As we wrap up the first full week of 2015, many exercise resolution-ers are either gaining steam or falling back into old habits. Here are my tips for the exercise resolution-ers to continue on strong.
1) Expect it to be tough. Getting into shape takes a while and, until you get there, exercises just flat out sucks. In my opinion, it takes 4 weeks of consistent exercise before it starts to feel a bit easier. This is the hardest part, push through it for a few more weeks and you will start to notice a difference.
2) Set a tangible goal. I don’t personally consider a scale-number or a clothing size to be a tangible goal. I think this would just be frustrating and there are different factors than can effect it. Set a fitness-related goal. For example, if you’re currently doing 30 minutes of run/walk intervals then maybe your goal would be to be able to run for 30 minutes straight by the end of February. Each week you can increase the amount of time you run and decrease the amount of time you walk. While working towards this goal, you will see actual progress which is pretty damn rewarding.
3) Make a plan. It’s hard to go into the gym and just blindly workout. Between blogs and Pinterest, it’s easy to find weekly workout routines. Make a schedule for the month so you know exactly what you will be doing each time you go to work out. Check out the fitness classes at your gym or rec center and put it on your calendar to consistently go. As a runner, cross-training can be a bit daunting to me. Planning what I am going to do for my cross-training before I head to the gym makes a huge difference in the success of my workout.
4) Find the time that works for you. I follow quite a few running & fitness blogs and something that always strikes me is when people set out a plan for themselves and then claim they didn’t have time to achieve it. If you find that after work you have too much to do, you’re too tired, or other things keep coming up that keep you from exercising, try exercising in the morning. I know, I know, you’re not a morning person. Believe me, there is a difference between getting up early and getting your workout in and getting up early to get to work early. Try it a few times.
5) Don’t try to do too much. It’s going to take more than 2 days a week of exercising to get anything done, but that doesn’t mean it has to take hours each session. 30 minutes of good weight training or cardio can make a huge difference and will keep you from getting burnt out. Again, Pinterest and blogs offer up a lot of routines that can be done in 30 minutes and will make a big difference.
6) Remember to rest. The above being said, don’t try to work out 7 days a week. Not only will this lead you to feel burnt out, your body needs time to recover. “Rest days” are not an excuse to lay around all day and eat like crap, they are just a time to let your body recover from the harder work you’ve done throughout the week.
7) If you fall off the horse, get back on. If you get a few good weeks of exercise in and then get sick or busy, you don’t have to wait until 2016 to recommit. Reevaluate what you had been doing decide what did and didn’t work. Adjust towards what worked for you. Maybe you never made that weekly step class you had planned on – then ditch it from the schedule. Maybe you found the elliptical gives you motion sickness (true story for me), find another cardio machine to try. And don’t be afraid to approach a trainer or attendant at your gym to ask how to properly use a machine, it can make a huge difference.
Keep it up and soon it will become a lifestyle, not a resolution!