Whether it is a new year’s resolution that tanked by February or an expensive gym membership that’s collecting dust, we’ve all fallen off the fitness wagon at least a few times in our lives. Days turn into weeks or months without exercising and before you know it, your fitness levels have slumped dramatically. Remember that routines, schedules, and stressors change and there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s important is learning from the past and moving forward with new and exciting fitness goals. Here are some tips for getting back on the fitness wagon right in time for the holiday season.
Create a Plan
Our top tip for getting back on the fitness wagon is to create a concrete and realistic plan for yourself. While it may be ideal to run every morning before work, for many people it’s just not practical. Know yourself and your boundaries and work around them. Experiment with exercising at different times during the day, but make sure to record everything. Try going for a brisk jog during your lunch break, or head to the gym straight after work. Don’t plan too far ahead or else you might find yourself disappointed and discouraged as plans inevitably change. Sticking to a weekly plan is the best option and will help a fitness routine become a seamless part of your lifestyle.
Mix it up
In order to stay excited and motivated to exercise regularly, it’s important to find a number of different exercises and fitness classes that you enjoy. Our bodies adapt to repetitive routines, which means they will burn fewer calories and work only specific sets of muscles over time. Adding a day of yoga, a spinning or boxing class, a few weightlifting sessions, or even dancing classes will help kick start your metabolism and also prevent placing stress on the same muscles and joints. This will also keep you interested and enjoying your workouts.
3. Be Prepared
Preparing for your workouts ahead of time will make them much easier to tackle the next day. Lay out your workout clothes the night before to encourage you to stick to a morning fitness routine. When you see your running shoes, sports bra, training top, and even your breakfast or pre-workout supplements all ready to go, you’ll feel excited to get your body moving. If you prefer to workout at the end of the day, bring your gym bag with you to work instead of going home first. That way you can head straight there without slumping on your couch and finding yourself unmotivated to get moving again.
Find a Friend
Having a workout buddy is an excellent way to keep you motivated, especially if you have similar fitness goals. You’ll also be less likely to cancel your workout sessions if you know someone is waiting for you at the gym. A workout partner helps pass the time during exercise, and they can motivate and encourage you along the way. Knowing that their car will be outside to pick you up in ten minutes gets you upstairs and into your gym gear in no time, keeping you both accountable for your workout plans.
Breaking your plan and exercise regime down into smaller pieces will make getting back on the fitness wagon more manageable. Set small and realistic goals to complete so that once you hit them, you will feel accomplished and ready to set higher goals. This will do wonders for your motivation as well as your self-esteem. For example, look for different landmarks to reach when running, or add a few more reps when lifting weights. The next thing you know, these little changes will add up to big and noticeable improvements.
Final Thoughts: Be Kind to Yourself
If your expectations are too high or your goals unrealistic, then achieving anything can become overwhelming and may result in lower self-esteem and an unmotivated attitude. If you end up skipping a session, eating fast food, or exercising less that you expected, remember that this happens to everyone and is no reason to completely abandon your entire fitness plan. The most important thing to remember when adapting to a new routine is to be kind to yourself and always move forward. Setting realistic, achievable goals that gradually grow overtime is a surefire way to get you – and keep you – back on the fitness wagon for good.
*This is a collaborative post