Are you capable of continuing exercise when the motivation falls, the weather gets worst or the schedule gets tight? Starting a workout program is not that difficult. Many begin it on a very high note.
But usually, after a few days, motivation starts falling and by the end of 1st month, most people have already quit their fitness program. Some fall behind even after one month of time.
That’s why the 1st few months are very critical and only a handful of people can survive it.
This is not a story of only workouts. Almost in every walk of life, only a handful of people stay motivated to get to the end of things.
Few people are good at making money — scoring fine grades — building successful relations — succeeding in business and creating a difference in society.
All while not being necessarily operating with a high IQ.
Their success usually is decided by grit and consistency.
Experts say that adults need to indulge in strength exercises, as well as 150 minutes of moderate activities or 75 mins of tiring vigorous activity, every week.
A 2016 English Health Survey found, 34% of men & 42% of women are not meeting the aerobic exercise targets. Moreover, 69% and 77% respectively are not doing enough strength activity.
As a result, obesity is getting common and adding to the chronic long-term diseases cited in Public Health England’s analysis, which demonstrated that women in the UK are dying earlier than in most EU countries.
Everyone knows we should do more, but how to stay afloat when the motivation is drowning? the weather is giving chills and the blanket wants to hug you?
Listed below are the 18 top tips that can help you stay fit always:
1. Ask yourself why?
People often get into exercises and workouts with very weak motivation.
Younger people head into the gyms for a reason to look better in appearance, but beyond the early 20s, this motivation doesn’t fuel enough of motivation.
And funnily for most people neither the future impossible goals help.
e.g. “I want to get fit because I want to lose weight”.
Segar, the author of No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness, says we will be more triumphant if the focus is on immediate good and positive feelings like stress reduction, enhanced energy and making good friends.
“The only way we are going to prioritise time to exercise is if it is going to deliver some kind of benefit that is truly compelling and valuable to our daily life,” she says.
2. Take a slow start
This is the story of a typical new year resolution.
People approach hardcore at fitness, and as a trainer, Matt Roberts says they “jump in and do everything – change their diet, start exercising, stop drinking and smoking – and within a couple of weeks, they have lost motivation or got too tired. If you haven’t been in shape, it’s going to take time.”
He is more of a fan of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and recommends people include some, “but to do that every day will be too intense for most people”.
Practice it once or twice a week, combined with jogging, swimming and fast walks – and two or three rest days, for at least the first month.
This model has recovery sessions alongside high-intensity workouts.
3. Loving it is not necessary
You can’t force yourself to love something, says Segar, who advises about activities like – roller-skating? Bike riding? – you liked them as a child. You don’t enjoy them anymore.
Many people who stuck to exercise for the long term say: They feel better after doing it.
Some elements of exercise are enjoyable, for example, the physical response of your body and the feeling of getting stronger.
“For many people, the obvious choices aren’t necessarily the ones they would enjoy,” says Sniehotta, director of the National Institute for Health Research’s policy research unit in behavioural science, “so they need to look outside them. It might be different sports or simple things, like sharing activities with other people.”
4. Show Kindness to Yourself
Motivation – or lack of motivation – is only a part of the bigger picture.
Money, demands of parenting or the place where you live are all stumbling blocks, says Sniehotta.
Tiredness, depression, stress or ill family members can all leave an impact on physical activity.
And “If there is a lot of support around you, you will find it easier to maintain physical activity,” he says. “If you live in certain parts of the country, you might be more comfortable doing the outdoor physical activity than in others. To conclude that people who don’t get enough physical activity are just lacking motivation is problematic.”
Be realistic Segar suggests. “Skip the idea of going to the gym five days a week. Be really analytical about work and family-related needs when starting, because if you set yourself up with goals that are too big, you will fail and you’ll feel like a failure. At the end of the week, I always ask my clients to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Maybe fitting in a walk at lunch worked, but you didn’t have the energy after work to do it.”
5. Relying on willpower is a myth
“If you need the willpower to do something, you don’t really want to do it,” says Segar.
Instead, look at exercise like why you’re doing it and what you want to get from physical activity.
How can you benefit today? How do you feel when you move? What will your feeling be after moving?
6. Find Purpose
Everything that puts you to exercise while accomplishing other goals will help, says Sniehotta.
“It provides you with more gratification, and the costs of not doing it are higher.”
For example, taking a walk or cycling to work, or by making friends while joining a sports club, or taking a run with a friend. “Or the goal is to spend more time in the countryside, and running helps you do that.”
Try a combination of physical activity with something else. For example, in your place of work, don’t use the lift and try to reduce email, so if it’s possible to walk over to people, do that.
When you start walking, you will move a lot in the building and will get a lot of steps.
This physical activity will hit many of your meaningful targets.
