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We all WANT to workout, but it just seems that for many of us, life gets in the way. We get slammed at work and don’t have the energy to hit the gym when we get home. Or we get sucked into our favorite TV show and before we realize it, it is time for bed. So how do we overcome these so that we can be more committed to a workout routine? In this post, I will walk you through 10 tips to help your workout become a daily routine in your life.
8 Tips For Committing To A Workout Routine
1. Make It Fun
This is a no-brainer. No one wants to do something we dislike. So in order to want to workout, you have to take some time to figure out what it is that you enjoy doing. Do you enjoy riding your bike? There is a workout option. Maybe you enjoy dancing. If this is the case, then Zumba classes could be your workout.
Realize that this is going to be a trial and error routine. But to speed things up, simply list out the things you really enjoy doing and then figure out how they can translate into a new workout routine.
2. Accept Soreness
The aches and sore muscles that come with starting a new workout routine aren’t fun for most people. When many people experience this soreness, they wait for it to subside and then workout again in a few days only to have the soreness come back. They then give up the workout because of the constant soreness.
Understand that the soreness goes away if you make it a routine to workout. I have been working out for years and very rarely do I get sore any more. I only do when I really lift heavy once in a while.
The key is to stay active and stretch when you get sore. The more you keep moving and stretching, the less sore you will be. You can even try this out as proof. The next time you are sore, sit on the couch for a while and try to get up. You will be in pain from sore muscles. But go for a walk and you will find that the soreness almost completely goes away. So, keep moving!
3. Go Slow
With the point above about soreness, understand the difference between muscle soreness from not using your muscles and actual injuries. An easy way to tell the difference is to be active. When you move, normal muscle soreness will subside. But an actual injury will not go away.
To avoid injuries, you need to start off slow. Don’t fall for the trap that you think you can lift more weight or can run farther or faster. While you most likely can, you will regret it. Start slow and build up over time.
4. Be Patient
To further expand on the point above, you need to be patient as well. This goes for starting off light and building in weight and volume as time goes by. It also means that you need to be patient in terms of results. You aren’t going to get ripped overnight. In fact, unless you have really good genes or are extremely strict with your workouts and eating, a six pack is most likely out of the question.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t get in great shape (and maybe even get a two or four pack). Working out has tons of benefits. Your improved physical appearance is just one. So while you will see changes, you have to be patient and give it time.
Also, since you are looking at yourself in the mirror everyday (or in some cases, every few hours!) you won’t see small changes. For this reason it is a good idea to take a picture of yourself when you first start your workout routine as a “before” picture and then take additional pictures every week or two. You should also take some measurements – like around your waist, chest, thigh and bicep and compare these to new measurements every few weeks.
Be sure also to note how your clothes are fitting. I know for me, many times I see no change in the mirror, but my pants are looser and I have to tighten my belt a little more.
5. Be Prepared
Remember at the beginning of this post I was giving excuses as to why so many people don’t workout? Well, to overcome this, you have to be prepared. Just like in step #1 where I had you come up with a list of activities you enjoy, I need you to make a short list of the reasons why you don’t workout.
This includes a stressful day at work tired at the end of the day, no time, etc. Figure out the reasons (or excuses) you give to not workout and then find ways to overcome them.
Here are a few examples that I’ve seen work wonders:
- My wife would always come home from work exhausted. The last thing she wanted to do was her workout routine. She just wanted to go to sleep. So that is what she did. She started to go to sleep earlier and woke up earlier to workout. She loves doing this as it sets the tone for her day. She talks all of the time how much better her days are on the mornings she worksout first thing.
- For me, there was a park near my last job. I would pass it every day when I would leave. I started to pack some running clothes with me and change at the end of the day and go for a run. On days I didn’t feel like running, I still ran because my co-workers would see me bring in my running clothes and ask me if I was running that day. I lost close to 30 pounds in the year I was running a few miles a day.
Take the time to plan ahead so that you have the fewest amount of excuses to make for not working out.
6. Find A Friend
When we do this with other people, we are more likely to follow through on them. This is why you should get a friend to workout with you. Think about it – it is much easier to blow off a workout when you just have to convince yourself. But when someone else is relying on you, you don’t want to let them down.
Even if you can’t find someone to go to the gym with, find someone or better yet, some people to tell about your workouts and ask them to check in on you regularly. This works because while you are sitting on your couch considering skipping the workout, you might just get a text asking about how the workout was. This should be enough to push you through to actually exercising.
7. Find Events
Now let’s say you haven’t found any exercises that you really enjoy doing. What do you do then? You have two options:
- Go for walks
- Sign up for local events
- Play with your kids
Each of these work because they get you off the couch and moving. Sure you will never get super toned by only walking or volunteering at a charity event, but they will keep you up and moving. And while playing with your kids will keep you active, the greater benefit is the bonding you will be doing.
Being active is the key here. When the alternative is just sitting on the couch doing nothing (or stuffing your face with food) even a simple walk around the block is immeasurably better for you.
8. Just Go
At the end of the day, all you have to do is go. Just go to the gym or go to the workout class. The fact that you are there will motivate you to workout. For example, as a writer, there are days I don’t want to write – at all. I’ve found that if I just commit to writing for 5 minutes, I’ll feel good that I accomplished something. But I never write for just 5 minutes. I end up writing for hours.
The funny thing is, I know about this trick now because I’ve used it so many times. But I keep using it because I keep falling for it. In other words, it works. So the next time you don’t want to do your workout routine, just go to the gym and tell yourself that you will do a couple of exercises. You’ll soon find that you are doing your complete workout because once you get going, you don’t want to stop.
Additionally, take note to how you feel before and after the workout. For me, I can feel like crap before lifting weights. But lifting weights releases endorphins and I leave the gym feeling amazing. I carry this knowledge with me all of the time. Even when I feel bad, I know going to the gym will make me feel a million times better.
So there are 8 tips to help get you on track with a workout routine. I’ve used and still use many of these tips today. I do so because they work. So go back through the list and pick out a few to start with. The obvious ones are finding a workout routine you enjoy and finding a partner to keep you honest. From there, use the various tips to keep you going back and getting yourself into great shape.
[Photo Credit: Boemski]