How to stay motivated – exercise tips for beginners

How to stay motivated for 2015 fBe realistic
It’s great to have big aspirations when it comes to getting fit but, you’ve got to be realistic. If you tell yourself you are going to run ten miles three times a week but realistically can only fit two hours exercise in per week,it’s likely you are going to be continually disappointed which is a dead cert for contributing to a lack of motivation. Consider how much time you can spare, what budget you can set aside without over committing and whether it is sustainable over a set period of time. Start small so good habits are formed and gradually increase your targets as you get fitter. A great place to start is by downloading an app which will help guide you and track your progress effectively.

Set yourself a goal
The London Marathon doesn’t have to be your goal, start with something small and work your way up. Perhaps your local 5k run or a local triathlon. Setting a goal gives you an excellent point of focus and encourages you to get fit within a timescale so you are less likely to slack. If you are really brave, do it for charity and apply even more pressure to yourself (if that’s what you thrive off!), so you really can’t let others down.

Workout with friends
If you’ve got a workout buddy you are less likely to slack off. It’s great to have a fitness companion who gives you that little extra bit of encouragement when you need it. If you are facing an ‘I can’t be bothered day’, your buddy can be the difference between you staying in and getting out. On a practical note it’s good for safety too.

Get yourself some new workout gear
It’s not about having ‘all the gear and no idea’ it’s about rewarding yourself in advance for your hard work, and creating the mentality of ‘I’ve bought it, so I better use it!’. There’s nothing better than seeing your super cool new fitness gear piled up and ready to go; for extra inspiration add some colour and pattern to your workout wardrobe – it doesn’t have to be all about black and grey anymore. Also, each time you achieve a new goal, you could treat yourself to something nice. It might only be a little something like a new waterbottle, but if you’ve worked for it, treat yourself!

Record your progress
There’s nothing like seeing how far you’ve progressed to inspire you to continue your training. Download an app like Myfitnesspal which tracks your progress and rewards you as you go. It’s great reflecting on where you started and helps you see just how far you can push yourself.

Introduce an element of competition
Competition isn’t for everyone, but you might be surprised out of the context of the school gym hall you might have a competitive streak you didn’t realise existed. Competition encourages you to take a step further and gives you targets to aspire to. It can be great fun too when you remember it is for your benefit and not because you are being forced to participate á la school cross country.

Change your focus
Instead of focusing on getting fit for the sake of losing weight, shift your focus and get fit for fitness-sake or to inspire others around you, perhaps your kids. You can set yourself fitness orientate goals like running further, increased number of repetitions or increased weight and work toward positives instead of obsessing about what the scales say. It’s much more rewarding seeing overall improved fitness than losing the odd pound on the scales.

Make it fun
Too often people force themselves to run or force themselves to hit the gym; if it’s not ‘your thing’, then try something else. There are so many different forms of exercise it seems crazy sticking with something you dislike. That said, there are variations on fitness themes – so if you’ve tried road running and find it boring, why not hit the trails? Or perhaps you could try interval training to spice it up a bit. You can try this fun quiz from the BBC which askes you a series of questions and suggests sports you might like. Try the quiz now.

Do it for you and nobody else.
The main thing to remember is you are getting fit for you – it’s not something you have to do; it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to look after your body and to use it to its full potential. Make the most of it and try new things. It’s important to try and see fitness as an opportunity rather than a punishment and the progress you will make will be enough to spur you on. It’s a great way of meeting new people and broadening your horizons. So, next time you think ‘I can’t be bothered to go to the gym’, try thinking instead ‘I am lucky to be able to go to the gym and who knows what I can achieve?!’.

Posted in January 2015
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