Just about everyone wants to exercise more. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds, feel better, or huff and puff less when you walk up stairs. We all want to do better.
You probably know what happens next. You sign up for a gym and get started. You work out religiously for a week or two, but it slows down after that. Pretty soon, you spend your workout times eating chips and streaming Netflix.
What can you do to make it stick this time? We’re here to help you out with that. Check out these hacks to help you stick to it.
1. Find A Goal
We all want to lose a few extra pounds or look better on the beach. For most of us, though, a goal like that isn’t enough to truly motivate. If it were, you would’ve stuck to it the last time you tried. In the fight between chips and abs, chips always win.
But a real goal can keep you motivated. What’s a real goal? Something that’s an achievement in real life. The goal needs to be big enough, important enough to motivate you.
Make it your own. If you love competition, sign up for a 5k and race your heart out. If you want an experience, try something like the color run. Not into events? Climb a mountain or plan a cycling vacation.
2. Make A Plan
An epic goal takes an epic plan. You won’t be able to go from zero to 5k in just a week. You’ll need a plan or else you might literally fall on your face.
Lucky for you, you live in an age where you can find a thousand great training plans for every kind of activity. You can find plans that will get you to the top of that mountain or through a week-long cycling tour.
Whatever you try, make sure it bumps up gradually so you don’t break. Few things suck as much as an injury when you’re just starting out.
3. Stick To A Routine
A routine is a way to make something an automatic part of your day. If you wake up at the same time and do the same things before you head off to work, it’ll be automatic. You’ll do it without even thinking about it. No prob.
That’s where a lot of fitness goals fail. They rely on willpower instead of habit. It takes a lot of work to keep your will strong when you have to decide whether to sit on the couch or go work out. Eventually, you’ll break.
But a routine is much harder to break. When your workout becomes automatic, you won’t have to use willpower to keep going. It’ll just happen. One day, you’ll do your first 5k. Then you’ll look up and cross the finish line of your first marathon, wondering where all the time went.
4. Start Slow
There are a lot of reasons a new workout program should start slowly, but we’ll stick to two. One’s for your mind and the other for your body.
First, your mind. Small changes are a lot easier to make than big ones. If you’ve spent the last few years creating a divot in the la-z-boy, it’ll be easier starting with just a couple short workouts. If you try too much, you could get discouraged.
The second reason is your body. Whenever you add a new kind of exercise to your routine, it takes a while for your body to get up to speed. If you do too much too fast, you’ll break- literally. Shin splints, tendonitis, or plantar fasciitis don’t make great workout partners.
5. Track Your Progress
If you’re going to train for something, you need to track how you’re doing. You could try the “I feel” method. I feel like I’m doing enough. I feel like I hit my workouts. I feel like I’ll be ready. But that’s not a great idea. A fitness tracker helps you track how much you train and how your body responds.
When you pair this kind of tracker with a plan, you can see exactly how well you’re doing. Pair your tracker with a heart rate monitor, and you can keep more accurate track on your calorie intake, too.
6. Do It With People
Just about everyone works better when we’re a part of a group, and fitness is no different. A group setting can help you stay on track for your goals.
The best way to do it is to go with a group the whole way. If you and a bunch of friends sign up for that ride together, you’ll be more likely to train together, and your friendship will motivate each other to keep going.
What if you can’t get your friends off their lazy butts? You can find a different group, too. Lots of races have groups that train together for the same race. If you find a club that offers group training, they’ll help you keep going. Best of all, you can make some new friends who want to do the same epic stuff.
7. Celebrate Small Victories
When you have a big goal, especially one that’s weeks or months away, don’t wait for the end to celebrate a victory. When you set out a plan, set a few points along the way to celebrate. You could choose a major milestone in training or track how many days in a row you do your scheduled workout.
A celebration can keep you motivated. It’s a way to acknowledge that you’ve made progress. Give yourself a little reward, and it’ll motivate you to keep going.
8. Do It Early
Morning is the best time to train, because you’re at the peak of your energy. Your mind and body are fresh, so it’ll be easier to physically get through a workout. You’ll also be more likely to get it done, period. It’s a lot harder to train when you get home from work after you’re tired when All you wanna do is destress and retox with some beer.
It’s ok if you can’t drag yourself out of bed in the morning. Lots of people do their workouts after work. When you’re tired, the couch is your biggest enemy. Go straight from work to the gym. When you go home, change immediately into your workout gear and get going.
9. Gamify Your Workout
Video games aren’t just for kids and geeks, since everyone has a gaming system in their pockets. Between Candy Crush and Fortnight, just about everyone loves playing games.
Games can help you train, too. There are tons of apps that can help turn training into a game. If you’re cycling, apps like Zwift let you compete against other cyclists. If you’re into the zombie apocalypse, Zombies, Run! Can get you running from the undead hordes. These games can make your workouts more fun, so you’ll stick to them.
10. Get More Sleep
Exhaustion is the enemy of fitness. When you get tired, it’s that much harder to motivate yourself to get your training done.
The answer: Get enough sleep. I know, seems silly to have to say it, but no one really does it. According to the CDC a third of Americans don’t get enough sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, everything suffers. You’ll struggle through workouts, feel lethargic, and there are lots of long-term effects, too.
When you train, you need more sleep, too. It’s a pretty simple idea. The harder you work, the more energy you expend, the more you need to sleep. So, listen to your body, and get enough sleep to stay healthy.
You Can Do It
Everyone wants to be more fit, but not everyone is willing to do what it takes to get there. These top 10 fitness hacks can help you get there, but the rest is up to you.Here’s the great part. There’s no trick to fitness. If you do the work, you’ll get the results. Keep it up, and you’ll meet your goals.