By Jaimi Jansen
Starting a new workout routine can be exciting, but actually sticking to it is another story for many people.
As a trainer, here are a few tips I’ve found to make the journey into a new workout less painful:
Set personal goals:
Focus on the internal reasons why you wanted to start working out. Once you figure these out what your objective is. Where do you what to be? Depending on who you are your fitness goals will vary, your might be seeking flexibility or strength or simply weight loss. Once your have a goal in mind do some research on what are good and reasonable tips for your specific goal. This can be yoga for flexibility, weight training for strength or cardio training for weight loss. It is important to break up your goals into small ones that are easier to achieve, like daily goals. This helps you stay motivated as you will be achieving something everyday. You are more likely to stick to a routine once you acknowledge the personal reasons behind why you want to get fit versus external reasons. Write these goals down in a place you can see them, and even draw or choose pictures that represent accomplishing these goals so you have a clear purpose and can joyfully engage in your new workout routine with the end-state in sight.
Schedule your workouts:
Actually schedule your workouts in your calendar and keep them like you do all your other commitments. This is where your daily goals kick-in, some days may be dedicated on exercise while others may be rest days.
Resting is a big part of sticking to your routine, you must have some time off to keep up with any routine. Remember to think of the time you’ve scheduled for working as time for only that. Your meeting with your boss isn’t negotiable, and your workouts shouldn’t be either.
Ease into it:
It’s easy to want to dive into a new workout head first, but that can lead to burnout and even injuries. When starting a new workout routine remember that you body is not yet used to it and so you might not be able to perform at the level that you wish, which can be discouraging. Start by doing lower counts of whichever activity you are doing.
If you’re new to running for example, don’t try to run for two hours straight do it for 30 minutes and slowly make your way up. Overdoing it can also lead to injuries which puts a hold on your future workout plans. Remember to take it slow and to not be too hard on yourself if you can’t perform every exercise. Consulting a trainer and scheduling even as few as monthly sessions can help you to learn your limits while still pushing outside of your comfort zone.
Reward yourself with non-food treats:
Rewarding yourself is a good way to stay motivated. However it is very important that you don’t associate rewards with food, especially not sugar!! A good idea is to do something you enjoy at the end of every week, like meeting up with friends or buying yourself a new shirt.
Whichever works best for you. Sugary treats however, are a no no. Sugar has addictive properties linked to the dopamine release it triggers, it is in close proximity to areas associated with addiction in the brain. It may also lead to the desensitization of local dopamine receptors which can lead to craving higher quantities to achieve the same effect. Sugar is also associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome which increases the chances of cancer.
Working out with a friend helps keep you accountable, and studies show you are more likely to push yourself during a workout if you have a buddy. This also helps you stay motivated, since you are now also associating your workouts with friend time. It is also good to have someone there who is going through the same struggle as you, working as a team can be key to achieving your fitness goals by sticking to your routine. If you joined a class then you can choose a buddy from the class, or better yet commit to a new class with a friend.