Expert explains why enjoying exercise is important
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It can be difficult to stay motivated and maintain an exercise routine, especially in the autumn and winter months when dark and cold nights make staying home more attractive. Whether you’ve set yourself unrealistic goals, are too tired to work out, or the idea of making an effort to get to the gym is stopping you in your tracks, it can feel difficult to stay motivated. While staying motivated is not always easy, according to Steven Virtue, Fitness Development Manager at Total Fitness, there are some steps that you can take to make sticking to your workout routine feel easier and more achievable.
Set realistic goals
Steven recommends that one of the best ways to make an exercise routine maintainable is to set realistic goals.
He said: “As much as we may all want to, not many of us will be able to walk into the gym and immediately pick up 20kg dumbbells. Setting yourself unrealistic goals will inevitably lead to disappointment, causing you to lose motivation and give up.
“Setting realistic goals is also important for your own health.
Taking on more weight than you can manage increases your risk of serious injury, which is a sure-fire way of stopping your workout routine before it’s even really started.”
He continued “The best way to set realistic goals is to take things slow and build yourself up. Whilst you might want to be lifting the heaviest weights in gym straight away, by slowly building yourself up, you’ll find it more manageable and will see results faster, avoiding any disappointment.”
Do exercises you enjoy
Steve also recommends focusing on exercises that you actually enjoy doing.
He explained: “Working out isn’t supposed to be easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. If your workout routine is a source of stress or discomfort, you’re much more likely to lose motivation. Building a workout routine full of exercises you enjoy means that going to the gym won’t feel like a chore.
“To find the exercises that work best for you, it’s best to take some time to try different exercises out in the gym. Whether you think you’ll enjoy them or not, working your way around the different gym equipment will allow you to figure out which exercises and equipment you prefer. You can then build a workout routine that incorporates these exercises, meaning your workout routine can become a much more enjoyable feat.”
Steve also suggests finding what exercises are best for you is a good step to take as this will help you to feel more comfortable and confident, allowing you to be more at ease when doing your workouts.
Make sure to rest
A crucial part of any workout routine is rest, according to Steve.
He said “Taking time to rest after a workout allows your body and muscles to recover, both of which are essential for helping to increase your strength and endurance.
“If you don’t allow your body to rest, you’ll find that your progress will be slower, which can demotivate you when continuing to work out. Failing to rest also increases your risk of injury, which can prevent you from working out or limit your capabilities in the gym.”
Keep track of your progress
Tracking your progress is a vital aspect of staying motivated according to Steve.
He explained: “The ultimate goal of anyone undergoing a workout routine is to see progress, whether that is to lose weight, gain muscle, or increase endurance. However, progress doesn’t happen overnight, so it can take time to see results.
“This can be frustrating but tracking your progress can help you to stay on track. If you’re looking to gain muscle, taking regular progress pictures and making a note of your reps and weights is a good way to log your progress and personal bests overtime in an easily accessible way.”
Take a training partner
It’s also advisable to find a training partner who you can work with to ensure that you stay on track.
Steve explained that: “A little accountability can go a long way in helping you to stay motivated. Making plans with a gym buddy means you can both hold each other to account and make sure you turn up to your scheduled gym sessions. They can also help push you to achieve more during your workouts and be a source of support, especially on those days you’re finding the gym particularly difficult.
“If you’re struggling to find a gym buddy, a personal trainer can help you to stay motivated and reach your goals. Personal trainers can also help to build a training and diet plan to help you see the best results possible.”
Plan your gym visits
Steve also recommends planning your gym visits in advance.
He explained: “Planning your gym visits is a great way to build working out into your everyday routine. It is important to set out enough time for getting too and from the gym, getting changed, and actually working out. Setting dedicated time aside in your week for visiting the gym, on the days and at the time that works best for you, will help to take some stress away and keep you motivated.
“Also, consider what you want to do during each session to get the most out of each trip and ensure you’ve packed all the clothing or kit you might need. Perhaps you want to combine a fitness class with a swim, or a weights session with a sprint on the running track – planning the contents of your workout session in advance will help you to stay motivated and focused.”
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