It’s well documented that even small amounts of exercise can make a difference, as people are anxious to begin some type of workout or exercise routine. Often people will jump in and after a few weeks or months, get frustrated and find themselves back in their old routines. Exercise can often prove hard work, especially when other life considerations get in the way. Whether you’re a seasoned exercise veteran or someone that is just beginning to exercise, then finding the right motivation at the right time can be critical to your success.
The hard part will be to continue exercising. When you’re tired, stressed or busy, that is when you need to exercise the most. Besides being a great stress reliever, exercise can make you sleep better and clear your head for more productivity during the day. Learn a couple of my favorite motivators:
Make It Fun
Another way of assuring that you stay motivated is to make exercise fun. If you perceive your workout as a chore, you’re more than likely to not stick with it. Here are some techniques for making your workout something to look forward to.
1. Add variety: If your exercises are getting tedious and boring, change one of these factors:
Vary how often you do an exercise and the number of sets and reps you do.
Find an alternate exercise. For example, if you always do leg squats using a dumbells, try doing it with a resistance band. Change the order of the exercises you do for each muscle group and the muscle groups themselves.
2. Include friends and family: Training with a workout partner not only makes your training session more fun, safe and intense, but will also increase the likelihood of your turning up for your workouts. Make sure you pick a partner whose goals and interests are similar to yours and who is willing to spot you correctly and motivate you to do your best.
3. Fight discouragement: If once in a long while you skip a workout because you choose to go out with friends, just accept and enjoy your choice. Try not to feel guilty. Otherwise, the sense of failure can make it harder to get yourself back on track. Focus on how much progress you have made so far, not on how far you have to go.
4. Expect and prepare for plateaus: If you feel you have reached a plateau and/or are bored, don’t give up. This is a natural process of your exercise plan. Make sure to vary the exercises, sets, repetitions and order of your workout. Continually search for new ways of making your routine fun and exciting.
Avoid the “All or Nothing” Approach
Have you had plans to exercise five times one week and the first day something happened and you didn’t exercise? When this happens, many people give up on the rest of the week. This is known as the All or Nothing Mentality. Avoid this at all cost – it doesn’t work. If you approach your exercise and nutrition programme in that manner, you set yourself up for failure. Allow for flexibility in your exercise plans and know one missed day is not a setback.
In the interest of avoiding the all or nothing mentality, don’t try to implement all these secrets at once. Pick one or two and when you have those working, add another secret. Just like results from exercise, building motivation and consistency will take time. Fitness is not just about reaching a destination, it is a journey where you will learn much about yourself and grow from your experiences. Keep your short term goals in mind, and enjoy the journey to reaching your ultimate goals.
We’ve all experienced it at some point. You were regularly busting your guts and sweating off your make up exercising hard. Then, you simply got bored doing the same old thing, listening to the same old thudding tunes on your MP3 player and found watching the daily News on the TV more exciting. Perhaps you had a terrible bout of flu which kept you away from your exercise routine. Any progress made is long gone along with all your motivation. Now you’ll do anything to avoid exercise.
Even the most dedicated and avid exerciser sometimes flags. Waning motivation, cutting exercise sessions short and not having your old enthusiasm are all signs of a stale exercise regimen. What’s to be done? The more you procrastinate, the worse you feel, but the thought of being flabby and sagging is potentially too intimidating.
What you do to keep motivated is often just as important to you as why you began to exercise. The key is to remember that you need to find what works for you. You must find your own motivation, deep inside of yourself. There is no other source of motivation because if you aren’t willing to do the work, then nothing else will make you. Exercise motivation is unique to each person. Your motivation to do something is the reason why you want to do it. If you have motivation, you do something because you want to do it, and not because you have to do it.
“Those who do not make time for fitness, will have to make time for illness”
One way to stay motivated is to constantly remind yourself that a worth-while pay-off lies ahead; a new, healthy, strong you is emerging. Effective, consistent exercise will not only improve your overall health and fitness, but will also improve your appearance, energy level, and social interactions. Also, look forward to the many psychological benefits as well: confidence, self-esteem, and relief from depression, anxiety and stress.
If you are serious about your health and well-being, you will take action and stick with an exercise program, and you will benefit in all these ways. Once you see the results, you will become even more motivated. Action creates motivation!
