Unless you absolutely adore working out, and (by some miracle) don’t have any big responsibilities that keep you from hitting the gym, most of us have a hard time keeping motivated, and sticking with our workout plans. According to Muscle & Fitness Magazine 90% of gym members stop going to the gym regularly within 90 days after they join.
When Starting a New Workout Plan…
Be Realistic. The trick is that most of us set ourselves up for failure by creating unrealistic goals. When we first join the gym we are really enthusiastic, believing that we are about to change the things we hate about our bodies forever. But then when we can’t get to the goals we set, we feel like a failure, think it’s too hard, and give up. It’s ok to take baby steps, and work your way up. Set your sights on attainable goals to be achieved in a sensible time frame. (I.e. losing 1-2 LBS. per week)
Believe you can succeed. According to research by Jane Ogden, PhD, people who successfully reach their goals are those who strongly believe that they can achieve them. Whether you are trying to lose weight, build muscle, increase endurance or simply get healthier, just like everything else in life, a positive mindset is key.
Don’t beat yourself up! No one is perfect. You are bound to mess up. If you eat a piece of cake, don’t feel like you blew it. It’s ok to have a treat once in awhile. Just make up for it by working out harder the next workout, or cutting back on calories elsewhere.
Don’t Overdo It. People are usually so eager in the beginning that they push themselves too hard and injure themselves, resulting in days or weeks off for recovery. Start with a lighter weight that gets a little harder to lift in your last 3-4 reps of your set. It’s ok if you don’t complete the amount of reps you set out to do. Record how many reps you do in your log. As you feel it getting easier with each workout session increase the amount of reps and weight.
Create a Schedule. Think of working out like brushing your teeth. It’s something you automatically do everyday (well, most of us anyways). Schedule into your daily planner. If you enforce it as you would an appointment, then you will stick with it.
Change Your Routine Often/ Do what you Enjoy. If you enjoy what you’re doing there is definitely more of a chance you won’t get fed up and give up. Plus, doing the same thing everyday can lead to frustrating result plateaus. Change up your routine and do something that is fun for you! Take a class, go for a hike, play a sport, do body-weight workouts, go dancing!
Here are some tools to get through your worst Workout S.O.S. moments:
Visualize – Many experts now believe that visualizing yourself being successful will actually help you get there. Close your eyes and see a slimmer, fitter you. Imagine how good you will look in smaller sized clothes, or a bathing suit. Imagine running into that co-worker who always talks down to you, or better still an ex! Picture them being in awe of how good you look. Yeah! That’s right!
Read success stories – read magazines, books, blogs, and fitness forms. Success stories of others can be incredibly inspirational.
Reward yourself – Set a goal and give yourself a reward for getting there. This will help motivate you to work towards it.
Listen to music – Most of us know the emotional power of music. Get your ipod on and rock it out! Your favorite, up beat song can help you push harder, or even motivate you to get going.
Tell a friend – If you tell a friend you are starting a new exercise challenge and to keep tabs on you, you will be more likely to stick with it so that you won’t be bugged or embarrassed by them bringing it up.
Take pictures – Take a before pic, and take pics along the way. Most people a visual. Seeing how different you look from pic to pic can give you a HUGE boost.
Sign up for a 5K race or triathlon– you’ll be motivated to train.
Measure yourself – The circumference of your waist, hips, legs, and arms. Sometimes the weight on the scale doesn’t go down, but you don’t realize it’s because your gaining muscle. (Muscle weighs more than fat) By measuring your body you’ll notice the measurements going down. Inspired to fit into those tight jeans? Yes, sir!
Start a blog – Tell people you’re going to lose weight or exercise daily, and report to them. You’ll make it happen.
Write down your goals and revisit them – Sometimes sticking to your workout routine can be as simple as reminding yourself why you got started in the first place. Does heart disease run in your family? Are you out of breath climbing the stairs? Do you want to feel more comfortable in a swimsuit? Think about your goal and how exercise can help you get there.
Climbing the ladder – Think of how a good personal appearance can benefit you in your career. It’s sad to say, but studies show that people who take care of themselves physically have a better chance of getting the job or making that sale. Want that promotion? Work out for it!
The Opposite Sex – Been too chicken to approach that girl in your geometry class? Imagine how much more confident you’d be if you were in shape. GET-HER-NUMBER! Already hitched? Imagine how proud your partner would be of you if you were in shape.
Think of how good it will feel when people comment on how good you look. Think of living long enough to see your grandkids! Think of how much more you can get done if you had more energy.
Remember… it’s time for you. Many people make time to take care of others (kids, spouse, boss) and don’t often make time to take care of themselves Make your workout time your quiet time: reflect on your day while running on the treadmill, listen to your favorite tune to tune out your mind, burn off that stress in an aerobics class. how you feel afterwards. You feel proud of your accomplishment, more confident, and have more energy. Remembering that feeling will give you a push.
Remember the “yuck” feeling from not exercising? Which would you rather feel? You can do it!