The toughest part of adhering to a fitness routine is getting past the first hurdles of physical strain without sinking back into old habits of neglecting your exercise. While no tip or trick will serve as a replacement for hard work and dedication, these ten ideas can help keep you motivated and moving forward with your health goals.
1. Create a Workout Plan
Knowing what you need to do each day can make it easier to mentally prepare ahead of time and avoid shying away from additional exercises on those days when your muscles are crying out in agony.
2. Record Your Exercises
Even if you’re not trying to do a single rep maximum, you should be recording the exercises you do in a fitness journal. Include the type of exercise, then make sure each set has both the amount of weight used and the number of repetitions. Use this data to plan your future exercises and to watch your progress over time.
3. Take Progress Photos
Although health should be the primary goal of exercise, it certainly helps when your efforts can be seen in the mirror. You won’t be able to casually tell how much your shape has changed, so take progress photos at regular intervals to make comparison easier. Try to use the same location, poses, and camera settings for consistency in the photos.
4. Get Workout Allies
Humans are social creatures, and peer pressure is a powerful force on their behavior. Grab a pair of friends (or make new ones at the gym) that are relatively close to your fitness level as workout allies. They can help push you on your down days, and you can return the favor when they’re feeling too tired to lift.
5. Write a Workout Blog or Journal
If you’re the type who likes to keep a journal, your fitness routine makes a great topic for exposition. Jot down your exercises, how your body feels, your goals for the future, and anything that comes to mind. If you get in the habit of thinking and writing about fitness, it will become harder to forget to hop on the treadmill.
6. Schedule ‘Get Out of Jail’ Days
Whether it’s a sudden onset of fifty errands while work is overloading you or just a day when you can’t muster the energy to lift your head, there will be times when you can make it to the gym but feel a profound sense of dread and malaise about it. Create a small supply of “Get out of Jail” cards that you can use to postpone a workout. It’s only realistic that you will need to take days off, but the cards can help you from slipping into the habit of postponing so often that it ruins your fitness.
7. Set Fitness Goals
A targeted amount of weight loss can be a decent motivator, but it pales in comparison to the effectiveness of exercise-specific fitness goals. Since you’ll be building muscle, your weight may go up from time to time even while your fitness improves. A better way to assess your progress and set goals for the future is to look at your
8. Include Fun Exercises
Not every day of exercise needs to be spent on straight endurance runs or tucked away in the corners of the gym. Get together a group of friends and workout pals to play low impact games like soccer or ultimate Frisbee that will get you running around a field for hours without the monotony of running circles around a track.
9. Make Fitness a Daily Concern
Even if you only spend an extensive amount of time exercising only three or four days of the week, you should still add in fitness related tasks every single day. On the off days, you can do low-intensity exercises like yoga to help move the reforming muscles around and keep them limber without excessively straining your body.
10. Reward Yourself
Tie prizes into your fitness goals to make achieving them more tangible. For the foodies, this could be a meal at a nice restaurant for a month of sticking to the exercise plan. Tailor the reward to your own fitness plan and personal interests.