Your first plan of action is to make exercise a habit again. It takes on average three weeks to develop a routine. While a three times a week workout of 20 minutes each is the prescribed minimum, you might find a light daily workout better for getting back into the habit. Start off exercising three or more times a week for 20 minutes or more, and work up to at least 30 minutes, four to six times a week. This can include several short bouts of activity in a day. Take a close look at your program and determine what’s causing your exercise stagnation. Then use my ideas on how to inject life back into your routine:
Set Goals for Motivation
Goal-setting is another great way of staying motivated. Goals focus your workout programme and clarify what you are trying to achieve. As you attain each goal, you gain encouragement and further motivation. Here is how to achieve the goals you set and obtain the results you deserve.
1. Make sure your goals are measurable: A vague goal, such as “I want to be fit,” gives you little to aim for. Decide when and what you are going to achieve, such as “I want to lose 2 percent of my body fat by the time I get married.”
2. Be realistic: Make sure your goals are attainable. If you set your expectations too high, you will get frustrated and will be more likely to quit. Make sure, however, that your goals are not too easy. They should be challenging. When you achieve a challenging goal, your pride and satisfaction will generate more motivation.
3. Set short-term goals as stepping stones to your “ultimate” (long-term) goals: If your long-term goal is to lose 10 kilos in one year, then set short-term weekly or monthly goals of the weight you to lose to achieve your long term goal. You should try to develop a plan. It is a lot easier to accomplish a goal one day or week at a time, such as losing 1 or 2 kilos a week, than it is to think that you need to decrease your weight by 10 kilos.
We all know the importance of mixing up our exercise routine in order to prevent reaching a plateau. But, have you ever considered adding yoga to your training? Yoga is a great cross-training exercise that will provide you with much more than flexibility.
Learn how yoga helped our guest blogger during her boot camp training:
Yoga and Boot Camp…Peaceful while kicking butt!
For the past six months I have been attending an early morning intense boot camp 3-4x a week. About 4 months ago, I started Yoga 1-2x a week. I am so glad I did this. Yoga has helped me become so much more aware of my body and improve my balance. Yes, we do stretches in boot camp, but Yoga has taken it to a whole different level for me. I have improved my posture, my stamina and peacefulness.
Strength training with weights can be an intimidating exercise. Machines and free weights are likely a foreign concept to many of us who have never worked with a personal trainer or taken any type of lifting course. I’ll never forget the first time I stepped into the gym with my strength training program printed out on a few sheets of paper. I know I looked like a total rookie, turning the paper around and around to make sure I understood the move I was about to execute with my measly 5 lb weights. But, everyone has to start somewhere, right?
Take some of the uncertainty out of strength training using the following advice from our guest bloggers!
Don’t Ignore the Group
Include strength training as a core part of your program, at least three times a week. Train your muscles in groups, upper body one day and lower body the next. This way the exercises for particular muscles will work and complement the other muscles in the same group.
Have a Plan
I would recommend incorporating a plan into any new fitness activity you try. It takes time to adjust to new activities and without a plan in place we are likely to abandon our efforts at the first sign of discomfort, embarrassment or uncertainty. Let’s face it… you wouldn’t wake up one day and decide to run a marathon. You would start training months in advance. So, why should it be any different with other forms of exercise?
Click here to check out a free strength training program from Active.com Trainer that will introduce you to the world of weight lifting. You’ll be hooked in no time!
About the Author: Dr. David Powers is known as a Cultural Architect. In this role he regularly conducts seminars and consults with both businesses and individuals on balancing the various aspects of life and making the pieces fit. Considered a human puzzlemaster, he has a penchant for deciphering how a client’s uniquities create a recipe for success. He has written over a dozen books and more than 500 articles for newspapers and magazines. His travels include almost a dozen countries in search of good coffee. While searching he has made it a goal to climb highpoints, especially the Seven Summits. Notable recent expeditions include Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa and Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia. He is a decorated veteran of both the Marine Corps and Army, and a founding member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Powers is a certified genius and member of the Mensa Society. He is married and the proud father of three feral boys that he and his wife homeschool. read more →
Since Thanksgiving I have had several opportunities to over-indulge. And unsurprisingly I’ve taken advantage to do just that at every single one. I gotta tell ya… I’m a little concerned about the accumulated impact of these events on my waistline. Today, our guest blogger has provided us with some good advice about how to avoid gaining the few extra pounds that comes with too much Holiday Cheer.
