Something about spring makes everyone want to get out and do something. It’s infectious! Some people plant a garden, others wash their cars and some of us decide to finally do it: we’re going to go to the gym. Life might have other plans, though, so what do you do if your schedule makes your workout life difficult or repetitive? Instead of admitting defeat, grabbing the nearest bag of Doritos and promising that you’ll try again tomorrow, change up your plan with a few simple steps.
Figure Out Your Goals
You want the endurance and build of an athlete, but you’ve never lifted weights before. That’s okay! Everyone starts somewhere, just make sure that when you start, you don’t overdo it. Make a mental note of everything you can do in the gym and go from there. Do you want to:
• Lose fat?
• Build muscle?
• Focus on aerobic exercises?
There’s always a way to incorporate what you know! Even if you’ve never had a workout routine before, you can always do something like talk with a fitness forum online to get advice or try out some new apps to see which routine works for you. Even if you want to include a fitness class like Zumba or yoga in your schedule, there’s always a way to work in what you want to do. All you have to do is find the best method for you!
Whether you decide on your goals and create a routine on your own or with some help, make sure not to push yourself too hard. The idea is to gradually increase the intensity of your routine over time. You have to be in it for the long run! (Get it?)
Make It a Habit
This part is the trickiest. It’s easy to get super pumped about workout ideas and order new Nikes to celebrate, but committing to your routine is a whole different challenge. The good news is that everyone can personalize this step as well. Here are just a few ideas to help you make your fitness goals a habit.
- Write every workout on your calendar. Don’t keep a calendar? Maybe now’s the time to start! Look for a free template online. Some might even include bonus workout challenges so you don’t get bored in your routine.
- Commit to exercising for at least 30 days. The idea is that if you work out regularly for this long, your daily schedule will feel lacking without a workout. Interestingly, science has proven that it actually takes 66 days to make an action automatic, but that number is way scarier than 30 days, so commit to a month and see where you want to go from there!
- Make sure to shake things up. Not only will the same workout routine get repetitive and boring after a while, but depending on your goals, your workouts could actually keep you from achieving what you started for in the first place. Everyone’s body will react with different timing, but narrow fitness routines create plateaus that stop weight loss. If this is your goal, consider switching machines or changing which weights you use.
Don’t Forget Your Greens
One of the most important things to know about working out before you start is that you’ll have to make a special effort to adjust your diet. If you’re eating bad foods but working out like a pro, your body won’t be able to perform the exercises you want to do. This is an aspect to working out that’s just as important as figuring out a routine.
Not only will eating healthy be good for your workouts, but it will make your everyday life better as well! Eating breakfast every day gives you the energy and nutrients needed for exercising, especially if you choose complex carbs over the refined alternatives. Don’t skip out on breakfast for a cup of coffee—your body needs that fuel!
Another dietary change to consider is increasing protein consumption after your workout. If you goal is to build muscle, it’ll be important to eat protein after leaving the gym. Proteins are made of amino acids, which synthesize muscle and provide better results. You’ll have to calculate how much protein you need to eat based on your body weight, so unless building muscle is something you want to do, don’t worry about it too much.
Take No Excuses!
This goes for everyone! No matter what you decide your workout is going to be, do not give up. Even if you actually can’t make it to the gym, there are other alternatives to get you moving. You can always take a sunset walk around where you live, or do an extra couple loops around the grocery store when you’re out running errands.
If you have time to get out but can’t stand the thought of going to the gym for another workout session, try hiking! Hiking a mountain trail or walking around a local park has been proven to change the way our brains work and improve our mental health. So get out and enjoy some nature!
Don’t have time to drive to a park? Household chores can prove to be a workout as well. Everyone knows that washing the car or mowing the lawn can leave you feeling just as exhausted as a weight lifting class at the gym, but you can find other workouts where you live too!
• Scrub your bathroom top to bottom. You know you need to!
• Wash those windows. It’s been a while since they’ve been clean.
• Paint that living room like you know you’ve always wanted to.
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• If you have a dog, take them for a walk! Even better, see if you can bike alongside your pet.
Get creative with what you have and you’ll never have to miss a workout!
Go, Go, Go!
Now that you have some ideas for how to make your own workouts, go out and try! Try your first routine, then change it around and try something new. Just because you aren’t at a gym doesn’t mean you can’t get your heart rate up. The key is to try, so get motivated and go chase your goals!