How to start on a workout routine that sticks

Yeah, we're all about doing that hot girl sh*t like taking care of our health, drinking plenty of water and exercising. But how do hot girls actually juggle all this amidst their day to day buzz and bustle?

How do you keep up your dedication to the gym or a training routine when your schedule is overloaded with a million other things from work to household responsibilities to travel and other social engagements? Or how do you push yourself to start working out if it’s been years (or basically forever) since you last had a good self-imposed sweat?

Understanding the big picture of why physical activity is critical for your physical and mental well-being is a good place to start. Exercising is not just for weight loss. It improves our physical and mental well-being, improves our focus, regulates sleep cycles, and protects us from many conditions such as cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

Pretty impressive right?. But the truth is, you may have all this knowledge and still find yourself wanting to hit the snooze button when it comes to those early morning workouts — or your couch if you’re an afternoon exerciser. 

That’s why intentional, strategic habit changes, based on your personality, schedule, likes, and dislikes can make all the difference in whether or not you stick to your workout plans or get thrown off track.

Here are some top tips for finding a workout you’ll actually enjoy and sticking with it for the long haul.

 

1. Find a workout that you are good at or look forward to

“We know from motivation research that humans have a desire to be ‘good’ at something,” says Brandonn S. Harris, PhD, an associate professor and the program director of Sport and Exercise Psychology at Georgia Southern University School of Health and Kinesiology in Savannah and Statesboro. “So I’d encourage people to not only seek out things they find pleasurable and enjoyable, but also things that they’re confident doing or would like to become more proficient in.”

Just because all your friends love spinning or CrossFit doesn’t mean you do, too. Finding a workout you genuinely like will make you that much more likely to stick with it over time. Not every type of workout will suit you, and you will struggle trying to force yourself to sustain these exercise routine. 

Instead, focus on those areas that you are good at. Consider your personality too while exploring new activities. Do you like competition? Then working out with a friend who challenges you or taking a group fitness class may be helpful. Do you like immediately seeing the results of your efforts? Then workouts associated with an app that tracks your progress, like Strava for running and cycling, may be very motivating.

 

2. Design a workout schedule and put it on your calendar as you would for any other appointment

Once you have a workout (or even a few) that you want to try, give yourself a slow and steady break-in period. Don’t start off by trying to make radical changes. Schedule a few days a week and put it on your calendar like any other important appointment.

Start by drafting a workout schedule for a week and be detailed with it, mention the place and time where you are going to work out. This will give you a clear idea that you can work out for 40 minutes, 90 minutes, or 150 minutes. Take your exercise schedule like an appointment that you cannot miss.  

Once, you're ready, design your schedule weekly, then monthly, and voila!

 

3. Having a long-term goal is important, but so is setting mini-goals

Many people set huge outcome-oriented goals such as losing 10kg, getting six-pack abs, or running a marathon. While these can be motivating, they don’t tell you what you need to do to accomplish them. To stay motivated, ensure you don’t get bored, and keep progressing at a steady rate, you need to set smaller “process goals.”

Set some short-term goals that you have to complete in that day or week. Your goals should be realistic and achievable, and this is a key factor when it comes to sticking to your routine for the long-run. 

 

4. Always work out in the morning, get it out of the way

Some people find it easier to stick to their workout plans if they do it in the morning, getting it out of the way before an excuse comes up to skip it. By the end of the day, you’re often really tired, suddenly you have extra chores to do or random things have come up, and there’s always something else to do instead of exercise.

More benefits of a.m. exercise:

- Morning workouts have been shown to lower nighttime blood pressure and improve sleep quality, in a study published in December 2014 in the journal Vascular Health and Risk Management.

- People often feel more energised throughout the day after exercising. And that means an early-in-the-day workout could help you tackle your responsibilities (like work or chores) with greater ease, he adds.

 

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise. So if morning workouts feel like torture, try a few different times of day and see what works best for your body. The most important thing is to find a routine or schedule and a workout you can stick with.

I hope these tips help you start and stick with your workout routine! I highly recommend reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, it is so incredibly helpful and I highly recommend you read it, especially if you are serious about creating new habits and sticking to your new workout routine. 

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