All too often we set a fitness goal, and 2 weeks in “fall off the wagon.” Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us as life seems to get in the way and other “things” take priority. However, YOU should be your first priority! Your health and happiness determines the success of all parts of your life…exercise without a doubt will not only help you feel better about yourself, but the not so obvious side effects will be that you are a better partner, parent, friend, co-worker…the list goes on and on. With that in mind, here are the top 10 ways to stay accountable to your fitness!
1. Have a plan – Without a plan, especially if you are new to exercise, you will only feel lost. Try to choose a program to stick with that outlines what to do on a daily basis. Examples would be the 30 Days to 5K run program we offer free for runners, or an exercise program like Insanity Max 30. If you like to go to the gym, and enjoy group fitness classes, take a look at their calendar of classes offered and put together a plan for each week of classes you will attend.
2. Find a workout partner – Without a doubt, having an accountability partner will keep you on track! Chances are when one of you doesn’t feel like working out, the other will. Knowing someone is waiting for you to show up, knowing that you don’t want to disappoint someone, and knowing your partner is counting on you is sometimes all you need to get off your “toosh” and go workout! You and your partner can reward yourself AFTER your workout with a jaunt to your local coffee shop, or a healthy lunch!
3. Work out in the morning – Knowing you have completed your workout for the day is such a great feeling! If exercise is the first part of your day, the effects of the exercise will last through the entire day…such as feeling less stressed, the release of serotonin which helps maintain a steady mood, and knowing once you get off of work, you can go home and relax! All too often if we wait to workout in the evening, we will find any excuse not to. “I’m too tired”, or “Johnny has a school project I need to help him with”…you get the drift! This is why it’s important to have a plan and an accountability partner!
4. Schedule your workouts in your calendar – Everyone should schedule their workouts on their calendar and treat it like it’s an important work meeting or appointment that you cannot miss! Seeing your workout scheduled, knowing you have planned for it and have time for it, will help you schedule the rest of your weeks and months accordingly. If you will treat your workout this way, not only will you make exercise a definite part of your day, but your friends, family, and co-workers will know how important it is, and will not interrupt you during that block of time as well!
5. Use the “Just Get Started” Method – All too often we just don’t feel like working out. If you will just tell yourself that all you have to do is 5 – 10 minutes of exercise, this will do the trick! Usually after 5-10 minutes, your attitude has changed, you feel energized, the serotonin is releasing, and you’re ready to COMPLETE your entire workout!
6. Make it fun – Nobody wants to exercise and not have fun. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy! Whether it’s a Zumba or dance class, joining your local soccer or tennis league, or finding your zen with your local yoga studio…find something you ENJOY! Undoubtedly you will fail at your fitness endeavors if it’s not something you are looking forward to doing everyday.
7. Be patient & listen to your body – With any fitness goal, you must be patient. The worst thing you can do to your body and your long-term goal, is try to accomplish your goal over night! So many people get over-eager and want instant results, and these people are usually the ones that experience burn out and end up with an injury. Be patient, stick to your plan, and listen to your body. If you don’t feel well, and your body is asking you to rest, then REST!
8. Get enough sleep – Sleep is the number 1 factor in determining your success regarding your fitness. Sleep is when your body repairs it’s muscles, recovers from exercise, and makes improvements. Without the proper amount of sleep, your body will not recover adequately and you could actually do more harm than good to your body. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will not have the energy to get up and workout. Sleep is when the body repairs and recharges itself from the day before…it’s like hitting your computers reset button! I have often heard the phrase in the health and wellness world, “sleep like you’re getting paid for it!” This doesn’t mean sleep all day, but this does mean make it a priority and get enough sleep!
9. Set realistic goals – This hopefully is common sense to all of you. For example, if you are new to running, your goal should not be to come in first place in the next marathon your local city or town is having! Your goal should be to get comfortable with running, building up your mileage slowly and mindfully. Sure, a long-term goal may be to participate in your local marathon, but only after training adequately for a minimum of 6 months to a year, depending on what your fitness level was before you started running. Setting unrealistic goals will only lead to the feeling of disappointment and possibly giving up. You must set yourself up for SUCCESS!
10. Add variety to your workout routine – It is human nature to get bored easily and quickly. The best way to keep exercise fun and exciting is to not only find something you enjoy, but to mix it up! Suppose you enjoy running…why not try swimming one day or a pilates reformer class? Not only will this be exciting, but it will keep your body guessing and will provide quicker results and faster changes in your body. If you participate in the same form of exercise over and over, your body will become efficient at that exercise, and will not respond as quickly as you would like it to. If you keep the body guessing as to what muscles it will have to use to get you through a workout, it will always be in a state of confusion and surprise…which is a good thing! Additionally, the different forms of exercise will just help you get stronger in different ways for that fitness goal of yours!
We hope you find these 10 tips helpful and will put them into action! A healthier you, leads to a happier you! Make your health a priority!