You tend to get demotivated when things don’t go as intended because of unexpected life circumstances. Then you find excuses to skip a workout or abandon your current program because you get impatient with seeing the results. You get quickly tired, bored, and burnt out. You should change your approach this year by having a more constructive attitude in choosing, performing, and maintaining your workouts. Then you can always look forward to doing your squats and planks daily. Remember that you can always get something from every move and step. Focus on strategies to maintain your motivation for exercise while you continue to challenge your fitness level. Develop workout habits that are sustainable for your age and lifestyle. Start moving today, and your future self will thank you for all the RESULTS:
- a healthy body for a more robust immune system,
- fit body for improved self-confidence,
- good body composition for a faster metabolism,
- great energy for productivity,
- good mood for better relationships,
- balanced hormones for effective stress regulation.
Here’s a complete guide to getting the most of your workouts so you can START the year STRONG and continue to love exercise for life:
Identify your exercise goals/s
Establish your goals before choosing the best workout to answer your current needs.
- Weight/fat loss – full-body cardio and strength workouts with lower body moves to bring your heart rate up (more calorie burn), such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training, boxing, cardio workouts with light to moderate weights, and moderate to high-intensity sports (combined with strength training sessions during the week) such as; running, cycling, tennis, and swimming
- Total body sculpting/shaping – workouts using compound movements that can target all the body parts with moderate to high repetitions (10 or more) of total body strength workouts using light to moderate weights
- Muscle building – strength training with heavier weights that you can complete with several steps of 10 repetitions or less and with more rest periods
- Injury management and prevention – workouts that can strengthen your core (low back, abs, obliques, buttocks, and inner thighs), such as Pilates, yoga, and full-body strength training
- Stress management and overall health improvement – mind-body exercises, fun music-based cardio and strength classes, brisk walking, or your preferred sports
Know your personality.
Match your personality with workouts that stimulate your motivation and happiness while moving.
- Are you a solo or social exerciser, or a mix of both? Do you prefer to use speaker or gallery view when you join live Zoom workout sessions? Do you like to exercise with a personal trainer or a small or big group of participants in an instructor-led class?
- Do you prefer a calm or an intense coach? Think of a type of fitness instructor who can make you feel happy while moving and sweating.
- What types of workouts are compatible with your personality? If you are competitive, look for sports (running, triathlon, tennis) or activities that allow you to compete with others. If you want a calm environment, exercise in the comfort of your home or look for yoga classes. If you are energetic, go for high-intensity fitness boxing, indoor cycling, high-energy dance, or circuit training classes.
Organize your workout.
Prioritize movement by strategically scheduling your workouts. I know a lot of company CEOs and the busiest parents who allot time for their workouts. How can you make the habit sustainable if you are constantly distracted by your kids and work while exercising? Commit firmly to your schedule unless there’s an emergency.
- You have 16 or more daily waking hours to schedule your workout based on your lifestyle and body type. You can start with 30 minutes and progress your exercise duration and intensity as your fitness level improves.
- Prepare your home exercise environment by considering your room temperature, lighting, and exercise space where there’s less or no distraction. Make sure that you can move freely with your workouts. Get the necessary exercise equipment to have a complete workout experience.
Reset your mindset.
Your attitude plays a significant impact when it comes to exercise consistency. Know possible barriers that prevent you from enjoying the workout, then think of ways to change your mindset so you can embrace a sustainable active lifestyle.
- If you encounter a group fitness instructor that’s not your type, reset your mindset. You can tell yourself, “I should focus on the positive feelings I get from my workout and not be preoccupied with my negative thoughts for the instructor. It can drain my energy and motivation to get a quality workout.”
- You can always wake up and feel lazy and unmotivated to move. If this happens, tell yourself, “I have all the reasons to move today. I can get the best feeling after finishing a workout because I am doing something for my well-being.”
Focus on exercise preparation: nutrition, hydration, and sleep.
Quality sleep and good nutrition can make you endure an intense cardio workout and lift heavier weights while burning more calories during an exercise session.
- Maximize your training session by getting the right pre- (healthy carb with some protein and fat, such as whole wheat bread with peanut butter) and post-workout (enough protein with good fat and carb meals such as brown rice, salmon, and cooked green leafy veggies).
- Drink at least eight glasses of water/per day. You’ll need more water if you have more workouts.
- Get enough sleep (7 to 8 hours) before your exercise.
Know how to modify exercise moves safely to avoid injuries.
Accept your current fitness level and health condition. You might have stopped exercising for a while, so gradually restart your workouts. Be patient and consistent, and you will eventually regain your strengths.
- Do longer warm-ups and include enough time for cool-down and stretches.
- Modify your range, form, place, and some exercise moves that you can’t fully execute for now. Don’t get pressured when others push themselves in an exercise class. Focus on what you can do to avoid injuries and other health issues.
- Consult and work out with a fitness professional who can assess your current fitness condition and needs to ensure a more effective and safer exercise experience.
Use different muscle groups in an exercise session and vary your workouts.
I prefer workouts with moves that can target many muscle groups to achieve a higher calorie burn in a short amount of time. I always look for a certain feeling of muscle burn every time I exercise. If you are a busy person who can spend a maximum of one hour of workout per day, consider the following tips.
- Use compound movements like squatting while you do a shoulder press and lunging while you do a biceps curl.
- Activate your core the whole time you work out by gently scooping your abs to develop your core muscles effectively and faster while preventing back pain.
Vary your workout types during the week:
- Engage in continuous workouts to keep your heart rate steady (brisk walking, running, using cardio machines) at least twice a week to improve your endurance.
- Do interval (with work and rest periods) training sessions once or twice a week to maximize calorie burn and improve your metabolism and overall fitness level.
- Train for activities encouraging you to level up your fitness training by joining run races every two to three months or signing up for other sports tournaments.
Be fully engaged with your workout experience by being grateful, participating in the movement, and celebrating your strengths.
- Put your heart and mind into any workout that you do. Be aware of how your body moves, how you activate your muscles, how you breathe, and how you push yourself during a workout.
- Release the stress, and feel free to express yourself. Move (jump, punch, dance like nobody’s watching, and push the exercise moves), smile, shout and cheer others whenever you feel like it.
- Appreciate your unique body and empower yourself during your workout by thinking of your physical and mental strengths while you move.
Look for a fitness role model.
I admire older women who can care for their bodies and balance life. They always inspire me to pursue my wellness journey, and their stories give me hope and strength. Having fitness role models (your friend, mom, friends, coach, or people you don’t know) can strengthen your motivation to move.
- Look for fitness role models who practice a balanced healthy lifestyle and do not just focus on their physical appearance.
- Eventually, share your journey and be a role model to others.
Appreciate your progress and share your achievements
You can feel your exercise achievements after a few weeks of continuous effort. Feel how your clothes can fit better, hear comments from other people about your looks and vibe, and feel your fitness level is improving. Look for ways to track your progress and then share with others.
- Get a health check and monitor it every three to six months so you can appreciate the benefits of exercise to your overall health.
- Journaling and getting a fitness tracker with an app that can analyze your activities and progress can increase your motivation to maintain or improve your lifestyle. Observe your resting heart rate, exercise volume, intensity, stress level, body weight, and body composition.
- Share your small achievements on social media or your group chats so you can involve others in your journey. There’s nothing wrong when it comes to announcing your accomplishments. Be proud and happy for what you’ve worked hard for; your unique story can inspire others.
Email the author at [email protected] or follow/message her on Instagram @mitchfelipemendoza