Committing To Exercise
Committing to an exercise routine is a challenging task for many. People often find exercise to be hard and not fun so finding the motivation to stick with it can be tough. While I personally think exercise is all that and a bag of fat free chips, even I still have a difficult time committing to a program and managing my time. Here are some of my tips and tricks for helping to make exercising easier for me and hopefully you.
Pick your clothes out the night before: When you see your clothes staring at you it is a subtle reminder that past you had great intentions and wanted you to exercise. Everything is out now. Toss them on or in your bag and head out the door in no time.
Pre pack your exercise bag: Toss your shoes and towel in your bag and leave it in the car or hang it by the door. When you have the right “tools” accomplishing the task is always possible. This eliminates the excuse of forgetting your items on the way out the door.
Prefill your water bottle: This one may seem simple but it goes a long way for me. I fill my water bottles while dinner is in the oven. I put them in the refrigerator and they are nice and cold waiting for me in the morning. For some reason saving that 60 seconds prior to leaving the house makes all the difference for me.
Strategic car travel: Going out to run errands? Pack your exercise gear for the journey and hit the gym before you go home. Or choose to go to a store that will intentionally take you right past the gym. If you are anything like me once you get home and take your shoes off it takes everything in the world to get them back on. Hit the gym while you are already out!
Find an exercise buddy: I don’t mind exercising alone but having someone to talk to makes it go so much faster. Having an exercise partner also holds you accountable because you want to be there to motivate them just as much as they want to be there to motivate you! Join the gym with a partner or ask around the gym community and see if anyone else is looking for a buddy.
Try out different forms of exercise: If you have only tried working out on your own and have a hard time sticking with it I highly recommend trying a group exercise class or working with a personal trainer to get a taste of something new to keep you engaged. As an instructor myself it is always fun for me to take a class from a colleague to shake me out of my ruts.
Build a schedule: Make time for yourself! Make exercise a priority in your life. It’s a special time for you to do something for yourself and should be respected. Every week or month look ahead at what scheduling conflicts may interfere with your exercise time and plan accordingly.
Set reminders: Leave reminders for you to remember what time your gym date, exercise class, or training session is. Be it on a Post it or a phone alarm don’t let yourself forget the gym is calling.
Motivational quotes: This one is easy too but boy does it help. Find a quote to be your reminder to work hard and to keep accomplishing your exercise goals. Because remember, “exercise is a journey, not a destination.” (did you see what I did there?)
Reward System: Let’s face it we’re all human. We aren’t going to keep to the schedule exactly as planned. When we stick to our tasks though our human brains love rewards! Find a simple way to reward yourself when you accomplish your exercise goals. Now I’m NOT saying eat a slice of chocolate cake after every workout, and don’t tell anybody that I said it was okay! For me I find a cd I love by one of my favorite artists, I buy it, but I only let myself listen to it when I workout. It takes self control but my brain so much enjoys the simple reward when I exercise.
It’s okay to take a day off!: Listen to your body. Somedays you just aren’t feeling it. When those days happen sit and think for a moment, if you went to the gym as planned and gave it your all would you make ANY improvement at all, even just 1% improvement? If the answer is an absolute no then it is time to take a day off. The slippery slope is letting that one day turn into multiple days. Take ONE day and reassess every day going forward.
Exercise can be difficult to stick with but we are all on this journey together! Share what your favorite tip or trick is to get you through the door. You may just help somebody else decide to visit their gym again!