12 Ways To Work Your Workout


12 Ways To Work Your Workout

The benefits of exercising regularly are no secret. From controlling weight, to staving off chronic

disease, to improving memory and sleep—physical activity seems to be a cure­all for whatever

ails you.

And yet...

How many times have you renewed your commitment to exercise more, only to have life get in

the way? Studies show you’re not alone. It’s a fact that most gym memberships go unused

within a month or two of purchase.

Take heart! There are ways to beat the odds and ensure your personal success. Take a long-
term view of your health, start slowly, and don’t expect a miracle in three weeks. You can break

the old cycle, and make active habits a part of daily life. Follow these twelve surefire tips to start

and maintain your workout routine.

1. Baby steps first. Promise yourself a brisk 15­minute walk on your lunch hour each day, or a

20­minute yoga DVD while the baby’s napping. Start with something you know you can manage

and grow from there.

2. Beware the Shortcut Charlatan. No, you can’t use “vibration technology” to jiggle flab into a

beach­ready bikini body. The quicker you’re able to ignore to such outlandish claims, the

quicker you can get to the real business of getting fit. Exercising can be fun, but it’s not

effortless. View your health and fitness as a creative lifelong endeavor, rather than a phase.

3. Know yourself; be yourself. Nothing causes burnout quicker than hating every minute of

your workout. Use the equipment and techniques that motivate you. Not a rooster? Don’t

schedule your workouts at 5 a.m. Enjoy camaraderie? Join a fitness class. Inspired by screams

of, “Make it burn!” as you writhe in pain after your hundredth crunch? Hire the burly retired

Marine as your

personal trainer.

4. Precision counts. It’s easier to work toward a goal that’s detailed and specific. So “I’ll

exercise more,” becomes “I’ll bike five miles, three times a week.” Amy Carroll, full­time

insurance agent and mother of two, has been going to the gym regularly for almost four months.

She says, “My long­term goal is to be the weight that is on my driver’s license. I have mini goals

to shoot for along the way, and currently have hit my first goal of losing 15 pounds!”

5. Personalize it. One­on­one time with a personal trainer can help demystify the vast array of

techniques and equipment. Personal trainer Brandon Senn claims that many people choose a

cookie­cutter routine, and then can’t stick with their fitness program. He says, “Often people

don’t understand what they’re doing and why.” A personal trainer can help you create a flexible

and diversified program. Most can also provide

advice regarding nutrition and weight management.

6. Scale back. Resist the urge to weigh yourself every day. Sure, you want a concrete way to

track the pounds being siphoned away in your sweat. But for most people, losing more than a

pound­and­a­half per week is unrealistic. Senn says progress is more accurately tracked by

getting a regular body fat measurement (easily obtained at most gyms). In addition, he

recommends keeping an accurate log of your workouts as “a great way to see where you’re

making progress, and where you might need to modify what you’re doing.” Hop on the scale

only weekly, or even less often, to avoid discouragement and get a better sense of how your

weight is trending.

7. Buddy up. A workout partner with similar goals can foster some healthy competition. You

don’t need to coordinate every workout, but check in with your buddy regularly to compare

notes. Choose a person who won’t let you off the hook too easily if you miss your workout.

8. Use bribery and blackmail. Reward yourself in some small way for completing your

workout. Sometimes all it takes is the thought of a post­workout shower at the gym,

uninterrupted by small children pounding on the door. If you’re more motivated by penalty than

reward, agree to buy your workout buddy lunch if you miss more than two sessions in a row.

Use social media to post your intentions.

9. Remember your physics. A body at rest tends to stay at rest, while a body in motion tends

to keep moving. This goes for your body too. Adopt a “something is better than nothing” attitude.

When unforeseen schedule challenges arise, do a brisk 20­minute walk or jog rather than ditch

your workout completely. Missed workouts pile up quickly, while your feet get more comfortable

on the ottoman.

10. Avoid the blame game. So you ate a huge piece of cake after your daughter’s party, and

now you feel like your workout was for naught. Allow yourself a mini­guilt party (no more than 15

minutes!) and move on. Emphasis on move. And don’t try to compensate for those cake calories

by doubling your workout time. Forget the “sugar debt” and keep moving.

11. Mix it up. Try something new when you feel stuck in your routine. Carroll says she loves her

Zumba class, but also uses the elliptical, some weight machines, and some free weights. She

adds, “I just started doing some basic kick boxing stuff at home and I have enjoyed

that too.”

12. Get inspired. Look for someone who makes you think, “If she can do it, so can I.” Whether

it’s the restaurant blogger who shed 90 pounds, or the 90­year­old who still walks three miles a

day, let your “hero” spur you on. ■

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03 Jun 2016


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