Turn your workouts into a routine – tips from the OP

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So what’s the OP you ask? The Original Procrastinator – and that’s me. I’ve mentioned before that if you ever need an excuse not to workout, I’ve come up with some clever ones! But eventually, I realized I was only hurting myself by not working out regularly. We all know that staying active is good for the body, mind, and soul, but it needs to be done regularly to see the actual benefits. It’s great to attend a fitness class or play a sport once in a while, but if it’s only done once every few weeks, you won’t get the results you want.

I’m someone who went from not working out at all, to working out sometimes, to finally achieving my goal of making my workouts part of my routine. If you need that extra boost to get you off the couch to work out on a regular basis, here are some tips. I’m writing this post as I’m on my couch right now! I’ll balance it out with hitting the gym afterward.

Set SMART goals

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. If you want to reach a particular goal, set a deadline and desired weight and work towards it. If you have a specific deadline to work towards, you’ll be more motivated to go regularly. Working out once a week won’t give you results. Aim for at least 2.5 hours a week. Check out our template to help you set your SMART goals.

Start small and work your way up

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Start by consistently working out once or twice a week. Then, after a month, add a second time, and then add a third time until you reach your goal of consistent exercise. Once fitness becomes a routine, you will start to see results, and it will be harder for you to stop.

Schedule it into your day

You’re more likely to workout if you’ve planned for it. Treat it like an appointment. Block off the time and don’t swap it for drinks with friends, or other tempting activities. However, you also need to be flexible. If you must attend an event the night that you have your workout scheduled, reschedule it to another day in the week to make sure that you’re still meeting your fitness targets.

Find a time that works best for you

Some people are big proponents of the morning workout. If you can get yourself out of bed and workout first thing in the morning, by 9 am, you’ll be way ahead of everyone else with your productivity for the day. It also opens up the evenings for relaxation and other things that a busy life throws your way. I’m not an early morning person; I tend to have more energy later in the day, so if you’re like me, exercise after work or later in the evening. Find the time that works best for you. The easier you make it for yourself, the more likely you are to stick to it.

Find a workout buddy

Working out with someone else will make you more accountable since you have someone waiting for you. It also helps you survive those grueling classes; if your friend is doing it, so can you!

Get a personal trainer

personal trainers

Personal trainers can help motivate you, especially ones that look like Ron Burgundy – at least on Halloween!

A personal trainer can keep you on track and focused on consistency. They can also design a training plan targeted to your goals and teach you how to do the recommended exercises. I’ve found that I like the collaboration approach with a trainer to better hit my goals. To better motivate me, he built programs that focused on what I like to do best, as well as what I needed to do.

Mix it up

There are two benefits to mixing up your workout. First, you avoid getting bored of doing the same routine, and second, you can work out different muscle groups and target specific areas. For example, once a week attend a group class, like spinning, yoga or pilates. The other two days of the week you can split between weights, sports or something else you enjoy. It also helps you focus on flexibility, cardio, and muscle training all in one week.

Find motivation all around you

Check out Pinterest, Instagram, fitness sites or friends for motivation; anything that will help you see what you can achieve if you work hard. Whenever you find your motivation disappearing, check them to help.

Send yourself liminal and subliminal messages…okay this line came to me from a cartoon, and I cannot for the life of me remember which one! I’m assuming it’s from Bugs Bunny. Can anyone help :)? Anyway, I’m not 100% sure what it means other than I’m using it to say send yourself internal messages for motivation.

Take pictures of your journey

seated rowing

I am looking to get back into this shape from two years ago

Visually tracking your progress can further motivate you. Imagine what it feels like when you see your before and after results!

Reward yourself

If you’ve completed your scheduled routine for the week, treat yourself to something. Go to a movie or buy new workout clothing. I will find any excuse to go shopping!

Make yourself accountable

Once you get out of the “phase” stage of working out and into the “lifestyle” change, it will be so much easier to keep it up because it’s no longer a chore but part of your routine, just like sleeping and eating. When fitness becomes a priority, it becomes a routine. It also becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more often you do it, the faster results will come, and when you see results, you’ll be more motivated.

What are some of your tips to turn workouts into a routine?

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