When looking to begin an exercise regime we start with good intentions. Freshly filled cupboards of high protein/low fat foods, fresh fruit and vegetables and copious amounts of white meat. New ultra trendy sportswear with breathable cotton material. Come day four, this has been replaced with a bucket of fried chicken from the takeaway on the high street and the new trendy sportswear has been switched for lounge pants.
The common mistake many people make is to jump head first into an exercise regime without considering the near certain downfalls. Here we look at ways in which you can motivate yourself to stick to your exercise plan, ensuring you finish up with a body to be proud of.
Step One: Set A Goal
Where do you want to be in a months time? How do you want to look? How much weight do you want to lose? These are just some of the goals people put in place when they begin to exercise again, your goal may be different. The most important thing to remember is that by having a goal in place and knowing what you need to do to achieve that goal will enable you to stay motivated and on track to realizing this goal.
Step Two: Start Small
Don’t start after the weekend or at the beginning of the month, start now but start small. All you need is a pair of trainers, shorts and a t-shirt. Go for a light run or high intense walk. After 5-10 minutes you will soon see that it’s not so hard. If that doesn’t take your fancy just yet, why not try 10 push ups/sit ups. For those who are getting back into a fitness regime this would probably be enough to start the heart pumping.
Step Three: Switching of Habits
When you arrive home from work you sit in front of the sofa for the rest of the evening, switch this for 10 minutes of abs work. Driving in to town at the weekend? Walk instead. As we’ve discussed before, steps do not need to be drastic but need to be engrained into the psyche to enable your motivation to remain. It’s important to remember though not to totally eradicate time in the sofa, just counter act it with active alternatives.
Step Four: Don’t do it alone
If possible try to exercise in a pair or small groups. Being part of a team is the most productive way of staying motivated. If you’re having one of ‘those days’ nothing will boost your motivation as a friend encouraging you to carry. Motivation and goal setting will come that much easier if you have someone else pushing you along.
Step Five: Take It Easy
Injuries such as sprains and strains are most common to occur at the beginning of your exercise regime. If you push yourself to far you will only damage your body, which in the short term will lead to a lack of motivation to continue, in the long term, you could be causing some serious damage to your body. Always make people aware of what you are doing and if you currently have any long term health problems wear some form of personalised medical alert jewellery. This way if you where to have an accident whilst exercising, medical professionals would be aware of any long standing conditions.
From here it is up to you. We have given you the key tips to go out there and start exercising. Good luck.
Robert Bird is a sports coach who works closely with those who have not exercised for a long period of time.