We’ve all been there before. You start out on an exercise program with the best intentions, and then soon after find it near impossible to even put on your workout clothes. If this sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Many people begin fitness routines and then stop when they don’t see results quickly enough or get bored. Here are ten tips to help you retain motivation for exercise:
1. Make It Enjoyable
The United States Health and Human Services Agency recommends minimum 30 minutes of moderate activity five times a week or 20 minutes of vigorous activity at least thrice a week; however, not all exercise has to be at the gym to be effective.
Get out and do something you enjoy. As long as you keep moving for approximately 30 minutes, it doesn’t matter what type of activity you do.
The old adage of “variety is the spice of life” should be applied to your fitness routine. If your current workout is becoming dull, switch it up and try something different.
2. Set Realistic Goals
If your fitness goal is to lose 20 pounds by the middle of summer, write it down on a piece of paper and remind yourself of that goal frequently. Remember to set realistic goals. For example, if you have not exercised recently, don’t set out to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon for a quick day hike.
If that’s your goal, build up to it gradually with a series of shorter hikes to get your muscles and joints ready.
3. Chart Your Progress
Keep a fitness journal, and write out your daily workout routines. Write down the specific repetitions and sets of each exercise.
Record what you do during each workout to include how long you exercise and document your progress. A detailed record of your efforts and achievements will act as a source of motivation. Think of it like your fitness mission statement.
4. Find the Time
Organize your day so that you have time to work out. Schedule your training routines just as you would schedule any other important daily activity.
If you’re a morning person, wake up early and get your workout in before the hustle of the day begins. If mornings don’t appeal to you, maybe you could eat lunch early and train during your lunch hour.
It doesn’t matter what time of day you train, as long as you find the time to do it.
5. Reward Yourself
Everyone enjoys receiving praise. If you find that you have met some of your fitness goals, take the time to reward yourself.
Treat yourself to a massage or anything that appeals to you. Remember to keep your rewards healthy. Don’t reward yourself junk food or something that can be counterproductive to your fitness and health goals.
6. Stay Flexible
If something deters you from your workout to work or the demands of life, stay flexible and get back on track soon as you can. No matter how vigilant you are, this will occasionally happen.
If you miss your workout, take the stairs instead of elevator that day or park your car a little farther away than normal and walk to your destination. Be creative and find other ways to get your physical activity that day.
7. Don’t Overtrain
It’s important to stick to a frequent exercise routine; however, don’t make the mistake of overtraining. Sometimes less is better than more.
Taking breaks between workouts will allow your joints and muscles the necessary time to recover. Conversely, if you overtrain you stand the risk of developing an overuse injury. This can sideline you from your training for an extended period of time.
8. Be Patient
Sometimes it takes time to achieve your fitness goals. Many people have given up prematurely because they didn’t think that they were meeting their fitness goals quick enough.
If you find that you are constantly thinking about fitness expectations, switch your workout up. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight through a running routine, participate in a sport that might take your mind off your workout. Join a soccer league or take a ballroom dancing class. Do anything that keeps you moving and makes you focus on the activity.
9. Find a Friend
Take a friend or a partner to the gym with you. This is probably the best motivation for exercise. Your fitness buddy can also encourage you during tough workouts.
Another benefit of having a workout partner is healthy competition. Make your workouts fun and challenge each other.
10. Eat Right
A healthy diet is vital during training. Eating healthy and drinking plenty of water is a crucial component that will help propel you through your workouts.
Eat a variety of foods such as healthy vegetables, fruits, beans and nuts. This will provide your body with the essential protein and amino acids that it needs to repair itself after a demanding workout.
Follow these simple steps and stay motivated for exercising regularly.