A common problem with ongoing workouts is a drop in motivation and enthusiasm. It can be seriously difficult to keep going when you’re tired, busy or just not in the mood.
Most people let their fitness plan slip over the Christmas and New Year festivities. And while New Year’s Resolutions are initially easy to keep, by February you may find yourself flagging.
7 ways to revitalise your fitness plan
Exercising regularly is absolutely vital for health – both mental and physical. Despite knowing this, it’s all too easy to skip one workout and fall off the plan altogether. After all, who doesn’t have a busy life with many different elements to balance.
Working out is naturally a lot easier when you’re feeling motivated and enthused, so here are my tips to get you right back into your fitness plan.
- Don’t give yourself a hard time
This is a really important point – the more you beat yourself up for slipping from your plan, the less likely you are to be motivated to get back into it. If you’ve had some time off from your training and want to start again, always begin with realistic expectations.
If you set the bar really high straight away, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. The idea is to decrease the pressure and increase the enjoyment. So, when you’re getting started (again), go easy on yourself. Start with targets you know you can achieve and then build up as your confidence and enthusiasm increases.
- Set an achievable routine
If you’ve ever tried to get fit without a set routine you’ve probably found yourself giving it up before you get real results. A plan or structure will help you stick with your chosen routine. Set aside specific times for exercise that you know you can do – this could be the morning, after work, last thing at night or first thing in the morning.
Choose the times and days and write them down in a diary or on a chart. This will help you to create the habit of regularly exercising. At some point it will naturally become routine and you won’t have to force yourself.
- Set your own personal goals
Don’t get swept away by the plan you read about online that promises a six pack in six weeks. You know your own fitness level, body and ability better than anyone. So start with achievable goals for you.
Think about your final achievement – what will make you feel proud of your accomplishments. It could be completing a 10k, for example, or lifting a certain amount at the gym. Or perhaps it’s just finally becoming consistent with your workout plan. Whatever it is, write it down and keep it in mind as you move towards getting fitter.
- Don’t force yourself to do something you don’t like
There is no one way to get fit. You don’t have to become a CrossFit expert or buy a Peloton. Find what you like to do – this could be anything from walking to dancing, team sports to basketball. It doesn’t matter, as long as it gets you moving and motivated.
If you’re not sure what it is you do like, then plan to try a few different forms of exercise. Mix up a yoga class with a HITT workout online, for example. Take the time to find something that you enjoy as this will mean you have far more chance of sticking with it.
- Consider partnering up with someone
For some people, a workout buddy can help to keep them accountable and motivated. Others like to pursue their own fitness goals in their own time. If you do feel like working out with a friend would help, make some enquiries. The chances are, you’ll find someone who wants to join you.
This can also help if you’re finding the whole idea of returning to exercise daunting. Doing it with someone can help to make it feel much more fun and less stressful.
- Take your rest days and enjoy them
When you restart a fitness plan, it can be tempting to push really hard. But training every day will only mean you burn out and give up. Resting properly is just as important as the actual exercise if you want to become more active for the long term.
If you find that you are feeling low or ill when you have a workout scheduled, give yourself permission to listen to your body and do what serves you best. This might mean an unplanned rest day and getting back on track later on.
- Try and change your perspective
If you go into an exercise plan solely to try and shift stubborn weight, for example, this can be very draining mentally. You need to switch it around and consider exercise as a fun thing to do rather than a chore you have to get through.
Making it fun is really important to stick with it, so take your time and get used to your new routine without pressurising yourself too much. Focus on your own improvements and increase in skills rather than what other people in the gym are doing.
Try to focus on what makes you feel good when you’re exercising and take it with you into your rest days. This will help you to look forward to the next workout and get the maximum benefit from it.