written by Michelle March 21, 2020
We get it – maintaining a consistent fitness routine can be tough. A busy schedule at work, illness, family issues, travel, and the unpredictability of life in general right now can easily derail your best intentions to stick to your workout schedule. But here’s the thing – as challenging as maintaining your fitness can be, it’s still easier than having to rebuild it from scratch!
Never mind the associated guilt that comes from letting yourself down, the lack of energy that comes from not moving, or the discomfort of putting on a few extra pounds! So we’ve compiled the best research-backed tips that you can implement immediately to help you stay on track.
Find a virtual workout buddy
Studies consistently show that if you have a buddy to exercise with, you are much more likely to stick with your program. During this time of virtual distancing, why not recruit a virtual buddy to keep you accountable? If you can, try to find more than one virtual workout partner to increase the chances that there will always be someone to keep you motivated.
Through trial and error I have found that the key to a good workout buddy is to find one that has a similar level of fitness and dedication that you have. You can also join a health and fitness facebook group online, stay virtually accountable with a friend, or lean on your furry four legged buddy at home – they need daily exercise too!
Do less than you can
This may seem counterintuitive, but setting the bar too high and creating too long or challenging of a routine can actually work against you. If working out for 45 minutes or an hour feels onerous then simply commit to doing less or it will feel like a chore rather than something you look forward to. If you are feeling good or find you have extra energy once you’ve gotten through a shorter workout, you can always do more!
Start by simply showing up
On days that you’re feeling really unmotivated, promise yourself that you’ll at least show up. This mental trick works really well because once you’ve put in the effort to get prepared (whether it’s at the gym, outside on the street / field, or standing in front of your computer with a workout already cued up) your mind doesn’t want to waste the effort you already put in, and your surrounding will do the rest.
Hire a coach
Hiring a professional to keep you accountable is a great way to ensure that you not only stay motivated, but that you reach your personal goals in the most efficient way possible. A good coach knows how to tailor workouts based on your current fitness level, medical conditions and injuries, time constraints, and available equipment (or lack thereof).
They will provide you with the correct training dose that takes into consideration your life and the current stressors you are dealing with (most of us have a LOT of them right now). They’ll let you know when it’s time to push and when it’s time to recover. To inquire about a personalized, professional, home-based workout program or to sign up for ongoing at-home coaching, email us here.
Make it as convenient as possible
Research has shown that the proximity of where you workout to your home is the key to more frequent exercise. In fact, if your fitness routine requires you to travel too far of a distance or is too inconvenient, it will likely hinder you from working out. This is pretty easy to do now when we’re all home-bound anyway, so why not tune into one of our favourite free online fitness blogs, or download a new fitness app. When life returns to normal, why consider joining your local gym.
Schedule your workout the right way
Try and schedule your workout at the same (less busy) time each day and block it off in your calendar like you would any other meeting or appointment. This way it won’t be easily pushed aside by other ‘more urgent’ things (like binge-watching Netflix or scrolling through your facebook feed). First thing in the morning, around lunch hour, or right after work seem to be good time slots for most people.
Always have a backup plan
Anticipate situations that might derail your workout plans and have alternative plans in place. I recommend you use the ‘If…then’ formula. For example, know ahead of time that IF it is cold and wet outside when you want to jog, THEN you will go to the gym instead, or IF your local gym has to close for a few weeks, THEN you will take an online exercise class instead or join our facebook page for free home-based workouts.
Give yourself some leeway, but set your bare minimum
The easiest way to keep a habit going is to simply not break it in the first place. Taking too much time off makes it much harder to find the motivation to start up again. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself a bit of slack during really busy or challenging times – but commit to maintaining the bare minimum that you set for yourself. This could be one day a week or three…. Personally, when I started working out, I promised myself that I would always exercise at least three times a week (even though my norm is six), and for the most part, I’ve been able to maintain my bare minimum for years.
Create and display prompts
Prompts are signals or cues that serve as reminders to initiate a behaviour or action, and are incredibly helpful when trying to build or maintain a habit. Prompts can be as simple as setting an alert on your calendar or cell phone when it’s time to exercise or laying out your workout clothes in front of the door where you can see them or having a friend text you that it’s time for exercise. Just make sure these prompts are obvious enough that you can’t easily (dis)miss them.
Track your progress
Tracking the number of times you worked out per week and seeing black X’s on your calendar can give you a great sense of accomplishment. Seeing improvements you’ve made, such as amount of weight lifted, number of miles run, or even inches that you’ve shed, can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster. Track the indicator that is the most meaningful and motivating to you and don’t shy away from posting it on our facebook page to help motivate others.
We would love to know what tips you use to ensure you stick to your current routine and stay motivated? Comment below!