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Tuesday
Aug112015

7 Tips for Fitness Motivation

Maybe you're just getting started on your fitness expedition - or looking for some insight on how to kickstart a new level or renewed commitment?

In any health and fitness journey, there are a few key factors that contribute significantly to our success in the long run, but we may not know which practices they are right away.

Some of us start off impressively strong, (probably too strong) and fizzle out quickly due to lack of proper planning. Others start rather willy-nilly and never get enough of a spark to achieve the results they want to see.

Whatever boat you're in, see which of these points speak to you, and use their messages to spur your success!

Know your starting point.

To set an appropriate goal with specific, measurable objectives, it’s critical to know exactly what your starting measurements are. This could include your weight, body fat percentage, overall body composition and any physical activity that you are trying to improve upon (e.g. push-ups, bench-press, distance/speed for walks/runs, etc.).

Once you've established these initial metrics, confirm a SMART goal to ensure that your progress and results will be crystal clear!

Take notes!

In addition to writing down your initial starting objectives and goals, keep a fitness journal, or decide on your own personal style for tracking.

The work you put in each and every day (e.g. physical activity, movement, nutrition, and lifestyle factors) is what gets you from point A to point B and finally to that optimal outcome you’re striving for. If the process worked the same for everyone and didn’t entail trials and tribulations, everyone would be fit and in optimal shape!

That isn’t the case, however. What works for one person may not work for another. What may help you see results initially may not pay off after a month or so. To best monitor these trial and error processes as well as progress, taking notes is a must!

Not quite ready to track everything? Pick 3-5 things, and track your compliance for these specific habits and behaviors. For example, I keep compliance records of my daily supplement intake, how much water I consume, and whether I get my 5 servings of vegetables each day. Some research studies have found that the single best indicator for weight loss success was keeping a journal!

Schedule it!

How often have you told yourself or others, “I don’t have time to work out?” In that same breath, how guilty do you feel for saying it?

How is it that a full-time working woman with another part-time job on the side or night classes has time to get her workout in, but someone else doesn’t? How about the full-time dad of 4 kids with 3 different after-school activities and sporting events who still manages to get to the gym a few days during the week! Does he have more hours those days than we do?

We all have the same amount of hours as the next person, but the deciding factor for many of us is making fitness a priority and taking the initiative to schedule it into our days and weeks. You should know before you lay your head down at night what the next day’s workout is and when in your day you’re going to complete it. When we fail to do this, the likelihood of hitting 9 p.m. the next day without a workout/daily movement increases dramatically.

Find a fun event!  

Finding a fun event to train for infuses much more excitement and purpose into our fitness programs. You can think of an event such as a 5K, marathon or maybe even a tropical vacation!

It’s helpful to choose an event that is about three months away, as this allows enough time to progress in your training program at a moderate pace while still being close enough to help hold you accountable to your plan. This is the perfect time of year to look at a calendar of events near (or far!) and start planning what your summer and fall will entail. Then tailor your fitness program accordingly.

Grab a buddy.

We’ve all experienced a time when we haven’t held ourselves accountable. “It’s raining outside. I don’t really need to get in that two mile run.” “Happy hour after work? Count me in!” When there’s a partner involved, however, it’s oftentimes more difficult to cancel those fitness plans.

Ask your friends, spouses, family or significant others to exercise with you. Support from your family will make you more successful at reaching your goals, and in turn improve their lifestyles as well!

Grab a friend or co-worker to help keep you accountable for scheduled exercise. In the past, I’ve even recruited a friend to check in with me at the end of the day to ensure I completed my activity. This friend couldn’t necessarily work out with me, but she knew what expectations I had for myself, and she helped me stay true to my routine.

Don't underestimate the power of simple preparation!

Set yourself up for success by being prepared! Get your bag out the night before to avoid forgetting to pack crucial items AND to reap the benefits in the morning of not rushing around.

Workout after work? Change into your gym clothes before you leave your workplace to avoid the temptation of just driving home. You’ve come all this way by setting a goal, scheduling the workout time, and recruiting a partner. Don’t sabotage it now by not being prepared!

Another element to consider (and plan for) is the weather. Arrange ahead to have the appropriate gear, or tweak your plans and head to the gym.

Know your barriers!

If at first you don’t succeed...? Try, try again! We all have challenges and hiccups to overcome in our health and fitness journeys. If this isn’t your first rodeo, you may have experienced those same barriers in previous journeys as well.

Reflect prior to beginning this challenge, and continue to do so throughout your process. Know yourself and the factors you foresee as potential barriers to head off set-backs or even major roadblocks. If we’re mindful of our tendencies and limitations and brainstorm an action plan to overcome them, this journey will be more successful than the last. One step back this week doesn’t have to be the end of the path.

Are you looking for more tips and support to boost your fitness endeavors? Talk with one of our fitness professionals today. Thanks for reading.

In health, Becca Hurt, MS, RD, Program Manager of Life Time WeightLoss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

 

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