Tips for Staying Consistent with Exercise
I think we all know that having a regular exercise routine is essential for maintaining both our physical and mental health. Countless research studies have shown that participating in regular physical activity is one of the best the lifestyle choices you can make to live a happy and healthy life. Although it is tough to fit in the time to workout when you already have a millions things on your plate, it is definitely possible. I've helped some seriously busy professionals and parents implement a regular exercise routine with these simple, yet effective strategies. Try them out!
01 - FIND YOUR MOTIVATION
Finding your motivation to workout is absolutely essential in ensuring that you stick to your exercise routine. Most people can vaguely describe why they want to workout (to lose weight, to prevent heart disease, to look great in clothing), but rarely do people take the time to really dig deeper to discover why exercise is important to them. Take the time to find out what your specific motivation is for working out, write it down and reflect on it daily! Put a sign on your fridge, set reminders on your phone, keep a sticky note on your bathroom mirror. Make sure it is very specific and compelling enough to actually motivate you. Here are some examples of how to make a specific and compelling motivational statement about exercise.
Bad Example: I want to exercise regularly because it makes me feel good afterward.
Bad Example: I want to exercise regularly because I want to lose weight.
Good Example: When I take the time to exercise before work, I am more productive, less stressed, and feel inspired to eat healthier.
Good Example: Exercising on the weekends is one of the most important acts of self-love that I can do. I feel empowered, energized, confident and accomplished when I workout.
02 - EASE INTO IT
One of the biggest challenges for starting a fitness routine is all of the pressure we put on ourselves to perform at our best. It's great to challenge yourself, but I find that most people psych themselves out from even stepping foot in the gym because they feel like they aren't capable of doing a perfect workout and so it's not worth even going. The reality is that most people aren't good at things they don't do regularly. If you haven't worked out in a while, you can reasonably expect that you won't be great at it. Guess what, that's OK! Moving your body in any way, whether it's walking or doing a full blown cross fit workout has a positive impact on almost every system in our body. Have an open mind, start with something small, and work your way up to where you want to be one day at a time! Instead of committing to daily 60 minute treadmill runs at 6:00 am, try setting yourself up for success by making more realistic goals that are in line with where you are at right now. This helps avoid failures and boosts confidence to keep going.
03 - DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY
It is much easier to be consistent with working out if you find an exercise that you love to do. If you actually enjoy what you are doing, you will feel excited to workout instead of obligated.
Try an Exercise Class: These can be offered through your gym or through a separate small business studio, but there are a million different options out there. In large cities, Class Pass is a great option for exploring different classes in your area. Try something that piques your specific interest and keeps you motivated to come back.
Go Outside: Getting out and exploring your environment is a great way to stay motivated and decompress. Try riding your bike, hiking, or going for a walk and notice how calm you feel after - my favorite natural anti-anxiety cure is exercising outside.
Join a Team or Group: Many people grow up playing organized sports, but stop playing after high school. Joining an adult sports league (doesn't necessarily have to be sports, there are running groups, hiking groups, etc.) or taking lessons of your choice is a great way to stay consistent with your workouts, make friends, and have fun! Meetup is a great way to find local exercise and sports teams and groups.
04 - SCHEDULE IT
Be systematic and plan your workouts. Look at your calendar and see when ,where, and how much time you have to exercise on certain days. Put it on your calendar and block off that time! I plan all of my workouts on Sunday, put them on my calendar, and adjust whenever I need to throughout the week.
05 - PAY FOR IT
Invest in yourself! If getting healthy is a priority for you, spend some dollars to help get you there. If you are motivated by saving money or not wasting money, paying for some aspect of your exercise routine is a great way to stay consistent.
Pre-pay for your exercise classes in advance.
Buy yourself some new workout gear!
Buy yourself a new workout gadget, like a fitness tracker, heart rate monitor, and/or exercise machine or consider investing in an app like Peloton, Apple Fitness, Mossa or Les Mills.
Paying an expert is probably the best thing you can do to effectively and efficiently reach your fitness goals. Hire a trainer if you want hands-on help at the gym or try working with a nutritionist if you need help staying consistent with your workout of choice.
06 - DONT' DO IT ALONE
Accountability is one of the most effective ways to achieve your goals. Try these ways to implement accountability so can be more consistent with your workouts.
Workout with a friend or loved one.
Join an exercise or sports team or group.
Track your activity and be active with online exercise communities like Fit Bit or My Fitness Pal.
Work with a nutritionist or personal trainer.
07 - MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS
Nothing motivates a person more than seeing progress being made. Write down your accomplishments every month so you have evidence of all the great stuff you have done. I recommend noting outcomes and behaviors that you have accomplished, both big and small.
Outcome - I can now run 5 miles
Behavior - I schedule my workouts in advance every week
Outcome - I can make it through a spinning class without feeling like I'm going to die
Behavior - I'm waking up at 6:00 am 2 days a week to exercise
Small win - I figured out a workout that I enjoy
Big win - I completed my first 5K
ENGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY!
Tell us some of your favorite tips for making regular exercise more sustainable. Share your tips in the comments below. Show us your greatness by tagging @provisionnutrition or using our hashtag #provisionnutrition. We want to see how you are slaying your wellness!
All content of this blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this blog.
Kelly Sherman, MS, NC, CGP, CPT, is a licensed nutritionist specializing in empowering women to reclaim their health by cutting through misinformation and ditching the diet culture. She has a master’s degree in nutrition and is degreed in exercise science as well as a certified personal trainer. With over 20 years of experience in the field, she combines the best of both nutrition and exercise sciences to best help her clients reach their potential. To nourish is to flourish