I know so many people that have a hard time committing to working out. Are you one of those people as well? I totally understand how jam-packed schedules and multiple commitments can interfere with working out. Especially when you feel like you just do not have a time. I understand that when you’re exhausted from lack of sleep due to constantly being on the go that working out just isn’t something that you feel as though you need to make a priority. However based on the increased number of women being diagnosed with breast cancer and different types of other illnesses such as diabetes, it is essential that you incorporate working out into your life.
As you know, weight loss and exercise are huge contributors to fighting off life-altering and fatal illnesses. Today, I will share my secrets about how you can stay committed to your work out plan once and for all.
#1) Find a workout you enjoy. For starters, you have to find a workout that you actually enjoy. In doing so, working out will not be so challenging. In fact it will be rather fun. For instance, I’m a former dancer and I find cardio super boring; however, I absolutely love Zumba. Without Zumba I don’t think that I would get nearly as much cardio as I need to get in on the weekly basis. If you love to dance as well, and you have never tried Zumba before, I highly recommend it. You don’t want to try just any Zumba class. You want to find one that is LIT! LOL... In doing so, you will have such a good time you won’t even realize that you’re actually burning hundreds of calories. Instead, you will feel like you’re at a dance party. Especially, if you find a Zumba instructor who is a lot of fun, has a ton of energy, who is a great dancer, and who has great choreography.
#2) Find a workout buddy. If you find a workout partner who will hold you accountable, who enjoys working out and will give you that extra little push, you are off to a great start and will absolutely be successful in your workout journey. It is always more enjoyable to workout with someone else. You can push each other a little bit harder and when one of you is slacking, the motivation needed, your workout buddy will pick you right back up.
Finding a fitness class such as Kickboxing, HIIT, Body Pump (a weight lifting class), Step Aerobics, etc. is also a great way to push yourself. I know of several people who are much more likely to push themselves to the limit when they have someone else telling them to do. Also, if you are a competitive person, doing a workout class will help you get in great shape as you will strive to outdo your competition.
Participating in fitness classes will also help you develop friendships with other attendees. With those friendships come accountability partners. If you miss class, your accountability partner will help get you back on track so you don’t stray too much. They will also push you in class so that you don’t give up as easily as you would if you were working out alone.
#3) Don’t start off too strong. Slowly work into your new way of life. That way, you can ensure you don’t burn yourself out - which can happen very easily. You also want to ensure that you are not working out 7 days a week, as you will be less likely to continue that workout plan if you do so. I suggest that you start off working out three days a week with a rest day after your workout day. For instance, workout on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.That way, you are allowing your body to rest and recover on Tuesdays, Thursdays and during the weekends. Contrary to what many believe, rest is essential to your dream body. The key is balance. You have to balance how much you workout and how much rest you get. Just remember that your body rebuilds muscles that have been torn and stretched when you rest. Without rest, you risk an injury and slow down your results.
#4) Rest and recovery are essential. In terms of the type of workout you perform, when you’re just starting out, I recommend 30 minutes of cardio and maybe after three weeks you can then begin your actual workout routine or you can increase the number of days you workout. Why? By starting off with cardio, you will build your stamina and will boost weight loss. I almost forgot to mention that it takes from 6 to 8 weeks to begin seeing results. So don’t get discouraged or stop working out because you don’t see results after only a few weeks.
#5) Listen to your body. A few weeks ago, I was reading a women’s health and fitness magazine and learned that when you feel fatigued (like during your menstrual cycle) you should do a workout that requires less energy. For instance, rather than doing a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout which consists of a combination of cardio and weightlifting try yoga or Pilates instead. Yoga and Pilates may look extremely easy; however, they are both challenging low intensity workouts that help you build lean toned muscles, as you are required to engage and control your muscles through slow movements. Neither require all the jumping around or heavy lifting that that a HIIT workout would require, but you will still get a great workout. You may even break a sweat.
