July 1, 2012
“Just Keep Going”: Five Tips to Help You Stick with Your Exercise Plan

If you're currently in the 20/20 program or have recently completed it here are five pointers to help keep the excuses away and to keep you motivated to keep working out on a consistent basis. If you're exercising 4-5 days regularly, then congratulate yourself!  Hopefully, some of these tips will just be a refresher for you:

1) Make it a priority on your daily schedule: Type it on your Outlook calendar, set an alarm on your phone to remind you, or do something that can remind you daily to get up and get to the gym or go somewhere and start moving.
Don't think of working out as just a recreation.  Instead, think of it as if your LIFE depends on it.  Well, not to that extent, but you get where I'm going.  It needs to be a necessity.  Many times, when your schedule is crunched due to work, family, or other life obligations, your workout is usually one of the first things that gets compromised.  If you keep telling yourself, "I will not skip my workout for this," you'll have better success of keeping it up in the long run.

2) Keep it fun: Don't go into your workout with the mindset of having it be another daily chore or an extra hour of work you have to put in. If you're about to put in 8+ hours in the office or you're coming in after a long day of work, would you be motivated every day to do this if you think it's a nuisance? Go into the workout with the right mindset.

Your workout doesn't have to consist of cardio on the treadmill and then weight machines afterwards. Doing the same routine over and over gets old really fast. There are so many other things you can do. Don't feel like getting on the elliptical? Try an indoor cycling or circuit training class.  Want something more fast-paced?  Join in on a pick-up basketball game or meet a friend for racquetball.  Or if you just want something with a more calming effect? Try a yoga class.  Take some time out of your day to just take care of yourself for a bit.  

3) Track your progress: Keep yourself motivated by recording your exercise sessions daily. When you're doing your cardio, be sure to wear your heart rate monitor and write down your average heart rates during your workouts. You'd be surprised to see how your heart rate reacts with exercise after several months of consistent workouts. Remember, like anything other muscle, your heart is a muscle too. The more cardio you do, the stronger your heart muscle becomes.

Tracking your weights during your strength training sessions also allows you to compare your results day-to-day and week-to-week.  By analyzing your workouts, you'll be able to see what currently works and what doesn't.  And when it doesn't, you tinker with that certain aspect of your workout to see if that will do the trick.     

Use your daily mealtracker online or on your phone to track your cardio and strength training sessions or write it down on a journal. Do whatever works for you as long as you're consistent.   

4) Don't overdo it: Burnout! Yes, I'm sure many of you have encountered this. Start off the beginning of the week as if you were shot out of a cannon only to fatigue yourself to the point where you don't want to come in for the rest of the week. Remember the old cliché, "Rome wasn't built in a day." If you're trying to lose 10, 20, or 30+ pounds, don't try to hit it out of the park that first week. Gradually work into it. Continue to keep yourself motivated to come back next week and the week after.  

5) Miss a workout? Get back in the next day!: Motivate yourself to get back into the gym the next day if you decide to skip a workout. Missed workouts can be like a tiny snowball at the top of a mountain that just keeps picking up more and more steam. By the time it gets to the bottom, it destroys everything. A missed workout is just the same. If you miss one, it's no big deal to miss another the next day...and another...and another. By the time you know it, you've missed a whole week, a whole month, and you beat yourself up because of it because you're out of shape.

Don't do that to yourself.  It's another day.  Get back to the gym and get it done.  You'll feel better about it in the end!

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