In the modern world, it can be really tough to stay focused on your fitness.
Between your kids, the housework, your job, your relationship, family and friends, there never seems to be enough hours in the day, and devoting a little time to staying fit seems out of reach sometimes.
My hubby is a case in point. He works hard but he’s in a sedentary job and he has a chronic illness that requires exercise to keep in check. So he signed a 24-month contract at a 24-hour gym, thinking the huge cash outlay would keep him keen to keep going.
It didn’t. He had a single gym session, hobbled around the house like he’d been hit by a bus for days afterwards and never went back. He didn’t listen, but I have a few tips on how you can ignore all the reasons why you can’t and get your backside to the gym so it actually does you some good.
1) Get others to help keep you honest
It’s easy to cheat yourself in a game of solitaire, right? Who’s going to know? Enlist your friends before you start at the gym. Tell them what you’re doing. Write yourself a contract and sign it in front of them. Sure, you’re dobbing yourself in and declaring to the world that your body is not where you want it to be, but it might just help to keep you honest about your exercise.
Have you ever heard the saying that a problem shared is a problem halved? With that in mind, get a friend to be your workout partner. It’s harder to let yourself down and miss a workout when you’re letting someone else down, too.
2) Remember, exercise gives you energy
Especially when you’re starting out at the gym, it’s easy to decide that you’re just too pooped to pump.We all have sluggish days when all you want to do is to flop in front of the idiot box with a quiet cuppa, but don’t give in to temptation.
The University of Georgia in the United States found that people who rode an exercise bike at low intensity three times a week reported feeling more energetic than those who didn’t, and the pedal pushers were more likely to keep that peppy feeling on the same exercise regimen over six weeks. The moral of the story? Even a little bit of exercise can go a long way.
3. Only sweat the small stuff and the big picture will take care of itself
You’re more likely to fail if you focus solely on the trim, taut and terrific idea you have in your head. This is especially so if you’re just starting out, and you’re feeling flabby and out of shape. Forget about the little black dress, the perfect set of abs or that string bikini for now. You don’t need to have the image of the “ideal you” in your head while you’re still looking at the “old you” in the mirror.
Instead, try to set yourself some basic goals to achieve each day, or every few days, or every week. Things like increasing your number of reps on a weight machine, or an extra three minutes a week on your cardio.
There’s an old saying that the longest march always starts with a single step. Don’t worry about how far you are from your goal and, pretty soon, the results will start to show.
4. Write it down
Tell the world about your progress at the gym with a blog. Make up a chart that tracks your reps, your sets, your minutes of cardio, your running times and distances.
Keep careful tabs on what you’ve been doing and, eventually, you will start to see how far you’ve travelled down the road to fitness. The progress that you have recorded will be a great motivator and will show you you’re on the right track.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Sometimes, you just can’t avoid life getting in the way. You or one of your kids might be sick, you have a stack of work that needs to be done or you’re just too damn exhausted. Relax. It happens. Missing a day at the gym is not the end of the world. If you can get a spare moment, do a few exercises in the house. Take a quick walk. Just try to fit in some physical activity so that you can stay in the habit with an eye on getting back to the gym as soon as you can.
Above all else, enjoy yourself! Exercise lifts your vitality and make you fitter to pursue all the other things in your life. Make it fun, give yourself a little reward now and then when you achieve short-term goals. Share it all with a friend and you will love the new, improved you.