Planning an exercise routine you can stick with is the first step to meeting your fitness goals. Here's how to find motivation and keep it!
You've decided to get in shape, but now what? Start by looking at exercise as a permanent lifestyle change that’ll help you reach and maintain your fitness goals. The focus should be on two things: moving forward and enjoying the journey. If you're moving forward, you are progressing, and getting closer to your goal. If your focus is only on the destination, you'll miss the whole point of the journey."
Make Your Fitness Goals Attainable
Setting fitness goals and continuing to create new challenges for yourself will give you something to strive for. Your goals should encourage you to work hard, but they also need to target you can reach. Break your goals down into short- and long-term objectives, like losing 5 pounds per month for a total of 50 or 60 pounds over a year, or training to run a 5K race within 6 months and a marathon within 18 months. Thinking of your long-term goal in short-term steps will help you recognize progress and stay focused.
Put Your Exercise Routine in Writing
When organizing your calendar for the week or month, schedule in your exercise routine along with your other appointments. Write down every workout session just as you would a doctor's visit or a business meeting, and schedule other social activities around it. A successful fitness plan requires commitment — and that means sticking to a set routine. Scheduling your workout will help keep your commitment to fitness on your mind and any other obligations from getting in the way.
Find a Workout Buddy
Working out with a friendwho has similar fitness goals will increase your motivation. Think of it as positive peer pressure. If you start slacking off, someone is there to get you back to the gym. Make a commitment to each other to work out regularly. You and your workout buddy can even brainstorm together to create a realistic fitness plan. It may seem challenging at first but push through the tough times together, and your dedication will pay off.
Get Proper Gear
The right workout gear can help you feel more comfortable during your workout. It can also make your exercise routine more effective and reduce your risk of injury. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but it’s worth it to invest in a pair of properly fittedshoesthat are within your price range, as well as clothing that’s suitable for your activities. If you’re working out on your own at home, consider buying otherequipmentyou need for your workouts, such as a fitness ball or resistance bands. If you work out at a gym, the facility may provide such items.
Choose the Right Fitness Setting
It doesn't matter where or how you exercise, as long as you find ways to get active. Choose a setting that is convenient, comfortable, and motivating for your exercise routine. You can use workout DVDs in your own home, take classes at a health club, or jog in a local park. A gym is a good place to start because it offers so many resources — equipment, classes, personal trainers — to help you achieve your fitness goals. If you crave variety, look for a fitness center that offers a variety of classes,weight-trainingand cardio machines, and workout groups. Having options available to you will keep your exercise routine interesting.
Hire a Personal Trainer
If you're struggling to devise the right exercise routine for your lifestyle and abilities — or just need someone to help keep you on track — consider hiring apersonal trainer. A trainer will design an individualized fitness plan that targets your specific fitness goals, and he or she will also offer helpful pointers and exercise tips. A few initial sessions are particularly useful for those who are new to strength training. Your trainer will tell you how much weight to lift and teach you the correct form. Once you get the hang of it, you can consider working with your trainer on a less frequent basis. He or she can help make sure that your exercise routine stays in sync with your improving skill level.
Get Pumped With Music
Music is a guaranteed motivator to help you power through your exercise routine — especially on days when you’re feeling too down, tired, or stressed to work out. Create a playlist with songs that get your blood pumping and put you in the mood to sweat. Be sure your selections total 30 to 60 minutes or more — you don't want the music to stop before your workout is over.
Vary Your Routine
Don't let your exercise routine become routine. Create a fitness plan that allows for plenty of variety — you'll get bored if you keep doing the same old thing day in and day out. Alternate between using cardio or strength-training machines, participating in fun workout classes, playing sports with friends, and just heading outside for an energizing walk, hike, or bike ride. The more enthusiastic and creative you are about yourfitnesstraining, the more likely you are to stick with it.