Getting fit is all about habits. Whether it’s the habit of exercising on a regular basis or trying to eat a protein-filled breakfast every day, once you get into a routine, you’re more likely to stick with it. Here are five exercise habits that will help you out. Some are simple and others are a bit more work, but once you get going, you’ll be unstoppable.
1. Do what you enjoy
You have to make sure you’re exercising consistently. | iStock.com
A lot of people spend time researching the best exercises on the web, wondering what will burn the highest amount of calories with the least amount of effort. Or they go from trend to trend doing whatever “workout du jour” the experts rave about. But, the best exercise is the one you’ll actually do on a consistent basis. As you already know, if you enjoy something, you’re more likely to keep doing it.
2. Mix it up
Try something new with your workouts to keep things interesting. | iStock.com
While it’s important to exercise consistently, it’s also just as necessary to be consistent about change. In the long run, doing the same exact workout all the time just won’t be as challenging to your body. Your muscles will adapt, and you won’t push yourself as hard as you once did. So, if you love to do CrossFit, why not throw in a yoga class once or twice a week? Maybe try something new like swimming or boxing. If there is really only one activity that you enjoy (see the first rule) like spinning, it’s still possible to mix it up. Take a class with a different instructor or at a new studio. Do whatever you need to do to get out of your comfort zone.
3. Schedule your fitness
Plan when you’re going to work out ahead of time. | iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund
Let’s say your goal is to exercise five days a week. On Sunday night, plan your workouts ahead of time. You are more likely to follow through if you plan in advance, instead of just winging it. Even if you are busy, you can always find an hour to work out in between other activities. For example, if you have Happy Hour plans on Tuesday after work, schedule your gym time for the morning. If you’re going away for the weekend, plan to work out Monday through Friday. Put down these plans in your smartphone. Set an alarm and reminders if you have to.
If you still can’t seem to stick to a schedule or keep changing your plans, perhaps it’s time to hire a personal trainer. A trainer will make sure you exercise and you will be less likely to cancel something you are plunking down a lot of cash for. Can’t afford a personal trainer, but still can’t stick to a schedule? Try to find a workout buddy. Create your own support system.
4. Take a class
Fitness classes are a great way to go. | iStock.com
Taking a class is a great way to get fit. It also reinforces the first three habits on this list because it requires scheduling, can help you discover a form of exercise you will like and stick with, and it’s a good way to mix it up. If you are naturally competitive, classes will push you to work harder. They are also a great way to receive personal instruction, if you don’t have your own trainer. A good group instructor worth his or her salt (or protein powder) will also make sure you have proper form and push you to work harder than you would on your own.
5. Track your progress
Find your own way to track your progress. | iStock.com/nensuria
Seeing your progress helps you stay motivated. Even doing something as simple as writing down your workouts, weight, or logging your food can help you see where you are going and keep you honest. The easiest way to do this is with a Fitbit or similar device. There are also a number of apps such as Lose It and My Fitness Pal to give you the support you need.