March 15, 2018

5 Foolproof Strategies for Starting a New Fitness Routine


So, you’ve decided to make a change — and that change includes a new fitness plan. Maybe you’re incorporating tri-weekly outdoor runs into your routine, adding a strength training regimen at the gym, or trying out a new spin studio. Regardless of which workout you choose, one thing’s for sure: the hardest part about your new healthy habit is sticking to it.

It can be all too easy to hit the snooze button or come up with an excuse to ditch your workout, especially when you’re still in the process of getting used to a new routine. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can trick yourself into getting psyched about whatever physical activity you have planned.

Need a little help boosting your fitness motivation? These tried-and-true tactics should help you stay on track.

Ease into it
Attempting to go from zero to 60 in terms of your physical activity level is a recipe for failure — making an extreme change feels daunting, so you’re more likely to either skip the workout altogether or end up burned out too quickly. The fact is that something — however small — is always better than nothing when it comes to working out.
Increasing the distance of your run or the frequency of your weight lifting classes gradually every week, for example, won’t feel as overwhelming. When you’re setting fitness goals, be sure that they’re realistic, because if they’re not attainable, you won’t be able to identify progress as easily, and you may just give up.

Pencil it in
Does something always seem to come up that gets in the way of your workouts? Making them a priority is crucial, but can be difficult when you lead a busy life.

Treat your workouts like business meetings or doctor’s appointments. Physically writing (or typing) them into your calendar for each week makes it feel official, and that way, when someone asks you to do something when your sweat session is scheduled, you won’t be as tempted to bail.

Go shopping
There’s no doubt about it: Having stylish fitness apparel and a well-fitting sports bra can be a major motivator to work out. After all, if you’re psyched to don those colorful new kicks or patterned leggings, you’ll have an added incentive to get moving.

It’s also important to make sure that you buy the proper sports bra for the kind of physical activity you’re engaging in because you want to feel supported throughout your entire workout. For example, if you’re going on a long run, you’ll be glad to have a high impact sports bra for optimal bounce control, but if you’re hitting up a Pilates class, a medium-impact sports bra is perfect. Whichever style you choose, you definitely want to make sure you’ve done your research on sports bra sizing, since comfort is key to making your workouts enjoyable.

Commit in writing
When we make a commitment to watch our neighbor’s dog or lead a meeting at work, we feel a sense of obligation, so we don’t back out. When it comes to workouts, sometimes we don’t feel that same sense of accountability. Putting your commitment to work out in writing (and being super specific about it) can help change that.

The website StickK allows you to define your goal and sign a contract, which can do wonders for helping you to follow through on achieving it. You can set personalized parameters for your goal, track your progress through weekly reports, and even invite family and friends to monitor your hard work via email updates to cheer you on.

Make it convenient
Convenience is key when it comes to sticking to a workout plan. The easier it is for you to follow through, the fewer excuses you can come up with not to.

So if you’re a morning workout person, be sure to set your fitness apparel out the night before, including your sneakers, or if you’re planning to hit the gym after work, pack a bag that you can bring to the office (along with a healthy, energy-boosting snack, of course). If you know it’s going to be tough for you to get to group classes in a particular month, rent or buy some workout DVDs to try at home, so you aren’t tempted to give up on physical activity entirely.
Use the buddy system — or find your squad
Working out with a friend or even a group of like-minded strangers not only makes working out a little more fun, but it can also help to hold you accountable for sticking to your fitness plan. You’re far less likely to bail if you have someone counting on you, so try scheduling weekly workouts with a pal who has a similar schedule as you.

If you don’t have a friend who can commit to workouts at the same time, joining a group activity, whether it’s yoga, a Zumba class or a running group, can have the same effect. Not only will you likely feel more supported, but there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition — in fact, it’s a highly effective motivator. Even knowing you have a supportive friend, family member or significant other can be helpful, so be sure to keep them in the loop about your goals so they’re able to encourage you and hold you accountable.

Reward yourself
Surely, having a treat to look forward may inspire you to lace up those sneakers and hit the gym. These rewards can vary greatly, from small ones for short-term goals to larger ones for long-term goals.

For example, you might buy yourself a healthy smoothie from your favorite spot at the end of your Friday workouts, or you might treat yourself to a massage for every 16 workouts you complete. You might even opt for a ritual to look forward to during certain workouts — like listening to your favorite podcast or watching your favorite TV show when you’re on the treadmill.

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