How to love your workouts
By Ashley Husbands—
Most of us at one point or another have the thought that maybe we would like to start working out. Sometimes we look at other people who exercise and think how much we would like to have the body, stamina or energy that they have but don’t know how to get there. Many people make New Year’s Resolutions vowing to lose ten pounds, get visible abs, etc., but many times we only see them in the gym for a few weeks and then they gradually fade out. This is because upon deciding we want to work out, many of us go to the gym and feel lost as to what we should be doing. When we go to the gym without a goal or plan, it can often feel pointless and we become discouraged quickly. The following 5 simple tips can help us better set ourselves up for starting new workout plans and sticking to them.
- Make time for it. I say this with love and good intentions, but also with the sternness some of us need. You are not too busy. If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it work. You may not have enough time to work out as long as you would like, or you might need to change the time you plan to exercise now and then, but busyness is not an excuse to never work out. I know it is difficult—I work an overnight shift job full-time in addition to another part-time job and 15 hours of classes, but I still trained for months for a marathon I ran last weekend. Again, if you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. Maybe you have to run after work sometimes even though you are tired, or some days maybe all you can do is 10 minutes of core exercises and pushups while you wait for your Hamburger Helper to cool off, and that is ok. Just make time for something.
- Consistency. All things worth having take time and patience to work at and develop, so why would results you desire from working out be any different? Many people exercise for a week or so and then when they don’t see immediate results, they give up. Great things take time. Consistently make time in your schedule to exercise and stick with it. However, if you miss a day, it is not the end of the world. Pick up where you left off and try to be as consistent as possible from that point forward.
- Enjoy it. Personally I love distance running, but you may not and that is totally fine! Some days you will not even feel like doing things you normally enjoy and guess what, you don’t have to do them. If you don’t feel like running that day, then go swim, bike, play soccer with your friends, try a new sport, shoot some hoops, jump rope, anything. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, you will not stick with it. Make your workouts something you look forward to. Don’t be afraid to try something new; you may be surprised by what you enjoy. On one of my off-days I decided to try yoga and it has now become one of my favorite forms of exercise. You may find something that you love that you never even expected!
- Fit it to your individual needs. If you need more time alone, work out alone and make that your time to yourself. If you need more of a social atmosphere in your life, join a class or invite your friends to exercise with you. Maybe you need more time outside in the fresh air–do your activities outside. If you are stressed, make your workout time a peaceful thing in your life. Whatever you need, mold your exercise routine to that. What works for someone else doesn’t always work for you and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You are a unique person with individual needs; do not neglect what you personally need to fit a certain mold of what everyone else thinks you should be doing or a current trend. Do what makes you feel best.
- Take care of your body. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Being dehydrated will make any workout miserable or much less successful than it could have been. Eat healthy and eat enough, but be careful not to make the mistake of thinking that because you ran a mile today that you can splurge where your diet is concerned. Forming good eating habits while exercising can be tricky, but if you listen to your body, eat when you are hungry, and choose healthy foods, you are unlikely to go wrong. If your bones or tendons hurt (I am not talking about sore muscles–those are good), take some time off and ice them. It is better to take a day off and fix an injury than to let it become an issue that you will battle for months or even years and that could keep you away from exercise much longer than the day or two you had to take off to fix it.
Happy exercising! Feel free to email me with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at @TSULivingWell #workouts . I hope you all have a lovely week and I look forward to hearing about how your exercise routines are going!