Every year, we make New Year’s resolutions like, “This is the year I’m going to join a gym, lose 20 pounds and transform myself into a sex kitten.”
When August rolls around, the year that started out with our bouncing out of bed at 5 a.m. to hit the treadmill has turned into another one in which a gym membership is no longer used. According to virtual personal trainer and body transformation specialist Mark Woodgate, for every 10 people who start an exercise program, seven will become exercise dropouts after six months. Find out how you can avoid going from exercise junkie to exercise flunky.
With over 25 years in the personal training business and having owned a gym, Mark Woodgate is no stranger to the excuses people invent for their stopping their exercise routine. Those excuses range from boredom and being too busy to lacking motivation and not seeing the results they’d hoped for.
Exercise in a way that’s fun for you
If you’re not a fan of working out, the key is to find an activity you enjoy. If you hate pounding the pavement, perhaps you’d like swimming or playing tennis. A group fitness class like body combat is a great way to work out pent-up aggression and burn up to 740 calories in 50 minutes. Or maybe you’d prefer to play a team sport or to take up ice hockey. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to change it up so you don’t grow bored with your exercise program.
Be accountable to someone
Find a gym or workout buddy. It’s a lot harder to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep in the morning if you know your friend is counting on you to show up so you can work out together. If you can’t find a friend, find a personal trainer. Their job is to motivate you, encourage you and make you accountable for your actions. If you don’t belong to a gym, try one of the many online virtual personal trainers all across the globe, who can provide you with the support and encouragement you need.
“One of the most common excuses I hear is, ‘I just don’t have the time,'” says Woodgate. It’s funny how busy people seem to find the time to do the things they really want to do. “They’re too busy to exercise, but they’ll find time to sit on the couch and watch their favourite TV show.” It’s all about priorities, people!
How important is your health and fitness? Instead of sleeping in, set the alarm clock to go off 30 minutes earlier than when you’re due to get up, and go for a brisk 30-minute walk. Instead of sitting down and watching sports on TV, find a team, and get involved.
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Take baby steps
You can’t expect to go from being a couch potato to running a marathon and throwing out every last bit of chocolate in the fridge in the first week, so start out gradually. Making one small change each week will be easier than going cold turkey right away. In the first week of your new lifestyle, start out with something as simple as going for a walk two days a week. The following week, step it up a notch, or cut back on your favourite treats.
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Don’t get discouraged
You’ve sweated, you’ve gasped, pounded the pavement and pumped weights, and still the needle on the scale hasn’t budged. It’s enough to make you wonder why you bother, right? Just remember that when you exercise, you turn body fat into muscle. Muscle is leaner, which means it takes up less room than fat does but weighs more. To avoid spiralling into an “I don’t know why I bother” depression, take your body measurements. You might have dropped a dress size, but because you have blossoming biceps, it deceptively doesn’t translate well on the scales.
Find your motivation
Set goals in achievable, bite-sized pieces, and reward yourself when you achieve them. For example, after losing your first 5 pounds, instead of celebrating with pie, get yourself some sexy lingerie or a new top. Listening to motivational, mood-boosting music or cutting out a picture of a celebrity you’d like to look like and sticking it to the fridge are other ideas to help keep you motivated. Or why not take before and after photos so you can see your results?