Regular exercise is one of the most efficient ways of boosting overall health and well-being levels.
Research has revealed that working out regularly helps you achieve a healthy weight, improve self-image, increase confidence, reduce the risk of chronic conditions—to name a few benefits.
That said, if you’ve failed in the past to stick to your workout routine, then know that there a few measures you can take right now to break the cycle and make your fitness vision a reality.
In today’s article, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite tips for making it easier to plan, prepare, and maintain a workout program for the long haul. Apply the following measures, and you’ll be one step closer to making fitness a part of your lifestyle.
You wouldn’t try to run 20 miles on day 1, right? That’s why when it comes to exercise, starting slow—think baby steps—is the way to go.
When you exercise too much too soon, you’ll end up in pain, injured, and disappointed. In other words, the bigger the goals when starting, the more likely you’re going to crash down.
Take it easy as you take your first few steps. During the first few weeks, opt for a workout plan, you can effortlessly do-even if you’re a complete couch potato.
Starting easy will help you establish exercise behaviors and build the workout habit you want to have in place without taxing your body too much. Maybe you only do a few sets or run/walk for 20 minutes instead of lifting for hours or running 20 miles.
Make the Time
The most common hurdle to sticking to a regular workout routine is lack of time. But that’s not entirely accurate. Often lack of planning is the culprit.
If you want to have time for exercise, you got to plan for it. The time won’t just show itself up.
At the onset of each month, sit down and plan out your workout sessions, then schedule them in advance. At the very least, strive for 15 to 18 sessions for an average month.
Once you set the times and dates, keep your workout “appointments” with yourself ironclad, and don’t let the rest of life interfere—even if you had to rearrange your life around it as if it were the most critical sweat arrangement.
Making yourself accountable to your exercise buddy is a fantastic way to keep you honest about your challenges and commitment to starting a new workout routine and sticking to it for the long haul.
Don’t take my word for it. According to research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, social support has a significant impact on your commitment to stick to working out regularly.
Instead of hitting the gym solo, make a workout date with a friend or colleague. Remember to look for someone who is in the same boat as you and share your fitness ability and training goals.
You can also join a fitness group at the local gym, like martial arts, Yoga, or Crossfit. Even if you couldn’t find a workout buddy, at the very least, let someone know of your fitness plans and goals to help keep you honest about your program.
Want to trick your brain into falling in love with exercise? Then set up a reward system for your workout efforts.
When a stimulus or behavior, such as running, triggers a pleasant response, then chances are you’ll want to reproduce these feelings by doing the behavior again.
In other words, when you enjoy what you’re doing, whether it’s biking, weight lifting, running, or yoga—you’ll want to do that workout again and again.
So how do you put this into action?
Simple. Set up a training plan and have a reward attached to achieving a certain goal, be it bench pressing 60 pounds, running a 10K, losing 5 pounds, or doing yoga three times a week.
Just make sure the reward is something you look forward to. Some examples include:
- Having a hot bath
- Getting a massage
- Going to the movies
- Taking a long nap
- Netflixing your favorite show
- Buying new jeans
- Treating yourself to a nice dinner
- Have a chocolate cake (don’t make a habit of it though)
- Going out with friends
Do what you Love
Last but not least, the best workout plan is the one you enjoy and will keep doing. As I’ve already mentioned, when you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to stick it. Exercise is no exception.
If you hate running or can’t see yourself lifting weights three times a week, move on to something you’ll look forward to doing. Don’t force yourself into a corner.
That would be yoga, biking, dance, Zumba, spinning, swimming, or whatever gets your boat rocking. It’s up to you.
By doing this, you won’t have to force yourself to work out. Instead, you’ll be looking forward to it.
So please, carve your path. Do what works best for you. Do not follow someone else path—unless it’s leading you where you want to go.