Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hints For Sticking With Your Workout Routine

There are many reasons that people search out and develop a workout routine.  You may have recently visited a doctor and been told that your health problems could be  greatly relieved with minimal physical activity.  Or you may have just gotten sick of looking the way you look or feeling the way that you feel.  Whatever the motivation was to get started, developing a good workout routine is a life altering experience, that will open the doors for a higher quality of life. 

After you have made this monumental decision initially your motivation will be relatively easy.  Finding the intrinsic motivation to stick with your workout plan will eventually become a challenge we'll face.  Continually driving yourself to go to the gym, hit the pavement for a run or doing a video workout course will become harder as time goes on.  there are some simple tricks you can apply to your workout that will make the motivation flow to you. Have discipline in the frequency in which you follow your workout routine. 

After the initial physical rewards of your workouts, your mind will start to play bargaining games and search for excuses not to work out.  Do not give in to this.  One way that I have fought this is to pack my workout gear in my bag at night.  Then all of the things that I need, clothes, sneakers, Ipod, are all with me and ready to go when the opportunity to work out presents itself.  Also I have found keeping a chart on the calendar of when I worked out and for how long, has helped me present physical proof to myself that I am  being disciplined in following my workout routine.  If I look at it and see three blank days in a row, I can't convince myself that I can skip my workout. This leads to being accountable.  A Big part of discipline is being accountable to yourself.  If you have trouble with this a workout partner can give you motivation to continue and prosper in your workout routine.  You will never feel like you are in it alone if there is someone who is "counting on" you to perform whatever activity your workout routine entails.  If you go to a gym, you can almost always find someone who has similar goals and interests to workout with.  They do not have to do the same exact routine as you, their mere company will bring added motivation to your physical activity.  This works particularly well with walking and running workout routines as well.  Any activity is more enjoyable when you share it with someone else.

Changing things up will help you avoid burning out and becoming bored with your workout.  That doesn't mean you have to trash everything you do, although you could.  I enjoy weight training, I don't want to stop lifting and start training for a marathon. I love my workout routine!  However, at times it can become a little stale.  For me, all I have to do is add a new exercise to the routine I am doing that day, and the workout seems as fresh as day one.  Also I vary the weight and repetitions I perform in a routine.  I may max out, and do low reps for several weeks, and then go to lighter weights and more repetitions for a few weeks.  I have found this not only beneficial to my mental approach to lifting, but physically my body feels and looks better, because your muscles are getting a different burn.  Trying something new can also fight off the burn out.  Try that exercise you saw someone else doing at the gym that looked neat.  Or if you are feeling really crazy, try a whole new form of exercise altogether.  Whatever you do, switch things up in some way from time to time and your workout routine will never seem dull or boring and will be more fun and your body will show the results. Goal setting is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your motivation in your workout routine. 

Setting a reachable target that you can shoot for is an important aspect in any phase of your life.  Make them reachable and measurable.  This just means, don't set unrealistic, broad and general goals that can't be measured.   If you are trying to increase your strength, shoot for a realistic bench press goal.  If you are a beginner at weight training, benching three hundred pounds, may be reachable in the long term, but benching one hundred and fifty pounds may be a more realistic short term goal.  It is also measurable.  Once you achieve that shoot for one hundred and sixty pounds, and so on.  If you are a runner, try to better your time and distance. Again, easily measurable.  Once you reach a goal, I think it is important to recognize that in someway.  Reward yourself somehow.  Do something you like that is special.  Your accomplishment is important, and it will help with the motivation in sticking with your workout routine.  You probably don't want to involve food in this reward, since it can be detrimental to your overall health goals.

Working out at a consistent time of day can be a simple thing that helps you stay motivated.  I am not a morning person so I consistently work out in the afternoon after work.  I like having the hour or so to turn my mind off and get my body moving and let the stresses of life flow out of me.  I know many people who love to work out first thing in the morning. They feel that being physical to start the day gives them extra energy to tackle whatever the day brings.  Everybody has a different body clock, follow yours.  It doesn't make any difference when you follow your workout routine, it only matters that you do follow it consistently.

Lastly, I would say that no matter what workout routine you follow make sure that you HAVE FUN!  It should be an activity that you enjoy.  In today's world, it seems that having fun is the last factor we think of before we participate in an activity.  I look back to when I was a kid growing up in rural Maine.  Fun was the number one factor in dictating our activities.  If it wasn't fun, I certainly wouldn't have chosen to do it.  As adults, it seems that we lose a lot of that in the whirlpool of responsibility that our lives possess.  So whatever form of workout routine you choose to follow, find the kid inside of you and let them guide you.  You will be far more motivated to keep up with your exercises when it is fun, and having fun is an important aspect of any persons mental health and development. In conclusion, I hope that all of you will choose to begin a workout routine today!  Good Luck and have fun.

Jonathan Hilton
If you are busy and want to be healthy, come visit The Busy Fitness Pro!


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