By: Alcides Alvarado
Sometimes life happens and we can get a little off track. Family commitments pop up, sickness kicks in, or you get stuck with overtime at work. Then all of a sudden your exercise routine goes from regular to non-existent. I know what it’s like to have a really good routine and then something unexpected happens. You miss a few workouts and then all of a sudden you’re in a rut. So the question is—how do you get back into routine? If you have found yourself a little off track and needing a motivation boost, here are some of my tips on how to restart your exercise habit and get back into a healthy routine.
1. Just start with something easy.
If you are really struggling to get back into exercising and feeling totally overwhelmed by it all, sometimes it can be useful to just start with something easy. If going to do a big weights session at the gym is too much, then get outside and go for a brisk walk or a light jog, just to get moving. As soon as you start with something small and feel good from that, you’ll want to continue on and get back into your healthy habits.
2. Set fitness goals
One of the most important things you should do when starting exercising after a long break is to set fitness goals. It can be anything from losing a few pounds, toning up the body to taking part in an athletic event. Writing your goal down and posting it in a visible place will help you stay motivated and reach your goal.
3. Set up your workout schedule
Next step is to set up your workout schedule. When you have a scheduled plan, it’s easier to stay motivated and on track with your fitness goal. Your workout schedule should be balanced with both strength training and cardio exercises. Don’t forget to do some stretching before your workout.
4. Commit to five minutes.
If a long workout feels like too much, then just commit to working out for five minutes. A commitment of five minutes is a lot less daunting than a full workout. Once you are up and moving, you will more than likely keep going. So start with five minutes and see where you end up.
5. Remember how good it makes you feel.
Sometimes we focus too much on the effort of it, rather than the outcome. The thing with a workout is while it can be hard in the moment, you will always feel absolutely amazing afterwards. So, if you need something to help you refocus and motivate you, just remember that post-workout high. Aside from some sore muscles, you will never regret a workout.
6.Schedule it in your diary.
If you are looking for an excuse to not workout, then you will find an opportunity for a distraction to deter you. That’s why it’s important to clear your schedule and make time specifically for your daily exercise. Make sure it’s scheduled for a time that you won’t get easily distracted. If you know that you get caught up at work in the evenings, then schedule your workout in the mornings. If mornings are too busy, then schedule your workout in the evenings. If you know it’s going to be a crazy busy day, then just commit to a quick fifteen-minute HIIT session, as doing something is always better than doing nothing.
7. Prepare your gym bag.
What if exercising in the morning used to be your thing, but now you struggle to get up early? Prepare your gym bag the night before and lay it next to your bed. Put your alarm on the other side of the room so when it goes off, you will have to get out of bed to turn it off. Once you are out of bed and your gym bag is already packed, you may as well get up and go. If you go to the gym after work, place your gym bag next to your desk. This will act as a good reminder of what you have committed to and you will be less likely to back out.
8.Get an exercise buddy.
It’s very easy to pull out of your workout if it’s just yourself you have to answer to. Having a friend, work colleague or family member to workout with is a great way to boost motivation, hold each other accountable and stick to your workout routine. It also adds a social aspect, which brings a little more fun back into working out
9.Don’t just think gym.
Being fit and healthy isn’t just about going to the gym every day. Find ways to mix up your workouts and incorporate other exercises that you enjoy into your routine. Picking up social sports, going for a jog on the beach, or simply walking the dog are all great ways to stay fit and healthy.
10 .Do it for yourself, not anyone else.
I always say, “Don’t work-out for anyone else but you.” Being fit and healthy should be about making yourself feel great, having confidence and aiming to be your best. Remember to do this for you, not for anyone else or for how they think you should look. Each time you exercise, know that you have done something good for yourself and celebrate that.
Remember habits are created by the consistent daily activities we chose to put our time towards. So the more consistent you are with your exercise routine, the easier it is to form healthy habits. Once it’s a habit, you just go on autopilot and exercising is part of your daily life.