How to Avoid Suffering from too much Christmas Cheer!
The Holidays are a fun time, but it’s also the time to be smart about your food choices. There are lots of yummy foods and some are better for you than others.
1. Choose Healthy: Where possible, select the healthier alternatives such as fresh and colourful fruits and vegetables that are easy to prepare and suitable for a few meals over the week.
2. Prepare: A great tip is to make up bulk amounts of salads, chopped vegies and boiled eggs and store them in sealed containers in the fridge. They are a handy and simple meal or snack to grab on the run. They are also great for those ‘drop in’ friends and relatives we get over the holiday period.
3. Keep up the Fluids: It is also crucial to keep up your fluid intake, and I mean water not champagne or beer!
4. Christmas Alternatives: Christmas food is indulgent and rich so try reducing the quantities you are having and choose the reduced fat products such as yogurt instead of custard, turkey instead of pork and fruit instead of cheese platters.
5. Eat before an event: Snacking on something small and healthy before attending a Christmas event will prevent you fro over eating on the wrong foods such as fried and battered party offerings.
6. Exercise: Now is not the time to abandon your exercise routine so keep moving! You may need to vary your workouts but as long as you keep moving throughout the holiday period the weight gain should be minimal.
About the Author: A successful Personal Trainer & owner of Fit Fantastic, Ali is also a popular Group Fitness Instructor & an accomplished Consultant, Writer & Speaker on fitness/health topics within the community. As Rockwear Ambassador & ‘superstar’ for Australian Institute of Fitness Ali is spreading her energy across the country through mentoring upcoming fitness professionals and her appearances at schools, charity and community events! In her spare time she acts, appearing in the Australian Institute of Fitness National Ad campaign as well as Home & Away, Biggest Loser, The Circle, Great Gatsby & other productions. Ali is also tertiary trained as an HR Manager, having held such positions within NSW Government. Ali Cavill Owner/Personal Trainer – Fit Fantastic. Read Ali’s Blog: http://fitfantasticpt.wordpress.com Find Ali on Facebook: www.facebook.com/fitfantasticpt read more →
Maintaining your core strength throughout the Holiday season will help you in everyday life, as well as when you’re ready to bound back into your full fledged exercise routine. Exercising your core doesn’t have to mean hundreds of sit-ups every night. In fact, there’s a great core workout that you can perform in only 3 minutes!
Planks for Core Strength
I always recommend dead lifting and squats to strengthen core muscles. Of course, these workouts are best done with someone – either a training partner or personal trainer – to ensure that technique is strong. It is easy to get injured doing dead lifts or squats if the form is incorrect. But for someone working out at home or without a trainer who is looking to challenge
themselves while strengthening their core, I suggest planks.
To perform a plank start by lying on the your stomach and place your forearms directly under your chest with your hands below your face. Only your forearms and hands should be in contact with the ground not your upper arm. From here you are going to push up onto your toes and try to keep your body rigid and flat. Pretend there is a yard stick running from the back of your head to the back of your feet keeping you straight. The only parts of your body that will be in contact with the floor will be your toes, forearms and hands.
I suggest starting with three planks and holding each one for as long as you can go. Once you can hold three planks for two minutes each you can make the exercise harder by lifting one foot or one arm and holding. You can do planks daily but you should always get at least 24 hours of rest between sessions.
Those who have gotten over the initial motivational hump can appreciate what it means to prioritize yourself. Author, Gary Goldstein, reminds us that we are worth it! Prioritizing your exercise routine is imperative throughout the Holiday Season. It is easy to let fitness be the first activity you cut from your schedule, but don’t let it! Staying active throughout these busy weeks will help keep you healthy, energized and motivated!
Learn how to prioritize your exercise routine, even during the busiest of seasons.
Make Exercise A Priority, Not A Luxury!
Whether it is holiday time or not, exercise should always be included in your daily schedule.
Personally, I enjoy working out first thing in the morning for two reasons: I find it invigorating to start my day by challenging my body after a good night’s sleep. Once finished, I have the entire rest of the day to look forward to, knowing that I now have my workout “in my pocket,” and that I have already accomplished something positive for my body. At the same time, having already completed my physical workout before breakfast provides great mental and emotional well-being that lasts throughout the day too.
We all have busy schedules in this fast-paced world that we live in, but making time for exercise is critical if we want to maintain a proper balance in our lives.
