Many of us set new healthy goals for 2010, but all those good intentions and motivation can start to fizzle - so much so that some may stop exercising altogether. Don't let this happen to you! Keep these six tips in mind to prevent exercise burnout.
- Don't Push Yourself Too Hard - When we first start exercise programs, we're eager beavers and want to go full force with everything we do in order to see instant results. The problem is, doing too much can tire us out or even cause an injury. It's best to push yourself during a few workouts a week, and then go easy for a few workouts. Also be sure to give yourself days to rest your body completely, because the next day you'll crave exercise.
- Set Mini Goals Instead of One Big One - Setting big goals can be a great motivator to get you psyched about starting an exercise program, but it's hard keep up the momentum when reaching that big goal is far in the future. You'll find more success sticking with your regular exercise routine if you set little goals. See them as steps on the way to your big goal. If you want toned arms, set a goal to do 30 push-ups each day. If you want to lose weight for your wedding, set the goal of losing a pound each week. Reaching mini goals boosts your confidence and naturally inspires you to set more small goals for your next workout.
- Don't Expect Too Much Too Soon - Many of us start exercising because we want to lose weight, or get six-pack abs, or shape up for a beach vacation. These are great goals, but they take time to reach. Don't get frustrated if you don't get instantly buff or see the scale budge. Keep in mind that slow and steady wins the race, and although you may not drop three jeans sizes in a week, keeping up with your plan will get you there eventually.
- Mix Up Your Workouts - I'm definitely a creature of habit, but when it comes to exercising, getting stuck in a rut doing the same things over and over is sure to lead to boredom. And when you're bored, you're less likely to continue working out. Try mixing up your routine by using different pieces of equipment, checking out new fitness classes or activities, working out in different places like in the woods or at a rock climbing gym, or even just mixing up the order in which you do your routine. A little change will fire up your mind and also challenge your muscles in different ways, making them stronger.
- Schedule Your Workouts - If you plan out your exercise schedule and write it in your planner or add it to you calendar on your phone, you're more likely to stick with it. Set up appointments with a trainer, map out fitness classes you want to go to, make dates with a fitness buddy, or plan longer weekend workouts such as hikes or ski trips. If you're into working out alone, write down what type of workout you'll do each day: Monday, run and strength train upper body; Wednesday, swim and strength train lower body; Friday, yoga class; Saturday, bike ride with hubby. Schedule your workouts one week at a time, or if you're really into being organized, schedule a whole month.
- Don't Make Getting to Workouts Complicated - If you have to drive 30 minutes to get to your gym, or take four different buses, or pick up your friend who's 20 minutes out of your way, you're going to get so frustrated you'll want to give up on workouts entirely. Aim for the most convenient way to exercise by picking a gym that's close to your office or home, meeting your friend at a nearby park for a run, or ditching the travel time completely and sweating it out at home. If it's easy to work out, you'll be more likely to follow through.
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