Sticking with a routine for a healthy lifestyle takes ongoing dedication and commitment. But it also takes some common sense, balance, and a game plan that works. Here are some things that I have learned over the years that might help you.
Some Tips to Keep It Going
Coming off the annual Fantastic Four, many of you have achieved remarkable results in a brief ten-week period. You dropped weight while gaining strength and endurance. You’re looking and feeling better than you have in months, maybe years. But now comes the hard part! I know what you’re thinking, the ten-weeks was the hard part. No, that was just the start. Sticking with a routine for a healthy lifestyle takes ongoing dedication and commitment. But it also takes some common sense, balance, and a game plan that works. Here are some things that I have learned over the years that might help you.
First of all do it for yourself, meaning not for a scheduled event in your life which always turns out to be short term. Fitness is a long-term commitment. In fact, it’s a forever commitment. But it can’t be conquered in a day or a week or even ten weeks. So pacing yourself is a key component of success. Woody Guthrie had a saying which applies to exercise, “Take it easy, but take it.” Be committed, sure, but don’t overdo it! Hours at the gym don’t make you thinner or feel better; they will just wear you out and break you down physically and mentally until you dread even the thought of a workout. Don’t go there.
Here’s something I can’t emphasize enough – Strength train! The mentality of cardio, cardio, cardio and little or no strength training can actually work in reverse. Instead of building muscle and burning calories you’re burning calories and cannibalizing muscle. Remember this: muscle burns calories, even when you’re away from the gym. Also, keep in mind that physical strength correlates to longevity. The stronger you are and remain, the longer you’re likely to be around, and the more robust you’re likely to be. So strength train, please.
Here’s another important concept that I always preach: Mix it up! Incorporate many different styles and types of workouts; variety is what will make you succeed. It will also keep you mentally stimulated and physically challenged, which are key to sticking with it and getting great results.
Work within your limits; remember a workout shouldn’t feel like a competition other than with your physical self. Keeping at your own pace or modifying a movement doesn’t make you any less than another. It will, in the long run, make you stronger, so be wise. Build up gradually and acknowledge your weaknesses even as you seek to strengthen them. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. And you’ll only set yourself back if you get hurt overdoing it.
Another idea that works – Work out with a friend. Just knowing you are going to meet another will make you accountable and motivate you.
I could go on: Get used to a routine. Track your progress. And don’t forget to celebrate – but within reason! If you follow some or all of these simple guidelines, you’ll have a lot to be celebrating. Enjoy your healthier, fitter self – you’ve earned it!
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About the Author
Corinne Brown is a Fitness Professional with over 30 years experience. She is the co-founder and co-owner of Fitness Incentive.