The reasons to establish an exercise program include everything from disease prevention and establishing a healthy weight to improved mental health and better sleep. Of course, exercise must become a routine, not a sporadic event, if you want to reap these benefits. Yet, whether it be boredom, lack of time, or lack of motivation, you likely find plenty of excuses not to stick with it, right? Let’s look at tips to keep you saying yes to your workout routine.
How To Keep Saying Yes To Exercise
1. There’s Power In Numbers
An interesting study showed that just receiving a small nudge from the outside via a phone call can boost the amount of long-term exercise you do by up to 78 percent.
What the above and many other studies are showing is that social support is a key element in making any lifestyle change, including an exercise program. Social support can be as big or small of a network as you need. Design your support system to meet your motivational needs, and start at home and work your way out. Here are some tips to build your social support:
• Explain your desire to your family and ask that their schedules and needs not conflict with your fitness goals and time allotment.
• Selectively choose a workout buddy.
• Get others (family, pets, coworkers, friends) involved.
• Join a fitness pal call group.
• Use fitness smartphone apps to connect you with others.
2. Involve All Your Senses
A study published in the New York Post found some interesting motivational factors for exercise, including just having cool looking gym clothes and shoes and listening to music. The takeaway here is that motivation best comes when you engage all your senses in the process:
• Match diet with exercise.
• Pick workout comfortable, flattering workout clothes.
• Listen to uplifting music.
• Use energizing essential oils.
• Prepare the night before so you’ll see your workout gear waiting for you.
3. Avoid Burnout
Exercise burnout often happens when you expect too much too soon and get frustrated, disenchanted, or even injured by those unrealistic expectations. These are some key ingredients to help you avoid burnout:
• Allow for active recovery days after strength training and during the first three months of starting any new exercise routine.
• Mix up high, medium, and low-intensity workout intervals.
• Use your body as a guide for your challenges; when something becomes easy, step it up to become a little more difficult.
• Mix in new types of exercises (yoga, CrossFit, running, aerobics, etc) to prevent stagnation.
• Set a series of short-term goals that lead up to your long-term fitness goal, and reassess at the end of each quarter.
4. Track Your Progress… Just Not With A Scale
One of the worst mistakes you can make is weighing daily. Listen to your body and focus on how you feel. Why?
Aside from the fact that salt, hydration, constipation, and a number of other factors can cause several pounds of weight fluctuation by the hour, exercise changes your body’s composition by reducing fat and increasing muscle. Did you know muscle actually weighs more than fat?
How should you track your progress?
• Journal or app-track your diet, activities, and physical changes you see and feel.
• Document measurements of your entire body every three months.
• Use a caliper to track your body fat percentage every three months.
• Take photos once a month so you can see the transformations.
5. Offer Yourself A Reward System
The all or nothing approach is one of the main reasons that exercise becomes a sporadic event verses a lifestyle change. Setting up a reward system to correlate with your short-term and long-term exercise goals is a way to practice moderation, motivate your efforts, and incentivize your lifestyle change. When you meet a short-term goal, buy something to encourage your fitness – a new workout outfit or healthy cookbook. When you meet a long-term goal, splurge for a bigger, non-related treat you’ve been craving – food item or spa day.
Saying Yes Is Half The Battle
If it’s worth having, then it usually takes effort. These tips won’t magically take the work out of exercise. However, they will help you set yourself up for long-term success by making it easier to say yes to exercise on a daily basis, and just saying yes is half the battle already won.