As the new year begins, self-improvement is a widespread topic of conversation. Improved fitness and healthy eating plans are common choices for new year’s resolutions; however, sticking to an effective routine is often easier said than done. Between busy schedules, soaring gym membership prices and lack of motivation, well-meaning fitness plans are notoriously difficult to keep up with. Here are some motivational tips to help you stick to your routine and smash your goals.
Upon beginning your fitness journey, it is important to understand that you won’t smash your goals overnight. While these goals should challenge you, physical fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be days when you would rather stay in bed than drag yourself to the gym, and there may be days when you feel disappointed with your modest progress. While this can be demoralising, stay consistent, and you will see results.
Starting your fitness routine slowly and steadily will reduce the risk of injury and prevent burnout. Overdoing things can be dangerous for both your physical and mental well-being, particularly if your body is not yet acclimated to physical activity. Of course, this will vary from person to person, so listen to your bodily cues and act accordingly. Consider beginning with short gym trips 1-3 times per week, allowing your body to adjust to the routine before you up the ante.
Consider Alternative Forms of Exercise
Gym environments aren’t for everyone. Some find them decidedly overbearing and dull. However, you don’t need to be an avid gym goer to improve your physical fitness. There are numerous alternatives to traditional forms of exercise that will keep you entertained and engaged for longer. Whether it’s taking up aerial arts, dancercise or simply going for more walks with your family, anything that involves a little energy and vigour will do you good.
Equipment and Clothing
A shopping trip for brand-new gym clothes or equipment could be the incentive you need to get started. While specialised activewear isn’t a necessity, it will keep you comfortable and supported during workouts. The correct equipment will allow you to reach your goals seamlessly and safely, whereas poor, faulty equipment may lead to injury. Purchasing equipment second-hand can be tremendously cost-effective, but it is wise to ensure there are no signs of damage before forking out.
Stay Nourished and Hydrated
Physical fitness and healthy eating go hand in hand. Nutrition is vital for supporting your general health and will enhance your long-term fitness journey. Provide your body with everything it needs to function at its highest potential, including fresh fruit, veg, whole grains, healthy fats and proteins. During workouts, replenish lost fluids with plenty of water or electrolyte sports drinks, and you may find caffeine gel gives you a much-needed boost for high-intensity activities.
Focus On Yourself
Remember, you are beginning your fitness journey for nobody other than yourself. Comparing yourself to others is a profoundly damaging trap to fall into. While working out with a friend or group can be excellent for motivation, avoid letting their achievements sully your progress - we are all individuals with varying abilities and circumstances. If anything, transform those pangs of disappointment and envy into inspiration and incentive to persevere and smash your own goals.
Listen To Your Body
While it may be true that perseverance is critical, it is also vital to listen to your body. Attempting to push through fatigue and discomfort may be ingrained in gym culture, but you know your body better than anyone. Ignoring bodily cues and signals can lead to excess soreness, injury and lengthy recovery periods. Optimise your workout sessions and protect your well-being by warming up before you begin and taking breaks as often as you need to.
Embrace Small Goals
As mentioned previously, being realistic is a crucial aspect of any healthy fitness journey. This means celebrating small wins along the way. Perhaps you’ve achieved 12 workouts in one month or noticed a significant improvement in your endurance or flexibility. You don’t need to have run a marathon to celebrate your efforts thus far, so set yourself a range of short-term achievable goals. Furthermore, you will find that achieving these smaller, more manageable goals encourages you to push yourself further.