If you have ever started a fitness program and then thrown in the towel, then you are certainly not alone. It is unfortunately common for people to start working out, but stop when they become bored or disappointed in slow results. Since the hardest part of exercising is actually getting inside the gym, you will need to push yourself to avoid hitting a plateau and giving up on your health. Here are my top eight workout strategies for a magic formula that will help you stay motivated and get in the best shape of your life.
1. Set Realistic, Attainable Goals
To stay motivated for keeping with a fitness plan, you will need to set realistic goals that include clear milestones that you can attain as you progress toward your end objective. Starting off with a plan to run a marathon is unfeasible and will likely set you up for failure. Make sure you choose goals that you can actually achieve, such as participating in your first 5K, fitting into an old pair of jeans collecting dust in your closet, or achieving a bikini body before a beach vacation. Whatever you choose, clearly define your goals, write them down as an incentive, and revisit them daily before your workouts.
2. Stick to a Scheduled Workout Time
The most devoted exercisers often build in an hour each day to complete their workout at a regularly set time. Studies have shown that people are more likely to stick with an exercise routine when they get up an hour earlier and work out first thing in the morning before heading off to work. Exercising in the morning will provide extra motivation with an energy boost that lasts throughout your entire day. If you plan to fit in a workout after your last meeting or once the kids fall asleep, there is an opportunity for last-minute invitations to come along and discourage you from exercising.
3. Spice Up Your Workouts with Variety
It is a proven fact that humans need change and fun to stay motivated into exercising. Whether you take a fitness class that changes choreography weekly, switch up the location of your trail runs for different scenery, or experiment with new exercise styles, be sure to design a fitness routine that incorporates a wide variety of workouts. Most of all, you should include fun recreational activities that you truly enjoy doing, such as playing sports, dancing, yoga, or even jump roping. Not only will spicing up your exercise routine with new workouts ensure you are motivated, but it will also introduce new muscle groups to avoid hitting a plateau.
4. Stop Making Lame Excuses
We are all very experienced at forming excuses why we should not hit the gym, from not having enough time to being too tired or having to take care of the kids. But, to stay motivated in a fitness program you must stop using your busy life as a lame excuse not to take care of yourself. Shift your perspective from couch potato to start thinking like an athlete and viewing exercise as an important part of your daily routine. Rather than sticking exercise at the bottom of your long to-do list, make exercise a habit and a priority in your life.
5. Exercise with a Buddy for Support
In order to stay motivated with a fitness program, you are going to need to overcome your fear of asking for help and receive encouragement from other people. Having an exercise buddy will make you much more likely to stick through a workout routine and provide you with the mental support needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle long-term. When exercising by yourself it is much easier to hit the snooze button, but it is much harder to leave your buddy waiting at the gym. You may also want to consider joining a fitness class to receive support from others who are also striving to lose extra pounds and maintain healthy exercise routines.
6. Maintain a Workout Diary
Holding yourself accountable for workouts is essential to staying motivated to a fitness plan for the long haul. Just as keeping a food diary helps dieters lose twice as much weight, keeping a record of your exercise routine will provide increased motivation to not slack off. Marking a calendar with a giant “X” for every day you don’t work out is a great visual method for reminding yourself to get back in gear. There are also a number of apps for your mobile devices to easily keep track of your workout progress on-the-go and avoid becoming discouraged.
7. Reward Yourself for a Hard Workout
Sticking to a fitness plan often means not being afraid to bribe yourself, but not with an ice cream sundae. After completing a rigorous workout, treat yourself to a fun non-food reward in recognition for how hard you worked out that day. When you reach a goal, take a stop at the nail salon for a pedicure, plan a day at the spa, spend the evening at the movies, or purchase some new fitness fashion to show off your hot new body. As a general rule of thumb, it is always easier to make it through a tough workout when you have something fun to look forward to.
8. Find a Trained Fitness Instructor
When all else fails, it may be time to consult with a professional and find a trained fitness instructor in your local area to provide guidance. After all, people who receive support from a personal trainer are proven to lose three times more weight than those going it alone. Not only will a fitness instructor be able to offer exercise help for a better workout, but he or she will also hold you accountable for sticking to a daily routine. With all of these tactics combined, you will be setting yourself up to stay motivated for achieving more happiness, more energy, and a lifetime of good health.