Starting any new fitness routine can be exciting at first. You’ve got yourself a new gym outfit, some new shoes, maybe some new supplements, a water bottle and you’re feeling like an Instagram sensation snapping all those new workout moves you’re doing! But around week 2 the posts about constant soreness, the energy you were gaining crashes and you are now exhausted, a little bored, and the newness has worn off. Time to actually put in some work.
For others, you may have lost weight, you’ve been in a really good routine for some time now, but you can’t remember the last time your body made some progress. Maybe you are in a plateau, over training, and you need to mix it up!
Here are some easy tips you keep the momentum going year-round…
- Establish your goals. These goals may be something along the lines of: committing to something and seeing it through, losing weight, gaining muscle, changing your strength, competing in a race of some sort, feeling and looking good for an event this year or a vacation, keeping up with your kids or grandkids, reversing disease-the list can go on and on. BUT knowing why you are doing this will make establishing a routine that much easier. It’s going to give you a direction for your workouts and give you purpose in working towards something. If you are just blindly going to gym each week you will lose your focus and feel lost. Choose a goal and then work around that goal. If your goal is for a race or to gain strength or muscle I would highly encourage asking a fitness professional to help give some routines and workouts to help you achieve this.
Bottom Line-ask yourself why you want to work out, once you have your reason design your workouts to help meet that goal.
- Realistically look at your schedule. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. When we first start a new fitness routine we are excited to change who we are and become this fitness obsessed junkie. We decide to become morning people when we have a hard time waking up and decide to hit the gym when it’s still dark outside. However, being realistic will get you results. If your goal is to become a morning workout person, start with 1 morning a week and establish that habit. Once you are consistently going once a week bring in another morning. If just working out in general is your goal, then choose realistic times that you can actually attend. If the gym is down the street from work, then maybe you choose two days a week you’ll go at lunch or after work. Keep a gym bag in the car, so there are no excuses to run home in between work and gym. Maybe you’re a mom and going straight to the gym after school drop off is more ideal than trying to work out before the kids wake up or after they’re asleep.
Bottom Line-Look at your schedule and choose 2 days a week you commit to going to the gym and write it in your schedule. Treat it like an appointment and don’t break it. Once you’ve established you can successfully make twice a week add in another day every two weeks.
- Pay attention to what you are eating. The good ole saying, “Calories In, Calories Out” will actually only take you so far. If you are brand new to working out and eating healthy your body will respond to any changes you make. This is where the simple calories in and calories out can apply. However, once you have been working out for a while, you have established your routine, and you find yourself eating healthier options you may need to really focus on the nutrition component. This is where the help of a professional may come in handy. Depending on what your established goal is, not only do we workout to meet that goal, but we also eat for our goal. If you are doing more cardio, say you are training for a triathlon or a half marathon, your food intake would be completely different than someone who’s goal is to gain muscle or lose weight. You must eat to fuel your body to support the activity it’s doing.
Bottom Line-Your nutrition must match your goal, intensity of workouts, and your activity level.
- Finding a personal trainer, a workout buddy, or attending group classes can be a great way to stick it out when the going gets tough and you want to quit. We all have those days when we feel like it isn’t working anymore, we are bored, and we are just “over it”. But by enlisting the help of a support person they will help you to see the progress and the changes you are making even when it’s hard to see it yourself.
Bottom line-Being accountable to someone outside of yourself can keep you committed to the process much longer until you’ve made it a lifestyle change.
- Give yourself wiggle room. You must give yourself grace when the plan we formulated doesn’t work out the way we expected it too. If you committed to 6 days a week at the gym and made it to 2 instead of 6, well hey 2 is better than 1! Next week make it to 3 because 3 is better than 2! Just because it’s not looking the way you put it down on paper doesn’t mean it’s never going to work! It just means it’s not working right now, today! Don’t give up, just adapt with what you CAN do RIGHT NOW.
Bottom Line-Accept that life happens. Do your best with what you have in the moment knowing that a moment is fleeting and there is always room for improvement.
- Listen to your body. Overtraining can lead to injuries, plateaus, exhaustion and illness. For those that are overzealous, addicted to exercise, training for a short-term goal, or trying to get in as many workouts as possible may not realize the negative effect this might have on the body. For example, one may not realize that training twice in one day can actually negate the first workout and they can cancel each other out. Not eating correctly to fuel your heavy workout regimen can also negate the extra workouts. Workouts are very taxing on the central nervous system and by not training correctly you can do more damage than good and not see the affects you are wanting.
Bottom Line-Sometimes less is more. Allowing your muscles, a full 24-48 hours in between workouts can help your muscles repair, replenish, restore which will then allow for the proper breakdown and rebuild, changing the muscle shape you want to achieve. This means giving whichever muscle group you just worked a 24-48-hour break. You can still workout every day just give your muscles a chance to regroup. If your goal is to build muscle, you may not want to do cardio in the same 24-hour period and the same is true if you want to lose weight.
Staying committed to the plan doesn’t need to be hard, but just know the same plan won’t work forever. Our bodies do adapt and step up to the challenge we put it through, so take careful consideration to change it up and treat your body like the awesome machine it is.
Happy workouts to you!