7 ways to stick to your exercise routine

8 October 2014 by
First published: 8 October 2014

Got all the right intentions but lacking a little drive? Here are health and fitness coach Jamie Lloyd’s 7 ways to stick to your exercise routine

It’s easy to make excuses not to exercise. I’ve heard them all! Too tired, too busy, can’t afford it, it’s too cold… What you need is motivation to turn inspiration into perspiration – and stick at it!

1. Learn to love exercise

Exercise shouldn’t be a chore – it’s important to remember that no one is forcing you to work out. The more enjoyable your workout is, the more likely you are to stick with it. Don’t limit yourself to weight machines, TRX and treadmills if this isn’t floating your boat. Try different programs – like Power Yoga or Kickboxing – until you find ones that you really look forward to.

2. Mix it up

Cross-training not only keeps things interesting but it also means you’ll be working various muscle groups and energy systems. Why not switch from using the treadmill to doing eight sets of 30 seconds of kettlebell swings? There’s no need to reinvent your entire routine every week, though – just mix it up a little from what you’re used to, and by the end of the workout, you should be drenched and fatigued.

3. Start slow

Running 10 miles the first time you hit the track won’t make you an Olympian; it will just leave you sore. Or worse; injured. The point is, take it easy when you’re getting started. You might even find that you only run a minute and walk a minute during your first week of training – that’s still better than the previous week, right? Add distance and intensity in slow but steady increments and you’ll get there.

 4. Use a buddy system

When the devil on your shoulder is ordering you to the couch instead of the gym, a workout partner can help get you back on track. It’s easier to bail on the gym than on the friend who’s waiting for you there. Plus, it always helps to have a little healthy competition.

5. Exercise on your time

You might hear or read about guidelines recommending a particular amount of exercise per day, but try telling that to your crazy schedule. It’s a lot harder to make excuses when your routine is convenient. If you work too late to get to a gym, why not keep a set of weights at home? If you can’t do all 30 minutes of exercise at once, try breaking exercise sessions up into 10 or 15-minute bursts. There’s usually an easy solution to whatever’s in the way of your workout.

 6. Form a new habit

Working out should be just as much a habit as combing your hair or brushing your teeth. When you make it part of your daily routine, you won’t even have to think about it. It may take a while to set in, but exercise can be a part of your daily schedule.

7. Set realistic and achievable goals

Aiming to shed 10 pounds in a week is not only unlikely but it’s also extremely unhealthy. Setting impossible goals will only increase your chances of falling off the wagon, so make sure your goals are achievable and easy to follow. For instance, up your days at the gym from two to three, or aim to shift the next weight up by your fourth week.