Featured Image: @hannahbronfman
Article By: Shealynn Waller
Unless you are forced to workout by either a school sports program or your doctor, getting exercise can be extremely difficult. Finding the motivation necessary to make working out a habit is hard, particularly if exercising isn’t an exciting or fun activity. But working out can be fun! You don’t have to just go to the gym every day and pay a monthly fee to be physically fit. Learn how to build a workout routine catered to you and your interests in just six steps.
First: Choose Days of the Week
When you first decide to make exercise part of your weekly routine, one of two reactions occur; either you find it difficult to begin, or your motivation bottoms out after just a few days. The best way to combat either is to make a plan. Start off by deciding which days you want to exercise on. I recommend three days of the week to start. Monday, Wednesday and Fridays or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. However, you choose, try to give yourself a day in between particularly high-intensity workouts to recover.
Second: Choose Activities for Those Days
Once you have decided which days you want to workout, you can choose the activity for each day. This part is where you can be a bit creative. Working out doesn’t have to be boring, it can be exciting and fun! Use your routine as a chance to try new things and workout sometimes without even meaning to. I recommend a cardio day, a weights day and another cardio day with “other activities” throughout the week. For example, I’ll run Monday and Friday, lift weights on Wednesday, and go on a hike or rock climbing on Saturday. The extra activity helps add excitement to getting a workout.
Some other options for activities could be laser tag (when taken seriously it can be a serious thigh workout), take a nature hike, go swimming, take a kickboxing or MMA class, run stairs at a stadium, walk your neighbor’s dogs or watch a workout video online from your living room.
Three: Find A Partner
One of the best ways to stay motivated and meet your goals is to have a partner. A best friend, life partner or family members are all great options. Keep each other accountable by agreeing to meet on a regular basis. You’re more likely to show up to the gym if someone else is meeting you there. Have goals set for each other individually and together! You and your partner should have goals for yourselves and goals to reach together. One goal, for example, may be running a total of thirty miles in one month total. Lastly, celebrate with each other! Be each other’s support and coach.
Four: Be Patient With Yourself
Results may not and probably will not happen overnight. You have to be patient with yourself and your body. As long as you are showing up for the activities on a regular basis, you will be succeeding. Your goals are important, but if you don’t reach them as quickly or as well as you wanted to, that is okay. Do your best and be proud of yourself for giving it your all. Changes in your body will happen over time. I’d say give yourself three months to start feeling different and seeing results.
For some people, the change will not be apparent until a random morning when their jeans feel looser than before. Sometimes results come slowly in measurements and weight and sometimes results come as a random feeling of health. Maybe you don’t feel winded walking up the stairs to your apartment as you have before. Everyone’s physical abilities and goals are different and therefore, the results will be different. Figure out what works best for you and go with it.
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Five: Increase the Difficulty
After a few weeks of your routine, slowly start to increase reps, time, distance or difficulty. Staying at the same place for too long will plateau your progress, so it’s necessary to increase it over time. If you start running just one mile, after a few weeks, try for two or three. Start with fifteen reps with weights, then go to twenty or twenty-five. If you walk for thirty minutes, increase it to forty-five minutes or an hour. Then, after a few more weeks, increase again. You don’t need to keep increasing forever unless you want to, but it is necessary to do the first three to five months to see increasing results.
Don’t feel like you should not adjust your routine to keep yourself interested as well. If you get tired of walking around a lake, find a new location or a new lake. If your yoga class is getting old, try either a more intense yoga class or a boxing class. Every gym offers different kinds of services, so do some research and find something that piques your interest.
Six: Track Your Progress
There are a few different ways to track your progress. One option is to keep track of your weight with a scale. This is a good way to track progress if your goal is to lose weight, however, it can be misleading once you begin to replace fat with muscle. Initially, a person can expect to lose some weight in fat. However, after a few months, the muscle will start to build and increase weight. Another option to track your progress is to measure different parts of your body to see where you are losing weight. We pay attention to the parts of our bodies we want to see the most change in, however, we are losing weight all over.
Measure your neck, upper arms, thighs, calves, waist, and chest to see where you are losing the weight. Again, initially you may see weight leave these areas resulting in smaller measurements, but eventually, the muscle will grow and at that point, the measurements may grow. Depending on where you find yourself comfortable and healthy, keeping track of your progress on a weekly basis can help you feel accomplished and motivated to continue.