Working out is not easy for many people. Keeping yourself motivated to stick to your exercise regimen is even harder. Working out has many great benefits such as weight management, improving your energy, reducing stress and anxiety, and other health advantages.
However, once you begin to exercise, it becomes difficult to keep thinking about the benefits when your body is in relative agony!
So how do you get yourself to start exercising? More importantly, how do you stick to your regime after the first few days or weeks? A lot of people today live a sedentary lifestyle caused either by a busy family life, a stressful job, or just poor time management.
The first thing is; you do not need to be too hard on yourself. Realize that as with anything else, forming good habits takes time and dedication.
Regardless of your fitness level, here are some easy steps that you can take to make working out more instinctive and fun, instead of a painful and intimidating ordeal:
Manage your Expectations
Many times, the biggest hurdle you will have to overcome will be yourself. Fitness experts say that beginners often have unrealistic expectations that are too hard for them. When they then fail to live up to these expectations, they get frustrated and simply give up.
The first thing you have to realize is that, with working out, it is never about ‘all or nothing.’ Even low impact physical activity is better than no activity. As you begin, worry more about being consistent and learning discipline than about gaining traction as you advance physically.
Set Realistic Goals
It is important to identify what you want to achieve so that you can determine how to accomplish that objective. For example, if you want to lose weight, identify how much you would like to lose within a certain period of time. Then you will know how much you need to exercise, how many times per week you’ll need to be active, and so forth. This is where being realistic will save you from frustration. Remember, the human body can only do so much without consistent prior conditioning.
Continuing with the example above, it is important to realize you cannot lose thirty pounds in a week in a healthy way, no matter how hard you work out.
The bottom line is this; be kind to yourself. Set realistic goals for yourself depending on your fitness level.
Give your body time to get used to the rigors of working out. Consistently graduate the difficulty and length of your workouts and you will begin to see results in no time.
Stick to your routine
As you begin exercising, set a routine for your workouts and stick to it. Consistency is the only way to cultivate this habit.
Decide how many times a week you will be working out, as well as the specific days.
Identify how many minutes your workout will take and carve out time either in the mornings or evenings that you will workout. Once you have decided all this, stay committed to keeping your workout times sacred and allow no interruptions.
Discover what works for you
You can easily get hung up on the hundreds of fitness success stories you can find on the internet, copying their regimens and diets to the letter. However, what works for someone else might not work so well for you. It is important to find the specific combination of techniques that will work well for you.
For example, you might find it is easier to check out some home gym equipment ideas and work out from home. In this case, the best home gym for you will include equipment for cardio exercises, and weight and strength training.
Health and fitness are very personal sciences: through a process of trial and elimination, you will be able to sift through the myriad of tips, articles, and self-help books to find what works effectively for you.
Stop Making Excuses
Some of the excuses we give to get out of exercise are either that we’re too busy, tired, or that it is too hard or painful. The only way to work through our excuses is by keeping focused on the goal and simply working through the difficulties. Discipline is key.
The benefits of exercise are often long term ones. However, with every milestone you achieve or obstacle you overcome, it is important to reward yourself. Choose something you would like to do, but do not do it before you complete your workout.
Keep it Social
Make sure that you are part of a support group that keeps you encouraged and motivated. Such groups keep you accountable as you work towards your goals. Working out does not have to be a solitary endeavor; you should try to make new friends and be part of a strong support system in the process.
Make it Fun
Make sure you are enjoying yourself in everything you do. Do activities that reward you by making you feel good while you are doing them. Many people focus solely on the traditional exercise methods, but you can mix it up to keep it challenging and enjoyable.
If you did cardio yesterday, do something like yoga or strength training today. Keep it versatile by experimenting and trying new things and your motivation will never waver.
Make Use of Technology
There are millions of resources available on the Internet, the challenge then becomes finding information that helps you achieve your fitness goals. Read books and articles that advocate for getting fit in a healthy way. Find workouts online or use apps that help you track your progress. Whatever you use, technology should help you build better habits.
Even as you exercise, keep your focus on your body and how it feels. This will not only help you get fit faster, but help you become more positive in your outlook. As you do this, you will begin to associate working out with these positive feelings, helping you stay on track.
Strive to get to a place where exercise is second nature to you. You want working out to become a lifestyle, not a one time event. Start today and, after a few months, you will find that your body has become stronger and more resilient, and your quality of life will also improve.
With summer fast approaching you might also enjoy my 6 Week Home Workout Plan.