Tips to Stick to Your Workout Plan

Sticking to a WorkoutThis is a great guest post from Mitch of Home Fitness Manual. Thanks Mitch!

Do you really have to plan your whole life around exercise?

For most people trying to get in shape centers around heading out to the gym and spending 1-2 hours at a time to get their “dream” body.

If you’re doing this everyday, it’s no wonder why exercise feels like a chore…because it’s treated just like one. The real secret to getting a fitter body is simply through Consistency.

The best way to stick to your workout plan is by making exercise a habit. To help you get started, I have five tips that I feel will get working out on a regular basis while not letting exercise consume your life.

1. Let Your Energy Guide You: This is easily one of the more practical tips I feel I’ve come across to help me stick to my daily routines. The premise is pretty simple – Only workout when you can be the most engaged with a routine.

If there’s a certain time of day when you regularly run out of steam, note that this is NOT when you’ll be wanting to pencil in some exercise time. Even if someone has the most hectic schedule ever, you don’t want to allow yourself to give into some couch and TV time instead of heading out for a run, or lifting some weights.

But what are you supposed to do if the most convenient part of your day is when you’re the most haggard?

I know the lure is there. But sometimes sacrifices (if you think of them as that) need to be made for the things you want. For a healthier and fitter body there’s almost certainly a trade off that needs to be made somewhere down the line. Typically, what this means is you’ll be scheduling a workout in place of something else that normally would vie for your attention. What you decide your workouts will take priority over is all up to you, though.

2. Know Your Goals: When we’re inspired to live and eat healthier no goal will ever seem out of reach. However, there is a very big difference between having long-term goals and short-term goals.

Losing 5-10 pounds in a month or two is doable. This usually falls in line with a long-term goal of having a leaner body. The good thing about this kind of time frame is it’s a realistic one.

Shedding body fat is a slow go most of the time. Luckily, there are ways to speed up the process with the right know-how. However, it’ll take time to drop down to a target weight without killing yourself by scrambling to make make it happen in a hurry.

Now, losing 5-10 pounds in a week or two, um, yeah…that’s not feasible, nor healthy. I feel losing body fat is a more important task than simple aiming to losing “weight”.

When the alarm clock goes off each morning our goals short-term and long-term should play off of each other. Getting stronger muscles means putting the body under a certain amount of tension in a certain way. Getting a leaner physique means eating cleaner and sweating more. But these changes happen over time. They can’t be squeezed into a single weekend with the hope of getting the results you want.

3. Be a “Little” Selfish: I know a lot of people will find this idea a little hard to grasp. Yet, it doesn’t have to be all one-sided. An example I want to share with you is a friend of mine purposefully schedules a workout on Saturday mornings. She already regularly works out during the week. However, she always feels rushed most of the time to get on with the rest of her day. So, one day she decided her family could do without her for at least a couple of hours on the weekend.

At first it was a rough transition. Her husband and kids grumbled when “Mom” headed off to the gym because they were stuck at home with nothing to do. They didn’t have school or work to distract them, and when “Mom” got back they whined about how bored they were the whole time.

But my friend stuck to her guns. And, eventually, her time away became a welcomed habit for all members of the household. Dad and sons started enjoying their “Guy” time, while Mom got the “Me” time she needed.

The goal of being a little selfish isn’t so much to say it’s all or nothing, but to make other’s realize you need your time just as much as they need theirs.

4. Keep Motivated: I like to think of Motivation like being a glass of water. You’ll find there are times when it’s full to the top, or sometimes when it’s almost down to the last drop.

If you find you need a little bit of help in keeping your glass full every now and then there are ways to help keep yourself motivated to exercise. My favorite method is using photos of who I recognize as great examples of what fit looks like (to me) on film or in magazines.

It’s natural to be inspired by the hard work someone else has put into their physique. So, if you want to look like such-and-such celebrity…go for it! Clip a picture of them and stick it on your fridge. Use it as a way to remind yourself what you’re after.

