formation process”. In a nutshell, it means that missing a couple of fitness sessions doesn’t mean you’ve failed in the endeavour. You’ll be fine so long as you don’t take these setbacks to heart and pick up from where you left off.
Opt for short, effective workouts
Those who cannot afford the luxury of putting aside an hour after work each day to exercise should try and get their workout in in small bite-sized chunks throughout the day. Three intense 10-minute bursts of activity can be just as effective as working out for half an hour continuously. Not sure where to start? Turn to technology – there are lots of fitness apps out there that can guide you through short, intense workouts – no equipment needed. During this short period of time, be sure to stay focused on the task at hand to get the most out of it.
Write down how you feel after a great workout
Even the most hardcore of fitness junkies will go through periods where they feel completely lazy and unmotivated to work out. In preparation for those times, keep a journal where you write down just how amazing and accomplished you feel after a tough workout. Reading through it when you’re feeling the least motivated may give you the push you need to get off the couch and onto your feet.