2017 is just around the corner and it is that time of the year when both young and old party like crazy and then make new year’s resolutions to lose weight or start doing yoga or hit the gym! Which is great! New Year’s Eve is always a good time to start afresh with new vigour, energy and enthusiasm. But do remember that though starting a fitness program is fine, sticking with it will take commitment. If you want results, then you will have to start thinking of fitness as a journey and not a destination. Ask anyone who has achieved serious results, they will tell you that “Fitness is not a goal that you achieve one fine day and then you are done with it! It is something that you strive for throughout your life.”
Fitness Trainers for the Fitness Enthusiast
Difficulties and roadblocks are par for the course when you are on a journey. But that should not discourage you from abandoning your fitness program. For some people, just getting started is the hardest part. While some people have a fiery start but will do it so vigorously that they will get injured and are forced to stop.
To get the best shot to success which is a lifelong commitment to fitness you must stay motivated. Exercising has to become as natural a habit as brushing your teeth or taking a bath. Because in the end of it all, committing to exercise is worth it! By inculcating the right attitude and the right frame of mind to go with it, anyone can stay motivated to exercise, lose weight and get toned and slim enough to get into those gorgeous clothes that you find at the all those new stores like H&M, Zara and Vero Moda! If you do not feel motivated to exercise and have time and again started and abandoned fitness programs, then it is not because you don’t have it in you or that you are destined to fail. But it is because you haven’t identified and activated your motivational mojo!
Understand What Motivates You
At Wellintra, we have seen that there is that segment of our clients (about 25%) who continue to use our services month after month and the rest who start with a fitness program like Yoga or Pilates and then drop off after a couple of months. The ones who commit and stick to a fitness program are self-motivated. This class of people are more likely to stick with an exercise program than those who rely on external forms of motivation such as an impending wedding date or a vacation. If your motivation to work out is internal, then you are working out because you are doing the activity for yourself because you enjoy it and because you want to look and feel better or you want to become healthy.
External motivation comes from outside and you are working out to please someone else or to attain some goal like a 10 kg weight loss or to fit into new clothes. In a scenario like this you are more focused on the outcome than the process. I am not saying that external motivation has no place in the process. An occasional reward like a new jeans or a pair of shoes could be just the boost that you need to keep your fitness regime going. But if you are only focussed on the rewards then you tend to lose out on your intrinsic motivation and you exercise less for the fun and enjoyment and more for the rewards.
The bottom line is this – You will be much more motivated if you can continue a fitness activity as something that you want to do for yourself only.
Creating an Action Plan
Getting started on a fitness plan can be a drag for most people. But with New Year’s eve around the corner, initiative should not be found lacking. You may have a had a thousand excuses for not exercising. You may find exercising boring or you are too busy and do not have time to spare for one more activity in your life. You may think that your family and friends deserve more of your time. You may also feel that exercise equipment and health club fees or personal training fees is above what you can afford.
The moment you start thinking about exercise, a whole lot of negative thoughts can arise,: “I know I’ll never be able to continue” or “I do not have the time for this” or “I’ll injure myself” etc. etc. But let us inform you that a lot of people who are now addicted to working out or doing yoga once felt the same way and had the same excuses. Follow the below steps to start changing your belief system:
Try and take some time out to recognize what does and what does not motivate you. Think about your previous experiences. Think about what worked and what did not. Think about what you can learn from the past experiences. What could help you this time around. Maybe you joined a gym and were self-consious about your image. How about hiring a personal trainer to train you at your home instead? Maybe you get easily bored with weight training? How about joining a yoga class or a Zumba class instead?
2. Ask for Support
The odds for success for any endeavour is always highest when you have the support of those around you. Try and develop friendships and relationships with physically active people. Go to the nearest park and make friends with the local power yoga trainer and try out a free trial session and then decide whether you would like to continue or not.
3. Start Gradually
The most common mistake is starting a fitness program at a high intensity. If your body is not accustomed to vigorous exercise, you may end up injuring your joints, ligaments and muscles. The resulting pain and stiffness can put you off exercise temporarily if not permanently. It is always a good idea to start slowly and progress to higher intensity workouts gradually.
4. Choose Fun Activities
One of the major reasons that most people stop doing a particular activity is boredom. If you find your aerobics or power yoga class boring or if you find running on a treadmill to be a dull activity, then you are going to make up all sorts of excuses to avoid these activities. Bottom line is – Find activities that you enjoy doing.
5. Take Small Steps
Be realistic in your goals and continue to evaluate them. If you set improbably goals then it is easy to get frustrated when you don’t reach them in due course of time. For example if you are currently inactive then setting a goal of running a marathon in 3 months is not only unrealistic but dangerous to your mind and body. Be more specific in your goals. Instead of saying something like, “I will be more active this month” you could set a goal of taking the stairs instead of the lift every time you reach your office or apartment building. Write your goals down and place them where you can see them. Seeing your goals everyday can keep you motivated.
6. Monitor Your Progress
Keep track as you go along. When you start monitoring your progress, you reinforce your new habit, feel good about your accomplishments and also receive a boost to help set more advanced goals.
7. Plan for Exercise
Reserve a time slot every day for some physical activity and consider that time as sacrosanct. If you wait to find time, you will never be able to start. Schedule your personal trainer appointments on your calendar much like you would an appointment at the salon, the doctor or an important meeting.
8. Reward Yourself
After every workout or yoga session, take some time out to sit down and relax. Enjoy the good feelings that a good workout or yoga session provides and reflect on what you have just accomplished. This is a form of internal reward system that will encourage you to work out more often and help you stick to your routine.
9. Enjoy the Feelings
Whenever you feel low or not in the mood for a workout, just try and recall how good your mind and body feels post a workout or yoga session. Use images of successful experiences to remind you of how good physical activity makes you feel.
10. Accept the Down Days
Even regular die-hard fitness addicts have those days when they would rather just stay at home and watch TV, rather than make the effort of getting up and working out. Accept that you may have a few of these days every once in a while. Just shrug it off, recharge your batteries and hit the gym the next day!
Atin Dasgupta is the founder of Wellintra Fitness and is an artist-entrepreneur who makes music and builds digital-first businesses in his spare time!
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