I’ve been working out for over 20 years now. And although a lot has changed in the type, frequency or duration of my exercise routine, one thing has remained the same, and that is I’ve been consistent throughout those years. Other than just after giving birth, I cannot recall a week where I have not done some form of physical activity at least 3 times.
Although I’ve written a similar blog post about this topic in the past, I felt it needed an update as I would like to do anything in my power to help you workout more regularly. I truly believe working out doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming or expensive. The positive effect it has on your physical and emotional well being is so profound, I am back again with my top tips to sticking to a workout routine.
The aim of the tips is to help you have a long-term view and establishing a ritual of exercise. Willpower plays its part at the start, but with time it’s effect dwindles, while a ritual can last a lifetime.
My 10 Tips:
Be clear on your motivation
Why do you want to workout? When you have a clear reason, sticking to it becomes so much easier.
When setting your goals and your workouts, a long-term goal of having health and vitality as you age is more important than looking a certain way. Many people can be thin, but not fit or healthy. Exercise can mean a healthier weight, but also better sleep, better skin, lower risk of disease, better immunity…more positive outlook on life…I can go on and on but you get the point.
Find something you love
If everyone around you is into boxing or running, it doesn’t mean you have to, no matter how many calories they burn in an hour! If you don’t love it, what are the chances that you will stick to it? Zero.
Experiment with different styles of exercise, times of day, workout duration until you find the one that suits you the most, and that way you are more likely to create a long-term habit.
Avoid boredom & change it up
I’ve been working out at home for years, but whenever I get bored I would either join a new online workout website, or get a trainer to come in for a few weeks. These days I’ve been going to pilates, while at the beginning of the year I was doing yoga with a personal instructor.
Take advantage of the seasons and change up your workouts accordingly. In the summer I’m more likely to workout in doors as it gets way too hot in Kuwait. In the colder months I will go on long walks every day, sometimes even more than once.
Don’t aim too high (or too low)
Don’t compare yourself to an athlete, but also don’t think you’re better than your lazy best-friend either. Be realistic about your health and fitness goals. Start slow and build momentum.
Less time, more often – think long term
Studies have shown burst training or HIIT is very effective, and you only need 20 minutes if not less to see results.
If you are more likely to stick to a workout if it’s short, then why not? it may not seem like a lot when you look at it in the short-term, but in the long-term and compared to doing nothing, it’s a big deal.
Set a measurable goal but focus on what is in your control
The first rule of goal setting is to make sure your goals are measurable with a time frame to achieve the goal. However, we’ve all been there, done everything right the whole week, but the scale won’t change, or worse you put on a kilo! And we feel like giving up…
Weight or inches lost are easy to measure, but they are not in your control. What you can control is how often you workout in a week or how many steps you take a day (and how much or what you eat). Focus on that, pat yourself on the back for sticking with your workout routine, with time your weight goals will be achieved. Just don’t give up!
Disassociate diet and exercise
Most times diets require calorie restriction, which can reduce your energy level, and make exercise more difficult.
When diets fail (and most often they do), exercise stops as it was associated with the diet, which makes a person feel even worse.
Focus instead on how it feels to move your body rather than on the calorie-burning effect of exercise, and you are more likely to stay with it long-term.
Although exercise has become a normal part of my every day life, I still need to find ways to make it more enjoyable and make the time go faster. It might be listening to an audio book while you walk, energizing music while you run, or watching your favorite YouTube channels while you do a circuit workout at home…find what it is that will encourage you to move.
Sometimes you won’t need it at all, and all you want is quiet and to be by yourself. Other times you need the stimulation or a friend to join you. Be in tune with your needs and don’t let boredom be an excuse for inactivity.
Workout in the morning
If I don’t workout in the early hours, the chances of me getting in a workout that day becomes highly unlikely. In the morning you usually have more energy, and if left until later your energy levels dwindle and it’s more likely something will come up that will steal away your workout time.
Waking up earlier than usual can help you get in a workout if you don’t have time, and read this post for tips on waking up earlier. And keep in mind that it’s easier to roll out of bed in the morning if you’ve applied tips 1 & 2.
Accept sometimes you won’t feel like it
There are times when working out is the last thing you want to do. If you are tired, haven’t slept well or even feeling sick, listen to your body and rest.
However if you find you just being lazy for no reason, refer to your why and just do anything!!
No one works out and then regrets it..but the opposite is true. And think of all the people who for health conditions can’t exercise…but wish they could. Please don’t take the fact that you can for granted.
The more you apply the tips above the easier it will be to just do it, instead of just forget it!
I’ve listed below my favorite workout tools and clothing. Check them out and share your favorites too, as well as any tips you have, in the comments below.