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Most people start an exercise program with serious motivation and plenty of good intentions. As the weeks continue and the results aren’t happening as fast as they think they should, many people get discouraged and give up. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Getting into shape isn’t easy, but if you have the desire to be healthier, that’s the first part of the battle. Here are several secrets to starting an exercise program and sticking with it:
1. Make it Personal
If you have the opportunity to get in on some personal training at the gym or in private, you should certainly consider it. While it often costs extra to get a personal trainer, some gyms offer these services for free if you’re a member.
Personal trainers help you develop a customized workout plan, they teach you the proper techniques, so you don’t get hurt, they make sure you’re using your time wisely, they keep you accountable and offer lots of motivation, and lastly, they track your progress so you see results.
2. Do It for You
People work out for a lot of reasons. Some want to look better for an upcoming event, while others hope to lose weight, and some simply enjoy the activity. It’s important you’re exercising for you, as simply doing it to impress old classmates at a high school reunion isn’t enough motivation to stick with it. Once the event is over, you’ll likely drop your workout program altogether. Find a way to enjoy the activity and work toward a healthful goal that encourages you to keep going beyond what you ever thought you could.
3. Take it Slow
Don’t try to do too much too soon. Your brain may tell you it’s okay to run ten miles on your first day, but the only thing you’ll accomplish is getting sore and possibly injured. Take it slowly in the beginning to avoid injury and discouragement. You may only be able to run a quarter mile at first. However, it won’t be long before it becomes easier, and you can challenge yourself even further.
4. Keep it Interesting
Doing the same exercise routine day in and day out gets old fast. Besides that, parts of your body get neglected. To keep exercise interesting, mix it up a little with different types of workouts. On Mondays, you might use the elliptical, while Wednesdays might be a cardio day. On Friday, change it up again by making that your lift day. You don’t have to constantly change your workout schedule but mixing it up in this manner enables you to work your entire body while having something different to do to keep your workout fun.
5. Get a Workout Buddy
Having a workout buddy can significantly increase your desire to workout as well as how much you work out, according to one study. When you come home from a hard day at work and all you want to do is hit the couch, knowing your friend is waiting for you at the gym will make it much more difficult to back out. If your motivation dwindles and you just can’t seem to stay focused, your workout buddy will be there to help get you back on track.
Exercise isn’t something everyone likes to do, but it’s something everyone should pursue to stay healthy and fit. If you’ve got more good intentions than motivation to workout, use the tips mentioned above to start an exercise program and stick with it.