Embarking on a new fitness program is always fun and rewarding. You see results, you feel positive, your overall health improves – but then it all comes to a screeching halt because something throws you off your game. Whether it’s a work of family issue, or your confidence has been zapped in some way, one of the toughest aspects of getting in shape is sticking to the regime when the initial excitement wears off and you’re not feeling so positive anymore.
Everybody skips a day from time to time, but a lot of people who skip that day go on to skip many more.
So what are some of the ways you can stay focussed and not let the outside world interfere with your exercise goals?
From my own experience, I have the most success when I can keep that initial excitement and positivity. There are of course many factors that prevent this from happening, but a key one is simply boredom.
If you’ve had a particularly stressful day and it’s time to start exercising, but you look at the same old treadmill, and the same old dumbbells, and the same old routine – you may simply be sick of the monotony. Part of the initial excitement stemmed from the fact that it was new, but at this point it’s old and boring.
Exercise does not have to be boring and repetitive!
Remember when you were a kid running around school with your hood over your head like Batman? That was exercise. Remember when you were a teenager and you spent hours riding around on bikes and skateboards? That was exercise as well. Remember when you were an adult running on a treadmill starring at the wall like a hamster in a cage? It may be exercise, but it sucks!
Ok so not everybody is going to wear a cape and go skateboarding through the high-street, but a varied exercise program is a great way to stay focussed. Here are some tips to spice things up a bit.
Music and Podcasts
If you’re not listening to an iPod while working out, you’re doing it wrong! From you favourite songs keeping you pumped, to a history lesson courtesy of Dan Carlin, entertaining yourself is one of the best ways to make a boring session fun.
Change the Scenery
If you exercise at home you’d be amazed how simply changing the room your in will revitalize your workout. Better yet, in the Summer go outside and do the workout in the garden. Not only is it simply more fun, but you’ll get some extra Vitamin D from the sun.
Try Different Exercises
If you only know how to jog or do dumbbell curls you’re going to get bored quickly. This doesn’t mean you have to pay a personal trainer, simply go on Youtube and find something different to do. If you revise your program every couple of weeks, it will never get dull.
Do Something COMPLETELY Different
One day a week do something that isn’t gym related. What about zumba or salsa dancing? Or why not try beginners kickboxing or jujitsu? When was the last time you went swimming, or hit a bike trail?
Get a Training Partner
It may not be practical to workout with friends every day, but if you can go to the gym with some buddies a few times a week or take part in a regular physical group activity, you can get fit and have a fun social experience.
Chart Your Success
You’re not going to feel accomplished unless you know how far you’ve come. Weigh yourself regularly, keep a note of how many reps you’ve done or how far you’ve ran, and take before and after pics.
Set Goals and Progress
The workout you did 5 months ago should not be the workout you do today. If you don’t increase the intensity of your workouts, your fitness will plateau. Depending on your physical abilities, every couple of months you should try adding extra weight, travelling further, doing more reps etc.