Remember when going to the gym was as effortless as getting out of bed in the morning? Nah, us neither, but there’s little doubt that the older you get, the tougher the whole thing is.
But while a recent fitness report found that overall health and wellness was the most common, tangible motivation for exercise (69 percent), 41 percent felt that not having enough time and a lack of motivation (40 percent) were the biggest barriers.
Oftentimes your dedication to a fitness routine is one of the first things to disappear due to things like injuries and adult responsibilities that creep into your life.
According to Michael Cunico, Head of Fitness at Fitness First, it can take between 21 and 66 days to turn a behaviour into a habit. And Since modern life presents enough obstacles to keep us from going to the gym, we asked Cunico for his fail-proof ways of getting those healthy habits back in motion. It’s time to get serious…
1. Start small
We see too many people adopt an all or nothing attitude with fitness, but the truth is that every bit counts
- Start with smaller 10 – 15 minute bursts per day (try an at home body circuit work out)
- Commit to one or two classes a week; I would suggest yoga or a cycle class
- Build up your commitment slowly. Build into three classes the following two weeks, then progress to adding in a run, and so forth.
2. Ask for help
The key to success often lies in sharing the pain, and working out alongside somebody can be a real motivator.
- You do not have to tackle this alone and sometimes having someone to navigate you through your fitness journey, is just the motivation you need.
- Ask an expert. Talk to your gym about trialling a PT session. PT’s are a great way to get yourself back into a routine and monitoring progress, therefore sustaining motivation
- Recruit a friend. If you have a friend that’s an avid gym goer and knows what they’re doing, ask to join them once a week. Pick up on what they’re doing and ask them to show you a few things
2. Make it fun
Nobody said this whole thing had to be boring.
- Try classes. If you’re visiting the gym try a Boxing or HIIT class. Buddy up. Rally your friends to join a sports team or recruit a friend that wants to get into their fitness too
- Keep it interesting. Mix up your routine so it’s interesting and no longer a chore. A work out doesn’t have to be in the gym – plan your work outs so you’re alternating between the gym, a walk outdoors and something different (like Zumba).
4. Focus on actions, not numbers
Instead of being fixated on a number, clothing size, or the exact number of calories to consume each day, make your goals action based.
- Set specific goals, such as drinking one glass of water with each meal or having a salad with dinner are tangible actions that will lead to a healthier, happier you
- Make a conscious effort to shift your eating habits. Plan ahead and prep your meals, so that you know when you’re heading to the fridge, you have something healthy and substantial. If you’re making a conscious effort to change your eating habits, the same principals apply to getting back on track
5. Rest and recover
It’s hard to stay motivated when you feel flat. The truth is your body needs a break each week to rest, replenish and build muscle, otherwise you run the risk of burning out and ditching your workout all together.
- Plan one or two days where you do a low intensity activity like walking, gardening, stretching or yoga
- Habit stack. Combine a current habit with a new one, for example, if you love watching a program on TV every night why not sit into a stretch while you are watching?
- Listen to your body and rest when you need it.
- Stretch. Stretching is critical to recovery and should always been prioritised after a workout. Stretching also improves flexibility (the range of motion of a joint or group of joints). As you would with any other form of body conditioning such as strength training to improve strength, stretching should be looked at as one of the components of fitness.