If you don't love your workout, you aren't as likely to...
1. Do it.
2. Stick with it.
No one jumps out of bed in the morning, throws off the covers, and dashes off with excitement to do something they dread. If you want to be a regular exerciser, my first bit of advice is to find a form or two of exercise you love. You won't have to drag yourself to do something you love. But there's one other secret to committing to exercise and loving your workouts long-term. You've got to make sure you establish a good routine and avoid getting into an exercise ruts.
"Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach." -- Anthony Robbins
So what's the difference between a rut and a routine?
A routine is all about established habits. A rut is about feeling stuck. And yes, you can have a routine without being stuck in a rut. Let's take a deeper look at some of the differences between being stuck in a rut, or having a routine:
What does an exercise rut look like?
If you do the same form of exercise all the time, you might get bored. And worse, you might not see any results. Remember the famous Albert Einstein quote? "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Love that. Your body gets used to the same old workout if you do it all the time (and especially if you do it the same way all the time). You don't have to give up on your favorite exercise, just mix it up.
A rut means your workout has become easy for your body and no longer challenges your body. In order to see weight loss, improve muscle tone, or increase your cardiovascular endurance, you've got to change things up.
How to Get Out of an Exercise Rut
• If you are only doing steady state cardio, add weight training.
• Vary your intensity. You can mix up your intensity in multiple ways. If you typically run a 10-minute mile, try running a nine-minute mile. Push yourself a little bit. If you take group fitness classes, focus more on your technique, put more effort into the class, or use heavier hand weights. When you change, it will lead to change in your body.
• Add intervals to your workouts. Alternate bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity. You can add intervals to any activity. If you wanted to add intervals to a walk, you could mix up walking at a leisurely pace by two to three minutes of full on power walking. You will burn more calories and surprise your body too.
• Venture out of your comfort zone and try a new form of exercise. Even if you love what you currently do, chances are there's another form of exercise you will love too. If you love more than one form of exercise, it will be easier to keep your weekly routine mixed up.
• Add some time to your workout. If you are used to working out for 30 minutes, try 45 minutes.
• Add a group fitness class that focuses on muscle building, or use your own body weight to do some muscle-building moves.
• If you are in a sedentary rut, go on a quest to find one form of exercise that appeals to you. Devote one month to trying different forms until you find a workout you can't live without.
• Grab a friend or family member to exercise with you for accountability and the social time.
What does an exercise routine look like?
If you've always wanted to be one of those regular exercisers who commits to working out, the key is establishing a healthy routine. View routine as an outline or plan for your healthy lifestyle, but what you choose to do each day to meet that plan can change. A routine doesn't mean every week looks the same, it just means you have healthy habits that are automatic.
How to Establish an Exercise Routine
• Each day the question isn't whether you are going to exercise, the question is: What exercise am I going to do? It's exercise on auto-pilot. Make exercise part of your day.
• Take a form of exercise you love and keep it fresh by varying up the intensity, the duration or adding some intervals.
• Vary the exercise your do from day to day. Maybe you jog, walk, take yoga, do some body weight exercises and a HIIT class all in one week. Prevent yourself from getting stuck on just one form of exercise.
• Come up with a system or framework for the amount of exercise you get each week, but what you do may vary.
• Devote time to cardio and strength training.
• Be open to change and new ideas. (Hint: Ask fitness friends what they do for exercise. You might stumble upon a new idea you love.)
• Set some rules for yourself. I never go more than two days in a row without exercise even if I am traveling. That's a healthy habit rule I keep.
• Mix up your music playlist. Music motivates. Let it work for you.
• Aim to get a certain amount of steps every day and to sit less every day to embrace an active lifestyle. The American Heart Association recommends 10,000 steps a day. There are all sorts of fitness trackers to count those steps for you.
Say goodbye to that dreadful rut and love your fitness routine with these strategies. No longer will you have to devote so much time to wishing your body could be different, because your body will be different!
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