We are all worth it, so catch the exercise bug today, and continue it throughout the holidays and beyond!
About the Author: Gary Goldstein was born on October 18, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from Long Island University in 1983, and is a selected member of Sigma Delta Chi, and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges. Before Gary’s conviction, he worked for both CBS News and Sports, and NBC Sports, as a researcher/producer, and has also worked at other media outlets and sports production companies in the Tri-State area as well. Since his release in 2004, Gary has also been employed in the construction industry, but is now retired from that line of work. Gary is single and has no children. He enjoys reading, writing, music, working out, spending time with family and friends, dating, and going to the beach. Gary still resides in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, and is currently working on his next book project, while also focusing on his motivational and inspirational speaking career. You may contact Gary at Gman18NYC@aol.com. read more →
There is this motivational gap that occurs between the time you decide to start your exercise routine and the point you start to love your exercise routine. Getting through those first few weeks / months of forcing yourself to the gym is imperative to making exercise one of your habits. So, really… anything you have to do to get yourself there, DO IT.
Our guest blogger suggests trying to incorporate things you love into your workout… until you love your workout. (I promise – you will love it one day!)
How to Love Your Workout
Thinking of exercise as work or a chore is a sure way to hate it, or at least try and avoid it. To get a steady, consistent exercise program off the ground, think of things you LIKE. Make a list of what you like to read, look at, listen to ,or wear, and include them in your routine. Download a new album from an artist you love before heading to the gym, or pick up your secret pleasure junk mag… combine the two.
Before you know it time will have passed and you will be eager to hit your program again the next day!
Every once in a while I do something crazy… like participate in a Floor Hockey Tournament when they’re short one female for the team. It so happens, that last Saturday I did just that. I cannot even express in words how much fun it was. FUN! If you ever need another chick to play floor hockey on your team, I’m your girl.
But, what I learned is that my exercise routine is extremely one dimensional. By our fifth game (which was the championship game, btw) I could make it all of a minute and a half before I was dead on my feet. I realized that it’s time to come up with a full body cardio workout. Kickboxing is one of the first exercises that came to mind. Here’s why:
Kickboxing is a great combination of cardiovascular and strength exercises. Because it utilizes both upper and lower body simultaneously, in expansive movements, it elevates the heart rate quickly and can keep it there. When kicking, it promotes participants’ balance training. Some classes include the use of punch and kick shields and/or heavy bags, which add a high-impact component and promotes muscle and bone growth.
Kickboxing is a high intensity sport, but can be modified to all levels. In order to prepare for a kickboxing class, make sure that you are warmed up very well. If you are new to a group class, arrive early to introduce yourself to the instructor and tell her or him that you are new so she or he may modify movements when necessary.
If you’re wondering how that championship game went… we lost by 1 goal, putting us in second place. Not bad for a bunch of 30-40 somethings!
How many times have you started a new workout routine? I can’t even tell you what a roller coaster ride exercise has been throughout the years, dropping in and out of action. So, how do you sustain a prolonged exercise routine?
Here are 3 tips to help you maintain momentum:
1. Show Up
Habits take time. When first starting out, you need to stick to your exercise routine. There aren’t too many circumstances in which you truly can’t workout. We are all busy. However, if something is important to us, we make time. Treat exercise in this way. Over time, you’ll start to crave the workout, and many times, look forward to it.
2. Schedule It
Whether it’s spent at the gym, in front of your TV, or in a group class, schedule in your time to exercise and keep it like a doctor’s appointment. Paying for a class or exercising with friends often motivates us to show up to these appointments. But, whatever you do – vow never to miss one.
3. Forgive Yourself
Missed a workout? It happens to the best of us. But, the best of us won’t dwell on it. Don’t worry about making it up. This will cause you worry and fatigue. Jump back into your routine on your next scheduled day of exercise and KEEP GOING. Missed a week of exercise? Big deal. Every day is a new day, a new chance to begin again. Use it.
Using these three tips will help you recover from set-backs faster. We all experience set backs. Don’t let them stop you from going the distance!
About the Author: Erica Lugbill is a 25 year old interior designer. Her Chicago design/build firm, Lugbill Designs, specializes in residential design, and kitchen & bath remodeling. Erica is an avid exerciser, generally working out 3-4x per week. 5 years ago, you would not find her working out. However, in the past few years, she has incorporated routine exercise into her life (and loves it!). read more →
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