Friday, October 4, 2013

Workout Woes

The first two weeks or so of a new workout routine are amazing. You discover things you didn’t know you could do, adapt to a new pattern, and start to feel healthier. You may even adjust your diet and start eyeballing clothing fashions that a month ago would have caused you to shudder.

Soon, however, novelty turns to habit, and habits get boring. How do you keep going? How can you keep up a routine in the face of all the pressures in life that pull you in different directions? Or worse, what happens when your schedule changes at work, you get a new job, or *insert other life changing event here* and your workout time gets railroaded into a different time slot…how do you keep up the momentum?

People working out at the gym

There are all sorts of ways to create positive reinforcements around your new, healthier habits. The first thing: adjust your mindset. If you’ve seen previous attempts at working out as an exercise in failure, that is not going to help your forward momentum. Each step in the right direction counts, so if you have to drop your workout days from four days to two, then do so. Remember that two days doing some form of movement is better than none. If you’ve had an injury that is forcing you to slow down, embrace the time of rest, get in what movement you can, and keep the mindset that you’ll be returning to your habit as soon as you are able.

Create exciting incentives based on working out. Things like Gympact (which I previously discussed here), which pays you to work out, and Fitbit, which offers consistent praise and affirmation when you exercise, can act as anchors to your new schedule. One of my favorite tricks has been to create a favorite playlist on Rhapsody or iTunes that I only listen to when I’m working out. If you have an iPhone or Android, apps like Pandora, Spotify or Songza offer specialized stations based on your preferences. If you like to read, how about listening to a book while you sweat? Audible offers some sweet deals on audio books that you can download to your smartphone or mp3 player and take with you. Nothing will keep you committed like a good cliffhanger! You can also check out your local library, where many offer a digital subscription service for audio books.

Give it a team effort. For some of us, exercise is more fun when it’s social. So check out sites like Meetup and discover other locals who would be glad to join you on your hike into the woods. Organizations like the Road Runners Club of America offer group runs where anyone at any level can join. There are plenty of virtual groups like Wello that offer workouts and group support. And of course, don’t forget to check out gyms like Curves or Crossfit, where the group environment is nurtured and encouraged.

Go for some accountability. If you feel as though you need a bit more on the line to keep your commitment, consider investing in the services of a health coach or personal trainer. Professionals can help you keep your head in the game and encourage you when you feel like giving up.

Do it for a cause. Many non-profit organizations focus on feats of athleticism in the name of donations. Consider the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or any of the many other options out there that will encourage you to get your groove on and help others at the same time.

Man playing basketball

Keep it interesting. If you are tired of doing the same movements over and over again, try spicing it up with websites that offer a new workout for you every week – you can have a new one everyday! Zuska Light,, and iFit are great places to grab a fresh workout and keep your muscles guessing.

Most of all, do things you love. Whether it’s taking a pole-dancing class at the local Y, joining a Yoga group that meets virtually, or adopting a dog as a running partner, discover what movements you enjoy the most. Let us know what you decided on, and what gets you excited to move!

Ally Bishop
Contributing Writer

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