It’s summertime, which means temperatures are high and shorts are short. And, while this weather might inspire some to lay by the pool and sip cocktails, you want to start a fitness regimen. It’s certainly easy to start working out, but many people have trouble maintaining the gusto with which they start. Break the pattern with the following 5 easy steps. When the leaves start changing colors, your body will be changing, too.
Tips to stick to a fitness program:
1. Make a Schedule and Stick to It
You’re already busy. Weekdays might entail work meetings, camp carpool, grocery store runs and more. You’re sure to have a few hours of downtime after the daily rush, but don’t depend on it for your workouts. Instead, write it into your schedule. This will force you to hold yourself accountable, and you won’t be able to scratch it out or double-book when it’s locked in.
2. Start Slow
When starting a workout regimen, many people do so with a bit too much eagerness. They’ll show up to back-to-back workout classes, or hit the gym for two-a-days, or run every single day the first week. Although the energy is great, it’s not likely to last.
To ensure that your new fitness fix sticks, start out slow. Rather than running five miles on your first day, try doing intervals of walking and running for 30 minutes. You can gradually add intensity and time, but you won’t be able to on your first day.
3. Find a Buddy
It’s summer, so you want to be spending your free time with friends and family. Fortunately, your workout can become a group activity, too. Even better is the fact that a workout buddy will motivate you to stick to your schedule. If someone’s expecting you at the gym, you’ll go. And if someone’s cheering you on while you lift or sprint, you’ll go the extra mile to finish. Be sure to find someone with a similar fitness level so that you can grow and improve together.
4. Switch It Up
Another cause for burnout? Doing the same thing over, and over, and over again. Not only will you get bored, you’ll stop seeing results, and that’s not motivational in any way. Even something as simple as switching up the cardio machine that you use each day could make a world of difference. You could also try out different group fitness classes at your gym, or sign up for a few personal training sessions to learn new weight-lifting moves. You might even find a move or a workout that you like even better than what you did before.
5. Congratulate Yourself
Many new exercisers expect their bodies to change overnight. That’s simply not the case for the majority of people. In order to keep yourself motivated despite slow-moving results, don’t be afraid to give yourself a pat on the back every now and then. Celebrate small victories: perhaps you lost a pound or went up to a new weight on your shoulder exercise. A positive attitude goes a long way — it might just be enough to fire you through your workouts for months and years to come.