Let’s face it: working out consistently is hard. We all start off with good intentions, but life gets in the way. Work, school, kids, hobbies, or just unexpected social gatherings impede your daily routine and eat up that workout time. For years, I struggled with working out consistently. Having been a very active child, I always got my exercise through sports. But when that was no longer the case, it was hard to motivate myself to go to the gym because I was so conscious that I was exercising and I didn’t particularly enjoy it. My goal would always be to lose weight and when I didn’t see results right away, I would get frustrated and give up. In the last two years, I have finally been able to make going to the gym a staple part of my life. I try to aim for 3 or 4 workouts a week, which is definitely enough to see results. If you’re looking to stick to your New Year’s resolution or just pursuing a healthier lifestyle, here are my tips for finally committing to your exercise regime:
Find the time of day that works best for you
Some people function well in the morning, others do not. I prefer to slam my hand on my alarm early in morning and get my workout done before the rest of my day starts. I’m less likely to procrastinate or convince myself out of going to the gym later in the day. Early morning workouts are also a good way to avoid crowds at the gym; however, if you prefer that morning sleep, do what works for you. Just pick a time and stick to it: the consistency will help you build a routine and make it feel like the workout is just a normal part of your day.
I started with short workouts and worked my way up in order to make exercising easier on a daily basis. I could convince myself to commit to 30 minutes several days a week doing a combination of cardio and weights. 30 minutes flies during a workout, so as you become acclimated to your routine, you can add more exercises and time.
Wear something you are comfortable in
When you’re new to a gym or workout routine, it can be intimidating to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s very important to wear comfortable workout clothes and proper shoes that you won’t be paranoid about during your workout so you can focus on the task at hand. New workout clothes are also a great motivational tool to get you in the gym.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
It’s great if you can consult a trainer before starting a workout program. They can give you exercises best suited to your fitness goals and ensure you are performing them properly. Gyms often offer a free orientation when you sign up and if you ask for help you’re likely to feel less worried about doing something wrong amidst the other gym goers around you. Just know that people aren’t judging you for your fitness level; if anything, they are commending you for putting in the work.
Target specific muscle groups
Lifting weights is a great way to tone and lose weight for women and men alike. Ladies, don’t worry about getting “bulky”, it wasn’t until I started lifting weights that I saw physical results from my workouts. Though it may seem cliché, by targeting specific muscle groups on certain days, you can be more effective in building muscle, allow tired muscles to rest, and ensure that your workout is different every day (so you don’t get bored and quit).
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Progress is slow and involves regression. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout or even a week or two. Life does get in the way sometimes. The most important thing is to listen to your body, only do what you can handle, and remembering that not all your progress is lost if you fall out of your routine. Just get back to gym when you can and remember to take it slow if you took some time off.
In truth, I wasn’t able to workout consistently until I stopped looking at exercising as a quick means of losing weight and started working out because I wanted my body to be healthy. I still go through times where I can’t workout as much as I would like to and eat what my sweet tooth craves. Keeping a healthy diet combined with exercising is a great way to ensure personal health, but just know that it’s fine to indulge too. As my mom likes to say: “Life is meant to be lived”; everything just needs to be done in moderation.
Photography by Scott Webb via StockSnap.io
Alysha is an Online Editor for onthedanforth.ca and Circulation Manager for On the Danforth summer edition. When she’s not watching TV or having a solo dance party, she can be found eating dry Froot Loops and excessively quoting movies. For her sassy observations about life, you can follow her on Twitter.