One of the main questions trainers and fitness gurus receive is, "How do I stay motivated to stick to my workouts?" While workout motivation will waver, making exercise stick can be a simple feat.
There are many tips and tricks circulating the internet that claim to help you stick to your workout, and here are the top five!
5 Sure Ways to Make Exercise Stick
Whether to lose weight, build muscle, or simply feel good, exercise leads to countless benefits. That is, if regularly completed! Ensure workout motivation and follow-through by:
1. Making a workout routine schedule
2. Abiding by the 5-minute rule
3. Laying out workout gear ahead of time
4. Practicing visualization
5. Allowing acceptance
Read on to find out how to make exercise stick in greater detail!
1. Make a Workout Routine Schedule
Planning a workout and training routine into a weekly and/or daily schedule inevitably helps to stick to and complete it. Scheduling a workout like a meeting or other obligation signifies it as a priority. The literal act of writing it down and seeing it as a planner helps it stay fresh in the plan.
Fitness accountability becomes even easier if you can schedule it with a friend or group! Knowing that someone else is counting on you will (hopefully) make it less likely to bail out on a workout last minute.
Various ways to schedule and shake-up weekly workouts may include:
• Weight training at least two days per week, ensuring to strength train every muscle group
• Weekly high-intensity workouts with a virtual social media group
• Meeting with a workout buddy once and two times a week (also makes a great spotter for a bench press and other weight training movements!)
Overall, scheduling solo or group workouts are a great way to hold yourself accountable and reach goals.
2. Abide by the 5-Minute Rule
Five minutes... Anyone can do something for five minutes! Especially if that something is exercising.
Simply commit to working out for five minutes and then check-in with the mind and body. There's a common saying amongst the running community that the first step is always the hardest and oftentimes, this rings true for more than running.
Plus, after five minutes, one might realize it does not feel as bad or tiring as the anxious mind imagined. In fact, you might (or probably will) realize exercise is relieving pent up stress thanks to the immediate endorphins released.
You will be hard-pressed to find someone who regrets a workout they completed. The benefits and results of consistent exercise reign very powerful!
3. Lay Out Workout Gear
Often overlooked, planning ahead and gathering exercise equipment, etc. increases the likelihood of following through with intentions. Similar to seeing workout planned in a calendar, visually seeing the workout gear leads to better follow through.
Planning ahead is key, and consider the following preparedness tips:
• Layout workout gear for the next morning on the dresser
• Packing after-work gym bag in the morning
• Wearing part of the workout gear to bed (for early morning sessions)
It is also always best to take the path of least resistance, so try and avoid situations that will decrease inhibitions or deter you from exercising. This includes the temptation of driving home after work before going to the gym. However, your body and health will thank you for sticking to the latter option!
4. Practice Visualization
Visualizing, when done correctly, is a powerful mind hack. According to Headspace, one of the leading meditation applications, visualization involves picturing the outcome of something before it happens in the mind
Visualization relies on imagination and can help ease anxiety and stress. The brain likes visual stimuli and, interestingly, cannot distinguish between visualization and something that is actually happening in real life. If only everyone knew achieving goals was literally this easy!
In terms of sticking to a workout, visualization can be helpful in many ways. Research shows visualization can lead to:
• Improved performance
• Increased focus
• Decreased levels of stress and anxiety
• Boosted immunity
• Decreased depression
• Alleviated pain
• Boosted confidence
Oh, and visualization can also simply help you stick to a workout! Visualizing increases the likelihood of the imagined visual becoming a reality. This may include visualizing driving to the gym after work, crossing the finish line of an upcoming race, or transforming your body from exercising consistently.
5. Allow Acceptance
It may seem counterintuitive, but accepting that you will not be motivated to exercise 100 percent of the time is paramount towards constantly sticking to a workout routine. Motivation will ebb and flow based on many factors including the seasons, moods and feelings, life stressors, and so much more.
Recognize this as perfectly normal. However, it is important not to allow one day or even a week of flailing motivation turn into multiple. Giving this permission with fluctuating motivation levels can reduce some of the shame and guilt often felt after skipping or missing a planned workout.
Rather than beating yourself up or numbing the negative feelings and allowing one missed workout to become 10, remember the lack of motivation shall too pass. Always remind yourself of short and long-term health and fitness goals and don’t expect being thrilled to workout every single day. Sometimes rest is needed and accepting this as a part of life will serve you well.