Sticking with a workout routine… I understand if you say it’s hard. And I believe this is what many out there feel (yes, even the most fitness-driven person I know has such times).
Often, starting a routine is no problem, but the real challenge is adhering to it. We’re so excited to begin an exercise routine one day, and the other day, we’re struggling to keep it. We lose momentum, and worse, give up.
This unfortunate event can be due to various things — you’re busy with other stuff and don’t have enough time, you’re too tired, the weather is bad… the list and excuses go on.
To help you get started and keep doing your workout routine until you achieve your fitness goal or until whenever, here are some helpful (tried & tested) tips.
1. Exercise for Yourself
This may sound like common sense, but you’ll be surprised at how many people exercise just because of peer pressure or any other external reasons. While such are not bad in themselves, people who are externally motivated tend to get tired of working out and give up eventually.
All because they don’t have a solid reason for it.
On the other hand, exercising for yourself expresses your desire to become the best version of yourself yet. It gives you the motivation to stick with your workout routine, knowing that you’re doing it not for anything or anyone but for yourself.
2. Keep Your Goals Realistic
If you workout to lose weight or build muscles, set goals that are realistic. Getting rid of 40 pounds in a week is next to impossible with exercise. If you’re a beginner, start aiming and working towards more realistic goals, such as increasing your workout time from 20 minutes to 30.
3. Take Little Steps
No matter how much you want to stay healthy and fit, there’s no way you’ll run 20 miles on your first day! Know your limits, and if you’re just a beginner in working out, take baby steps and do less than what you’re capable of doing.
This allows you to build your routine as days go by and when you feel it’s not as challenging anymore. Don’t do much too soon, unless you want to end up with sore muscles, an injury, or worse, resenting your decision to exercise.
4. Integrate Different Exercises
Mix your routine up with different exercises and moves to keep things interesting and target different muscle groups. If you’re used to the treadmill for cardio, try jumping rope on your next session.
When strength training, try to alternate the use of free weights and machines. I’m not saying you change your routine every week, but a little change and mixing every now and then keeps things fresh and engaging.
5. Think of Alternatives
If work keeps you late for the gym, have a pair of weights at home. For your cardio, buy a jumping rope or opt for jogging or running sessions. Watch online exercise videos or DVDs.
Ideally, a 30-minute to 1 hour of exercise is needed a day, five days a week. But if your schedule is crazy and doesn’t allow you to workout 30 minutes or 1 hour at once, try to break your sessions into smaller chunks of 10- or 15-minute exercises.
6. Involve Your Family and Friends
Exercise is a group activity why not involve them in your workout routine? Jog with your spouse, ride a bike with your children, or do Zumba with your sibs. If you’re living independently, you can always bring a friend who has a strong fitness mentality.
Involving your loved ones helps in keeping you motivated and determined. It becomes not just an exercise; it builds your bond with them. It fosters communication and inspiration. Plus, if ever you’re feeling lazy to move, they can guide (or force) you back in the right direction.
7. Take Advantage of Public Fitness Activities
If there’s a fitness run or race in your area, sign up for it. Aside from giving diversity to your exercise routine, joining fitness activities in your locality is a great way to meet like-minded people and build relationships with them.
8. Follow a Good Diet Plan
It takes more than just exercise to be or stay healthy and fit. You should also follow a healthy diet. A good diet plan works hand in hand with exercise, bringing forth better results. If you’re seeing great results, guess what? You’ll be more motivated to pursue and stick with your workout routine, knowing that it’s worth it and is helping you become better.
9. Keep Track of Your Fitness
Jotting down your fitness journey on a notebook or your device is a great way to track your progress. For instance, record the food you’ve consumed in a day, the calories you’ve burned, and how much you ran, lifted, or repeated sets of different exercises.
10. Be Kind to Yourself
You’re a human, and as a human, you’re entitled to fail sometimes. Maybe you’ve missed a session or snacked on a slice of chocolate cake. These can happen, but remember that the important thing is to get back up and continue.
There’s no use drowning yourself in self-pity or condemnation and wishing you have or haven’t done something. Live in the present, and more importantly, make it a resolution to stick to your fitness plans no matter what. It’s a learning journey, so be up for challenges.
When all else fails and you still see yourself abandoning your workout routine after some time, don’t give up, especially if all you’ve got is you. As the Taylor Swift lyrics goes, “Today is never too late to be brand new”.
Have you had problems sticking with an exercise routine before? How did you manage to go on? We’d love to read your stories in the comment section below!