One of the hardest things about exercising is sticking with it. And, let’s face it, a walk here, a bike ride there and an aerobics class every now and again isn’t the stuff good, strong bodies are made of. But, if you can keep up your motivation for a couple of weeks, it will become a habit – and you’ll truly see and feel results.
Here are six simple steps to make fitness as natural breathing:
1. Timing is everything. Workout at a time that fits your schedule. If you plan to hit the gym after work, but often stay late at the office or have social engagements, it’s going to be hard to make your workout a regular part of your week. For most people, mornings are the most realistic time. If you can get up an hour earlier for one week, you might find that exercise wakes you up and energizes you for the rest of the day.
2. Seek convenience. Inconvenience is the #1 reason for not working out! Find a gym that is close to your home or office, exercise outdoors during lunch or workout at home. You can build a home gym in your basement or spare room – it will save you the driving time! For as little as $100 you can invest in a mat, bands, ball and free weights all of which are excellent tools to get you started on a strength training program. For cardio you can take advantage of the great outdoors and get out for a walk, run or bike ride.
3. Make it a “given.” Schedule a time to workout. Write it in your day planner and treat it like you would any other important meeting. It’s best to pick a time that works for you every day so that when, for example, 6:00 pm rolls around you know it’s time to get ready for your workout. Make sure your friends and family know that other engagements will have to wait until after your exercise time – this is YOUR time to do something for YOUR health. The more you and everyone else in your life become accustomed to scheduling around your workout, the less likely you’ll be to blow it off for other activities.
4. Think ahead. Half the battle is being organized. It doesn’t take much. While you’re packing your lunch or laying out your clothes for work the next day, be sure to pick out clean exercise clothes, pack your gym bag and fill up your water bottle so you can get up and go in a hurry. If you are working out at home, make sure your exercise area is neat and clutter-free before and after each session so you won’t get distracted by cleaning the next time you exercise.
5. Talk it up. Decide that you’re going to be that person in the office or around the neighborhood who is awe-inspiring for motivation. When co-workers start noticing your weight loss, tell them that you now exercise four to five times a week. Make it a character trait, a fact of life — not just something you’ve been dabbling in lately. Hearing yourself describe your life in this way makes it real — and will inspire you to keep it up.
6. Become an addict. The truth is, the “feel-good chemicals” released during high intensity workouts can leave you craving exercise. If you can reach the point where you yearn for that fitness “high” the way someone might desire coffee, motivation will no longer be an issue. When you are exercising don’t forget to drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods that will refuel your body for the next workout. You don’t want to sabotage all your hard work!