So you got yourself the gym membership/treadmill/Insanity DVD (add means of keeping New Year’s fitness resolution here). How are you feeling after the first month or so?
Statistically, you’re probably pretty close to hanging up that “New Year, New Me” resolution. But take heart, there are a few ways that you can keep motivation up and the pounds off.
Make the Time
Not actually create it, but find it. And try to keep it consistent. You will need to try and be religious about this block of time that you need. A routine is a key component of a successful health kick. There is research that backs the idea that having a regular exercise time can have a positive influence on things like performance, levels of oxygen consumption, and lowering perceived exhaustion.
Is there a better time to work out? Depends on who you ask. And your own physiology. There are night owls and the crack of dawn patrol. Each time of day has its upsides as well as its pitfalls, but ultimately it comes down to knowing yourself.
If you know you can’t be trusted to stick to a routine because things might get in the way, then early morning before the daily hurdles start to mount up could be for you. On the other hand, if the idea of getting up with the sun feels sacrilegious, then a lunchtime gym trip might suit you. But again, make it a same-time habit.
Make Working Out Fun
Exercising, working out, hitting the gym, burning calories—whatever you want to characterize or name your quest for health and fitness—it should still have an element of fun to it. If it becomes a chore all of the time, it becomes more of a slog. And this is especially true for those that are just getting back into the gym or a fitness regimen.
It doesn’t have to be all smiles, and getting in shape is ultimately its own reward, but adding an element of personal enjoyment can be a nice incentive.
Make it To a Gym
Why? Simply put, you are more likely to get in shape by actually meeting goals. This isn’t speculation either. A Time article that reported on an Iowa State University study revealed that gym goers are 14 times more likely to meet their weekly exercise goals as opposed to those who tried it on their own, and 75% of those gym members also met the physical activity and strength training guidelines.
This NBCNews post The Health Benefits Of Working Out With A Crowd has some suggestions as to why. It asserts that group exercise mentality might have something to do with it. Or as they say: “I believe it (group activity) to be a key indicator that working out in a motivational pack or using it as a tool to enhance internal or external competitive performance is fast becoming the preferred form of exercise.” Or simply, more people equals more competitive juices.
Make it About Exercise Equipment
If you are bound and determined to make your abode your fitness facility, you will need something to make it look like one.
Whether it’s cardio equipment (treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes, oh my!) or some weights, making a space in your house look (and feel) like a space worthy of your precious sweat will help tremendously with your commitment.
And make the equipment visible. Seeing the equipment will make you more likely to use it. Even if it is DVDs, leave the exercise mat you use somewhere as a reminder.
Make It There
That’s it. Just make it there. Sometimes motivation is more difficult than any superset you can imagine. The more impediments you can remove from getting to your regularly scheduled workout the better. Some rise-and-shiners will sleep with the next morning’s exercise gear on to remove a step.
Things like having the gym bag at the front door ready to go can help. If it’s visible it acts as a reminder. It also signals positive intent. So make sure that your exercise equipment, however large or small, is ready for use.
Make Sure Fitness Follows Form
Nothing derails a fitness renaissance quite as quickly as an injury. Pulls, strains, and sprains are common injuries among those that try to do too much too quickly, or simply don’t perform the exercises correctly.
Get some help. If you have read any of our posts, we always advocate that when getting back into any fitness facility, an instructor or personal trainer is always a good option. They can help with correct technique, workout types, and intensities tailored to your fitness goals as well as your abilities. Of course, a little research can also go a long way.
Make a Workout Friend
This might not make as much sense for those who prefer the comforts and confines of their own home, but having someone to buddy up with can increase the likelihood of sticking to your exercising regimen. Accountability can be its own motivator.
With someone else also involved, you are less likely to break the scheduled workout. You are also more likely spend more time exercising than if you worked out alone. It also increases the general level of exertion and effort. This all adds up to individuals who work out in pairs of groups being more likely to realize their health and fitness goals.
You will slip up. Maybe not in the ways you think. Expect setbacks, and allow for them. Don’t use them as a reason to give up. You will miss a workout or two. You might not lose all the weight (or pick up as much) in the timeframe you have set yourself. Use disappointment as a spur, not a hurdle.
Just don’t let yourself slide too much.
Make it Technological
There is a swathe of options available that can act as a spur to flagging resolve. Technology may not work out for you, but getting to see your performance in real time, as well as creating a database of accomplishments, gives the type of instant feedback that can help with the giddyup that you need.
It is important to remember that the biometric data on every device or piece of wearable tech options don’t have the same level of accuracy as a medical device. There are various price points to choose from, as well as models to suit the level and method of exercise. Warable.com has a convenient list of their best performers based on different criteria.
Remember, Rome was not built in a day—and neither will that body that you want. Stick to the plan (as closely as possible) and repeat to yourself “if it is to be, it’s up to me!” It may sound silly, but this simple mantra (in conjunction with these tips) will keep you on your path to fitness and good health.