Understand, though, you’re using their image as a guide to help better yourself. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t come away with the exact shape and tone of their legs, or if your abs simply aren’t structured like theirs. You are you. Enjoy what you achieve because no one can ever take that away from you.

5. Share Your Goals With Others: Placing a bit of accountability on oneself is a great way to up the ante on your fitness future.

The first people who come to mind are probably going to be your family and co-workers. This is great if you have that kind of relationship with them. But, I actually feel it’s better to clue in your closest friends first. They’re usually the people who are the most supportive to all of your endeavors…and that’s what you need the most to keep moving strong.

When you’ve started to nail down a method that keeps your training consistent you’ll be less-likely to come across any “haters” who’ll say it’ll be too hard and you’ll never be able to do it. Once you’ve figured out how to keep with your routines it’ll feel great to say, “I already have…what about you?”

Lastly, I know there are certainly other ideas you can use to help make your workout routines happen like clockwork. But by applying these five tips you’ll build the right kind of understanding to keep yourself on track with the workouts you schedule.

What other ways do you use to stick to your workout plan?

About the Author:

Mitch Wright is a fit dad who’s goal is to inspire his daughters to live a healthy lifestyle. He runs the blog Home Fitness Manual, where he interviews†expert trainers and respected authors to prove you donít need a gym membership to get in great shape.

Comments

  1. says

    Thank you for allowing me to share on your blog, Jenn. I hope these tips are inspiring to anyone needing a bit help with keeping their workout plans alive and well.

    Mitch

  2. says

    Great tips for sticking with it! I’d add: ‘Take advantage of even a few minutes to do some sit-ups or even a walk around the block.’ So often we think if we can’t find an hour to workout we can’t do it. – katy

    • says

      Katy, I certainly encourage snagging every opportunity to get in some exercise. Every bit counts. I feel once you’re able to establish a certain level of fitness using this tip, shorter workouts are best to keep the gains that are achieved.

    • says

      Lena, being selfish feels a little weird at first, but it’s easy to do without feeling guilty in the process. While we love our family and friends, and cherish the moments we have with them, it’s important to make sure our health and well-being isn’t sacrificed in the process.

  3. says

    I get stuck at #1 all the time. Not being able to find a consistent time derails my workout goals, especially when daylight savings rolls around and it’s too dark in the am to go for a run/walk. I like #5, having cheerleaders is the best!

    • says

      Teresha, being focused and having the right energy at the start of a workout is more important than simply taking the time to exercise but seeing little results because we’re just going through the motions. And, yes, having cheerleaders is a crucial part of long-term success.

  4. says

    I work out regularly but have to admit I slack off during the winter season because I know once summer rolls around I will be swimming every day and I trim down so fast when I swim that I don’t worry about the extra ten I might gain during the winter. I must say though, I’m ready for summer. It seems so far away!

    • says

      Julie, I typically try to hit my target weight before summer lands. Usually 1-2 months out. This way, I can focus on maintaining and increasing muscle tone instead of aiming to drop down to a certain body fat percentage in a hurry. I’m with you on wishing summer was already here…it’s way more more fun than being huddled up under a coat and scarf.

  5. says

    Thx for sharing these tips. You have no idea how badly I needed to hear this. I have to admit I always have a hard time sticking to a fitness routine in the winter (I haven’t been to the gym in 3 weeks :(

    • says

      Paulin, I wouldn’t beat yourself up over not get back into the swing of things right away. Instead, I’d focus on how to get back to it. I hope these tips help you out with that.

  6. Jenna Wood says

    Hi Mitch, nice to have you on here. So many people are trying to get their resolutions kick started and I think these are all valid points to real expectations and a road to tangible progress!

  7. says

    It took me nearly 2 years to lose 110 pounds. It was slow but I worked hard for it and it makes me value it even more. I work even harder to keep it off!!!

    • says

      Lisa, that’s such an inspiring story, and congrats on your success. I agree with you completely…if the weight were easy to shed then the transformation wouldn’t have such a significant meaning.

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