Ever noticed how gym memberships spike after the holidays or just before summer kicks in? People realize they’ve overindulges and, often in panic mode, decide to get back in shape.

But within a matter of weeks, those three-times-a-week gym visits dwindle down to just one or two, and then the occasional stop off at the gym. Life takes over and, before long, people are declaring they never have the time to work out.

Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. So, why do we find it so hard to stick to our fitness goals and what exactly can we do it about it to make sure we set ourselves up for fitness success?

Working Out can be a challenge

Whether you’ve taken a short workout hiatus, or it’s been years, you’ve probably made the mistake most of us have – thinking you’re in better shape than you actually are. So, you jump right in and do too much too soon. You try to make up for lost time, or you think you can do the same intense workouts you could do 10 years ago.

The result? You’re sore, tired and demotivated.

The best thing to do is approach your workouts from where you are right now, not where you once were. To get back on track:
  • Start off easy, gradually building back up to avoid injury and allow your body to get strong again.
  • Modify your workouts if you’ve been off for a few weeks. Use less weight and do one set of each exercise as you gradually build back up.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re severely sore, you’ve overdone things. Sure, you’ll be stiff, but if you can’t brush your hair without being in agony, schedule a rest day or two before the next session.
Your workouts “suck”

There are so many reasons people just hate exercise, but part of overcoming that is about adjusting your attitude to fitness and finding activities you genuinely enjoy. Often, we turn to fitness to lose weight or build muscle without really thinking about what we like.

You don’t need to start running just because your neighbor lost a couple pounds last year running around the neighborhood. You don’t have to endure a spin class just because your sister thinks it’s the best thing since the days of old-fashioned step class.

Find what you like. For instance, if you know you get bored easily, try a bootcamp class or a fun Zumba session. Or, if you’re up for a challenge, try high-intensity interval training. If you’re worried about sticking to it, hire a trainer who can motivate you.

If structure isn’t really your thing, take up a sport to get fit, or if you’re more of a yappy yenta, try group running or walking clubs.

Your Fitness Schedule Doesn’t Fit Your Current Lifestyle

Exercise norms tell us that if we want to lose weight and get strong, we need to be working out pretty much most days of the week for around an hour or so. But, life’s busy. We often, quite genuinely, don’t have that kind if time to spare, let alone the energy.

So, you end up skipping your workouts, don’t you, rather than trying to fit something into the time you do have. But shorter workouts aren’t a waste of time.

The trick is to create a workout schedule that really does work for you.

Consider how many days you can realistically exercise. Every week may be different. Some weeks you might have more energy and time compared to others. So, set aside some time every week to schedule your workouts for the week ahead. Pick days where you’re almost completely sure you’ll fit in a workout.

Also consider how much time you have to exercise. Include preparation time, like getting your workout kit together and planning your sessions. Think about the pre-workout, you know, where you argue with yourself about actually getting dressed. Then consider the workout itself, the warm-up and cool down and the activities in between.

Finally, factor in your post-workout time where you congratulate yourself, hit the showers and carry on with your day.

In other words, figure out exactly how much time you have to fit your fitness goals into a day or week, rather than trying to create extra time out of nowhere for your workouts.

You really don’t need an hour a day to work out, the right exercises could take even 10 or 20 minutes. Learn what to do if you’re short on time, too, and work that into your busier weeks.

Fitness is all about improving your life. If you embrace it as a part of your life, you’re more likely to stick to it. And, once you start to feel great, are clear-minded and on the path to better health, there’s no doubt you’ll continue to strive to reach your fitness goals for years to come.


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