Most of us have the ambitions to workout every day, but the reality is that most of us don't make that come true. Some of us may start off strong, and others never quite make it to the gym in the first place, but it can be useful to follow some tips that help you actually stick to your workout. Whether you just need that extra boost of motivation or need help fitting exercise into your schedule, it's important to know what factors are at play when it comes to sticking to a workout routine.
"The two top reasons why most people have a hard time sticking to workouts is intensity and habits," says celebrity trainer Jeremy Reid over email. "It's proven time and time again that once you have been very consistent with working out four to six times a week for at least two weeks, the 'effort' it takes to stay consistent is much less because now it's a routine in your life."
In addition to mustering up the motivation to consistently work out, Reid finds that people also get discouraged by workouts that are too difficult for them. "When people are starting out with a new fitness routine they often 'bite off more than they can chew' when it comes to effort," says Reid. "You can't be expected to go from couch-to-hardcore gym workouts overnight and NOT have it be a major struggle."
If you find your workout routine is more inconsistent than you would like, consider these six tips that can help you stick to your exercise consistently
1. Find A Motivator
"Find out what's motivating you now to achieve long term goals," says fitness expert James Kilgallon , CSCS over email. "It’s great to have to have long-term goals, but it’s even more important to recognize your intrinsic motivators or the immediate reward for doing exercise. The people who have the most success with sticking to workouts really find a love for exercise itself."
2. Associate It With A Daily Habits
"It’s really helpful to pay attention to consistent existing habits in our routine that can serve as a trigger to get us to workout," says Kilgallon. "This works because it’s hard to find a consistent time to exercise as our schedules are ever changing." Whether it's running right after you wake up or stretching after the shower, find a daily activity that can remind you to workout.
3. Find An Activity You Actually Enjoy
"You're much more likely to engage in any health activity if it's doing something you're interested in," says Reid. "Determine what you would like to do (kickboxing, boot camp, swimming, lifting weights, etc.), and schedule that in." Enjoying your workout can actually lead to better health results, including reducing the likeliness that you'll indulge in an unhealthy snack afterwards, according to a study from the journal Marketing Letters.
4. Work Out First Thing In The Morning
Getting exercise done first thing in the morning allows you to have a consistent schedule and decreases your chances of missing your workout. "The longer you wait in the day to workout the higher the chance something else will come up or you'll succumb to the stresses of the day and decide you're 'too tired' to workout," says Reid. "As an added bonus, you'll likely feel like working out in the AM will give you more energy in your day."
5. Find A Workout Partner
Whether it's a buddy who wants to get fit with you or a friend who already hits the gym regularly, it can be helpful to pair up with someone for increased motivation. "Having someone who you do these activities with adds that extra level of accountability that can really make the difference between going and talking yourself out of it," says Reid. Plus, it can seem like a fun social activity rather than a chore.
6. Put Some Money On It
Whether you put some money aside for something special or place a bet on yourself, attaching your workout to a monetary reward can have some powerful results. A study in the journal Econometrica found that paying people to go to the gym doubles their attendance, so find out a way to make exercising financially worth your while.
At the end of day, consistent exercise takes some work, so be able to put in the effort to make it a part of your everyday schedule.
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