#6) Switch up the scenery. I’ve also found that when running, it is much more enjoyable with an aesthetically pleasing scenery such as a lake. When I enjoy the view, I am much more likely to continue to run rather than give up as quickly as I do when I run indoors on a treadmill. I’ve also found that when I run with someone else outside, I am more likely to run longer and further than I would if I were to run alone. I’m very competitive so in my mind, I feel so much better about myself when I run for the length or the duration of time we planned to run or if I don’t stop running first. I know it may sound a little silly, but you have to do what you have to do to keep yourself motivated.
A former colleague of mine who is a runner, shared with me that when you feel like you need to stop, the trick is to just slow down your pace instead. As long as you’re still moving it still counts. Don’t slow down so much that you are just jogging in place. Instead, slow down just enough to catch your breath a little bit.
Others I have spoken with shared that training for a marathon will get you in excellent shape due to all of the cardio you will be doing. Even if it’s just a 5K which is 3.1 miles, you are more likely to stick with your commitment to running and working out for about a month or so and you will see some major results. So consider signing up for a 5k if you need to jump start your workout plan and weight loss.
Although I cannot stand running, it has definitely been one of those workouts that had me in tip top shape. There was a period in time when I would run with a group of coworkers about three times per week for 2 - 3 miles. Because of running, my abs were one point! To this day, I have not had abs like that. The problem is I just don’t enjoy running and I don’t make time to commit to it.
While lifting weights will help you to gain a lot of muscle, it will not help you lose as much fat as running will. So if you want to quickly lose weight and build more muscle (especially in your stomach area) then you absolutely need to incorporate running into your workout plan.
I also find it helpful to find someone who has your dream body and to look at a picture of them each time you don’t feel like working out or when you want to eat that bowl of ice cream and cake after dinner. When I am not feeling motivated, I pull up Fit For the Culture on Instagram and scroll through their images. They feature African American fitness gurus who have amazing bodies. Scrolling through their feed for motivation works for me every time.
Or you can find a picture of yourself when you were in the best shape of your life and save that picture as your screensaver or put it on your refrigerator to deter your from overeating. We all have that picture of ourselves from the past, maybe even during your college days, when you were in your prime and when your body was the most on point. Feel free to use that picture as motivation to encourage yourself to continue to work out.
Along with commitment, consistency is also a huge contributor to sticking with your workout plan. Even if you only have 20 minutes to workout on a particular day, as long as you get moving and get in the habit of going to the gym, you will find a workout schedule that you can stick with. Actually stepping foot in a gym is half the battle. Once you’re there, and once you get moving, you will knock it out.
#6) Great music is key to a great workout. I absolutely cannot get into my workout unless my music is poppin’. Personally, I really enjoy listening to “Today’s Afro Beats” Pandora radio station, which consists of upbeat tropical/island beats. It always gets me pumped up and helps me really get into my workout. My new favorite workout soundtrack is Beyonce’s “Homecoming” album. That album is guaranteed to make you feel like you can accomplish anything. While you work out, listen to whatever motivates you and gets you pumped.
The Bottom Line
Commit to a workout routine by finding a workout that is most enjoyable for you. Find a good workout buddy/class to help hold yourself accountable. Don’t start off too strong. Listen to your body and ensure you get proper rest. If you are taking on running, switch up the scenery to keep it interesting. Establish a routine and stick with it so that your workout days and times become a habit. Find music that gets you the most pumped up.
No matter how many times you have stopped and started a new workout routine, make up your mind that now is the time to finally make working out a priority as well as a habit. We only get one body so we have to take the necessary steps to take care of it while we are healthy enough to do so. Working out consistently will help you avoid ailments that can develop as a result of not being active enough. Take charge of your future and your health now.
Need exercise ideas and tips? Let me know. As always, I am here to help.
What do you think about these tips I have shared? Do you think they will help you finally establish a workout routine you can stick with? I would love to hear from you.
I know it’s already mid-May, and you probably feel like it’s crunch time, but it’s never too late to get in the best shape of your life. And there is no better time than now!