Have you ever started a fitness program and then quit? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Many people start fitness programmes but stop when they get bored or results come too slowly, especially in the New Year.
Motivation often goes as quickly as it comes and your plan to work out five times a week may slowly lessen until you are back to your no-exercise routine. But do not fear, we’ve compiled a list of proven tips to keep you motivated and, in turn, keep you fit.
1. Rise to the occasion
Literally. Get up an hour earlier three days a week and workout first thing in the morning, before work. If you plan to go after work, it’s a lot easier to tell yourself you had an especially exhausting day and throw in the towel.
2. Exercise when you don’t feel like it
There is a great phrase that says ‘No one ever regretted a workout.’ This is so true, after a workout you will always on a huge high. You will never ever wish you hadn’t done it so remember that when you are making excuses not to go.
3. Have a lazy day back up plan
Invest in the basics for a quick at-home workout: an exercise mat and two 5-pound free weights. That way, when you really don’t feel like making the trip to the gym, you’ll have the resources to spend 30 minutes flexing your muscles at home. Even if you do fewer crunches, lunges, and bicep curls at home, it’s better than skipping out on your workout altogether.
4. Buy new training gear
Whether it’s a pair of leggings, a bright new pair of trainers, or just a vest top, wearing flattering, stylish training kit really inspires you to work out. It makes sense – if you associate training with ugly old grey trackie bottoms and a scruffy old t-shirt, you are never going to associate it with anything positive. However if you like your training kit as much as the rest of the clothes in your wardrobe you will want to go out and show it off. Plus when you see yourself in those gym mirrors, it’s inspiring to like what you see.
5. Set a goal
It’s an old one but one that really works. If you’ve signed up for a 5k run for example, then there’s no turning back. You will have to train else you’ll be left on the start line. Even better, sign up with some friends – not only can you all go training together, but it will be harder for you to drop out.
6. Think fun and variety
By nature, humans need change and variety to stay motivated. We also need to have fun — even while we’re working hard. When it comes to fitness, do both! Whether it’s a toning and sculpting class that changes choreography every week or a trail run that changes scenery every season, design your exercise routine around a variety of exercise methods. Make sure you include activities you truly enjoy and look forward to doing. Think movement that’s more like recreation and makes you forget you’re working out — like dancing, hula hooping or playing sports with family and friends.
7. Keep a log
Hang up a calendar in an obvious spot that is devoted solely to tracking your fitness progress.. Every day you don’t work out, mark it with a giant red “X.” If you skip two or three days in a row you’ll be faced with all of those giant “X”s–a visual reminder that it’s time to get your butt in gear.
8. Bribe yourself
It’s always easier to get through something you don’t want to do when you have something to look forward to after. On weekends, plan something fun post-workout. Tell yourself you’ll stop for a pedicure on the way home from the gym, or plan a girls’ night out for that evening. That way, the gym will be just a stop on the way to something else you’re actually looking forward to.
9. Buddy up
You’ve no doubt heard it before: Having a friend to work out makes you more apt to stick to your fitness plan. So do it. And for extra motivation, make a pact: Each one of you sets up an “I’m lazy” jar. Then, whenever someone bails, they have to put £3 in the jar. When their jar gets up to £12 (four missed workouts), they have to buy you a gift with the dough. And vice versa.
10. Keep your iPod fresh
There’s nothing worse than going through an hour-long workout in silence. Except maybe suffering through bad music that the gym blasts over their speakers. Or the same old music that you’ve had on rotation on your iPod for weeks. So create a high-energy playlist of stuff you like on your iPod–and remember to change it up every week to stay motivated.
Staying fit and healthy has endless benefits – that should be motivation enough but sadly it isn’t (not when Netflix exists). So, just follow these tips to keep at it, reap the benefits and feel good about yourselves! You can do it. For more tips on staying motivated we recommend 50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew: The Best Quick and Easy Ways to Increase Motivation, Lose Weight, Get In Shape, and Stay Healthy, click here to buy it.