Adhering to a workout routine is difficult. Let’s face it: It’s much easier to make fitness resolutions than it is to maintain them. We all start the year with the best of intentions, but we lose momentum, confidence, and motivation as the year progresses. What seemed so doable just a few days or weeks ago—going to the gym five days a week/running a half marathon/insert resolution here—can transform into something impossible. And, while it’s tempting to blame our lack of focus on life events, the greatest impediment to a realistic resolution may be the narrative that plays in our heads.
What if, however, this year was different? Exercise experts share the mental strategies to help clients stick to a workout routine and achieve their fitness goals when they’re overwhelmed, discouraged, or otherwise unmotivated.
Even if you follow the workout plan to the letter, you will not see the results you desire unless you supplement your gym work with a healthy, balanced diet. The obvious first step is to reduce fast food, takeaways, and alcohol consumption; after that, it’s all about providing your body with the nutrients it requires to stay healthy and support your training regimen.
Aim for a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. More is even better, but keep your daily fruit intake to two portions. Additionally, you should consume 30g of fiber daily, in part because it helps you feel full. Whenever possible, choose wholegrain carbs.
Create your fitness regimen
It’s simple to declare that you’re going to exercise every day. However, you will require a strategy. Bear the following points in mind as you design your fitness program:
Take into account your fitness objectives. Are you embarking on a fitness regimen to aid in weight loss? Or are you motivated by another factor, such as training for a marathon? Having measurable goals can assist you in tracking your progress and remaining motivated.
Establish a well-balanced routine. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that most healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, or a combination of the two. The guidelines recommend that you spread out this exercise over a week. Increased exercise will result in even greater health benefits.
However, even minor amounts of physical activity are beneficial. Being active for brief periods throughout the day can have a cumulative effect on one’s health.
At least twice a week, perform strength training exercises for all major muscle groups. Aim to complete one set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level that causes your muscles to tire after approximately 12 to 15 repetitions.
Begin slowly and build up. If you’re new to exercise, begin slowly and gradually increase your intensity. Consult your doctor or an exercise therapist for assistance in developing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength, and endurance if you have an injury or a medical condition.
Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Making time for exercise can be difficult. To simplify, schedule exercise time the same way you would any other appointment. Consider watching your favorite show while walking on the treadmill, reading while riding a stationary bike, or taking a walk during your lunch break.
Keep an eye on your progress.
Six weeks after you begin your program, and then every few months after that, retake your fitness assessment. You may notice that you need to increase your exercise time to maintain your progress. Alternatively, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that you are exercising just enough to achieve your fitness goals.
Suppose you find yourself lacking motivation, set new goals, or engage in a new activity. Exercising with a friend or enrolling in a fitness center class may also be beneficial.
Choosing to begin an exercise program is a significant decision. However, it does not have to be onerous. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can develop a lifelong healthy habit.