7. Build a habit
When you start running, it can be overwhelming only even getting out of the door.
Where are my shoes? the water bottle? Which route am I going to take?
Points out Sniehottta, “there are no longer costs associated with the activity”.
Practising physical activity in regularly and planning ahead “helps make it a sustainable behaviour”.
8. Plan and prioritise
You don’t have time for exercise?
Some people are working two jobs or they have extensive caring responsibilities, this is undoubtedly true, but is it true for you? Maybe it is about priorities, says Sniehotta.
He recommends planning: “The first is ‘action planning’, where you plan where, when and how you are going to do it and you try to stick with it.”
The second type is ‘coping planning’: “anticipating things that can get in the way and putting a plan into place for how to get motivated again”.
Segar adds: “Most people don’t give themselves permission to prioritise self-care behaviours like exercise.”
9. Make it Short & Sharp
A workout doesn’t need to be an hour long.
A well-oriented 15-minute exercise can be really impactful if you really are concerned about time.
And for the regular and longer sessions, he says: “You tell yourself you’re going to make time and change your schedule accordingly.”
10. If it is not working, change it
If it is raining and you don’t go for a run once a week you feel guilty.
“It’s a combination of emotion and lack of confidence that brings us to the point where, if people fail a few times, they think it’s a failure of the entire project,” says Sniehotta.
Just know that it is possible to get back on track.
If something doesn’t work don’t try it over and over again – try something new, something else, he says.
“We tend to be in the mindset that if you can’t lose weight, you blame it on yourself.
However, if you could change that to: ‘This method doesn’t work for me, let’s try something different,’ there is a chance it will be better for you.
11. Do Resistance and Balance Training as you Age
“We start to lose muscle mass over the age of around 30,” says Hollie Grant, a personal training and pilates instructor, and the owner of PilatesPT.
Resistance training (using bodyweight, such as press-ups, or equipment, such as resistance bands) is important.
She says: “It is going to help keep muscle mass or at least slow down the loss. There needs to be some form of aerobic exercise, too, and we would also recommend people start adding balance challenges because our balance is affected as we get older.”
12. Exercise at Home
With caring responsibilities, Roberts says you can do more within a small area at home.
“In a living room, it is easy to do a routine where you might alternate between doing a leg exercise and an arm exercise,” he says. “It’s called Peripheral Heart Action training. Doing six or eight exercises, this effect of going between the upper and lower body produces a pretty strong metabolism lift and cardiovascular workout.”
Try squats, half press-ups, lunges, tricep dips and glute raises.
You are increasing your heart rate, working on your muscles and having a good overall workout.
These exercises consume not more than 15-20 minutes and only need a chair for the tricep dips – although dumbbells are helpful, too.
13. Get out of breath
Housework and gardening can add to our weekly workout targets, but is it that simple?
“The measure really is you’re getting generally hot, out of breath, and you’re working at a level where, if you have a conversation with somebody while you’re doing it, you’re puffing a bit,” says Roberts.
“With gardening, you’d have to be doing the heavier gardening – digging – not just weeding. If you’re walking the dog, you can make it into a genuine exercise session – run with the dog, or find a route that includes some hills.”
14. Be Sensible on Illness
Joslyn Thompson Rule, a personal trainer, says:
“The general rule is if it’s above the neck – a headache or a cold – while being mindful of how you’re feeling, you are generally OK to do some sort of exercise.
If it’s below the neck – if you’re having trouble breathing – rest.
The key thing is to be sensible.
If you were planning on doing a high-intensity workout, you would take the pace down, but sometimes just moving can make you feel better.”
Once you recover from illness, she says, have some trust in your instincts.
“You don’t want to go straight back into training four times a week. You might want to do the same number of sessions but make them shorter, or do fewer.”
15. Take Advice after Injury
How quickly you restart exercising again is dependent on your type of injury.
You must seek advice from the doctor.
Psychologically, tho the Thompson Rule says:
“Even when we’re doing everything as we should, there are still dips in the road. It’s not going to be a linear progression of getting better.”
16. Take help from Tech
If you are goal-oriented, it will be useful to keep track of progress closely, but make space for some flexibility in your goals.
Your workday might go stressful, you went out for a run and didn’t finish in time and you might be thinking: ‘This is not working anymore.’”
A better approach would be to take the help of a Fitness App.
Keep track of your time with it and if you are unable to finish a target on a certain day, just leave it in the middle of that day.
17. Don’t make Winter an Excuse
Winter is not a season of hibernation.
Put on your trainers and don’t think about the cold drizzly weather.
The same applies to going to the gym.
It’s only your mind playing games with you, making you feel like it’s a hassle.
But once you have taken initiative, you’ll be like: What was the point of procrastination?