Stick to Your 2013 Workout Plan
It’s a brand new year, and you tell yourself for the umpteenth time you’re going to get fit. Of course, you said that last year too. You probably had good intentions but by the time February rolled around you had settled back into your comfy but sedentary lifestyle on the couch. Sound familiar? Why not make this year different? Here are some tips for sticking with your New Year’s resolution to get fit.
Adjust Your Goals and Workout Plan
One reason most of us fail is because we set goals that are too lofty. If the most running you’ve done is jogging to the mailbox to get the newspaper, don’t try to run five miles your first week. You’ll end up sore and discouraged, and maybe even injured. Instead, set realistic goals. Start by walking 10 minutes a day for a week or two and gradually increase the length of your walks. Once you can walk for 30 minutes at a brisk pace, add intervals of jogging to build up your endurance.
Fitness is a process of gradual progression. It’s important to give your body time to adapt and become stronger. You’ll build up your confidence this way instead of becoming discouraged and disillusioned with the idea of working out.
Make Yourself Accountable
Don’t keep your fitness goals a secret. Let your friends and family know about your plans so they’ll give you support and encouragement. Even better, work with a personal trainer for a few months until exercise becomes a habit that’s firmly ingrained. A personal trainer can help you develop a plan and give you the motivation you need in the beginning. If you can’t afford a personal trainer, find an exercise partner, but make sure they’re motivated enough to give you encouragement and support on those days you just want to relax on the couch.
Another way to stay accountable is to keep a fitness journal. In your journal, write down your monthly goals along with your weight, resting heart rate and body fat percentage. When you exercise, write down what you did. If you strength-trained, include the number of reps and the weight you used. If you walked, ran, or cycled, document the number of minutes and how far you went. This keeps you accountable, motivated and helps you track your progress.
Be Flexible with Your Workout Plan
There will be days when things come up that keep you from doing a full workout. Your boss may ask you to work late or you have to go on a trip or attend an unexpected meeting. When this happens, some people quit altogether. Don’t let that happen to you. Get back on track as soon as you can. If you can’t do your usual hour for a few days, do 10 minutes instead. Research shows you can get health benefits from super-short workouts, especially if you increase the intensity. When you’re time strapped, take a brisk 10 minute walk if that’s all you can do.
Get Started Early
If you lead a busy life, morning may be the best time to work out before something happens that makes it hard to get it done. Set your alarm 30 minutes early and slip on your exercise shoes as soon as you get out of bed before you have time to hit the snooze alarm. An early morning workout will give you the “jump start” you need to get going and you’ll feel good knowing you got it done.
Add Variety to Your Fitness Routine
Don’t let boredom keep you from accomplishing your fitness goals. Change your workout every few weeks to add variety and challenge your body in new ways. Buy a few fitness DVDs or check them out from the library so you can try new routines. Your body will respond best if you challenge it in a variety of ways, and the mental challenge of doing something new is motivating. Don’t be afraid to try something different.
What do you do to make sure you stick to your fitness routine? Share your secrets with the community in the Comments section below.