Are You In An Exercise Rut? Here Are Seven Tips to Get You Back In Your Groove
Setting healthy goals for yourself can sometimes be a challenge, but usually the hardest part is seeing them through. If you’re usually a consistent exerciser but have fallen out of your routine, here are a few tips to get you back in the swing of things.
Write down your “why”
This tip can be applied to any goal for which you’ve lost sight of. When something simply becomes part of your routine it’s easy to forget why you’re doing it in the first place - especially if you feel as though you aren’t seeing any results.
When asking yourself why, bring it as deep as possible. Here’s an example:
Let’s say your goal was to fit into a certain dress or suit for a special occasion. What else would have to happen through working out? You would have to lose weight. Why do you want to lose weight? To look a certain way. Why do you want to look a certain way? To be happy. Why do you want to be happy? Because happiness is good for my mental health.
Through this line of thinking, you’ve taken a surface-level goal and broken it down into something that has more deeper importance and is more likely to help you see your goals through the long-term.
This isn’t to say that wanting to fit into a certain article of clothing or look a certain way in the mirror is not important, is shallow, or is invalid - these are your goals, so if they’re important to you, then they’re important, end of story! However, fitting into an outfit for a special occasion is a temporary goal, whereas seeking a healthy mindset and happiness is something you can set your sights on for the long-term.
Try something new
Maybe you read that weightlifting is the end-all, be-all for exercising. Perhaps you heard that cardio is king (or queen!) and that’s that, end of story. But now, months have passed, and the sight of a barbell makes you want to barf, and the treadmill has become the dreadmill.
The truth is, any exercise is better than none. So even if you’re convinced that what you’re doing is the best, you are bound to grow tired of your routine at some point.
So if you’d rather die than deadlift, take a 20-minute ride on the stationary bike, or if the elliptical is giving you anxiety, try a few sets of the benchpress.
If group classes are usually your thing, try a new location or instructor - or a different class altogether. You may find a brand new favorite. Worst case scenario? If you try something new (and really give it a chance - not just one-and-done) and it’s awful, you’ll be that much more eager to return to your usual regimen, which will still put you right back into a healthy exercise routine.
Sign up ahead of time
If you are a fitness class person, register by phone or online as soon as you decide you want to go. This will make you much less likely to cancel at the last minute (in some cases, you may be penalized for cancelling too close to the start time - so this will really motivate you!).
Place your plan right in the middle of your schedule
Picture this: you have every intention of hitting the gym after work, but you decide to stop home first. You sit on the couch for five minutes to check Facebook (and Instagram, and Twitter, and LinkedIn…); two hours and one Netflix bingefest later, it’s time to make dinner, and all thoughts of the gym are far, distant memories.
Where did your plan go wrong? While you had the best intentions, you put yourself at a stop between work and the gym. Plan your workout for right after work by packing a gym bag and heading straight there from the office. It may help to change into your gym clothes before you get in your car - this way, you’ll be even less likely to skip your workout since you'll already be dressed.
Two’s a crowd, three’s company
If you are usually a solo exerciser, grab a buddy to take to your next group fitness class and get things moving. If weights or cardio is more your speed, your gym may offer a trial pass for you to bring a friend. Even if you are not next to each other or actually working out with one another, by planning to exercise with someone else, you are now not only making a commitment to yourself but to someone else! If you’re in close proximity to one another, you can motivate each other to push harder - or at least share a couple of laughs to get you through.
Try the 15 minute rule
Working out for an hour may sound incredibly daunting. If that’s the case, will yourself to show up for 15 minutes - that’s it, just 15 minutes, and then you can go back home! One of two things will happen: you will either push through your 15 minutes and leave (not likely), or you will find a bit more motivation during that time and stick it out for a full-length workout (much more likely!) - either way, you’ll have gotten in some movement, and have proven to yourself that maybe it’s not as bad as you had built it up to be in your mind.
When all else fails…just do it.
Sometimes, none of the above tricks will cut it, and you simply need to force yourself to go. Remember: it’s for your health, and your body will thank you.