Year after year, the ebb and flow of gym-goers looks something like a title wave on January 2 and fades to a mere ripple in the tide by February 15. It is common knowledge that even the most well-laid plans for a “new you” in the New Year goes awry in most cases, after six short weeks. The same pattern exists with many “new beginnings.” August rounds the corner into the start of a new school year and, like New Year’s, many believe this is their fresh start to physical fitness and healthy weight management. It certainly could be.
Researchers say that approximately 80 percent of the battle is not the actual act of exercise, but the very effort required preparing for and heading out to exercise. That means that if you can actually make it to the gym, running track, or swimming pool – odds are – you will not tuck your tail between your legs and hustle back home. So, what’s the secret to successfully making it to your exercise haven?
- Love your space. If your treadmill at home serves as a great place to dry “hang-dry only” clothing, you might want to consider redecorating. Creating an environment that you want to be in and a place that you look forward to going is the first step. Whether it is the garage, the spare bedroom, or a monthly gym membership, make sure it is a place you want to be. If you can’t stand the sight of your workout room or despise your gym and everyone there, make a move for a change of venue. It might cost a bit more in the short run, but when you get results, it will be worth every penny.
- Grab a buddy. A recent study unveiled some exciting results for those seeking some serious weight loss results – working out with a peer, coach or mentor increases weight loss success. In the study those who enlisted a weight loss peer – friend or professional – lost 9 percent of their starting body weight. A proportion, compared to most weight loss programs.
- If you are now using your treadmill as the manufacturer intended, set-up a workout “date” with a friend in the same situation. Call one another and establish accountability that you are indeed going to spend 30 minutes on the treadmill at 630pm tonight. As your workouts evolve, you and your friend may want to consider a friendly competition and setting goals to see who reaches the finish line first.If you are of varying ages or fitness levels – make it a competition of effort – see who can workout the most times in a week or who can cover the most miles. Competition isn’t exclusively about speed work.
- If you are taking a friend to the gym or for a jog in the park, be sure you choose someone known to keep their promises. In other words, when they say they will be there, they will be there. Push one another to work hard and don’t let mindless chatter interfere with the intended goal of the workout session. (You can head for coffee after your workout to chat.)To increase motivation, plan an event to prepare for, like a 5k or vacation – the looming “deadline” will help keep you focused and on track.
- Love what you do. Find activities that you enjoy. If you hate running, don’t run! There are lots of other fun and exciting ways to reach your goals without running. (And, it is always easier to try new things when you have a friend to explore with.) Mix things up – take a new class, hike a trail, rollerblade, jump rope, bike ride, play basketball, jump on a trampoline, try the ARC trainer, the elliptical, TRX, kettlebells and the list could go on and on and on. Whatever you do, don’t stop looking until you find an activity you love…your search will certainly get you into shape!