By Ryan Unverzagt
March is here and I hope you are still excited about your exercise routine. It’s been two months since the start of the New Year and not to mention those new fitness resolutions. Motivation levels tend to fizzle out during the month of March, especially once your spring break vacations are over. I realize that not everyone is motivated in the same way or by the same things. Therefore, staying motivated can be a challenging task. I would like to share a few ways to boost your commitment toward exercise.
Workout with a Buddy- Find someone to train with who has similar goals. You will be less likely to ditch out on a workout if you know that somebody else will be expecting you to be there. It’s actually safer to exercise with a friend because you will have a spotter for resistance training and a —- during cardio training. In the worst case scenario, your buddy can assist you should any injuries happen. Try the partner exercises that I discussed in last month’s issue of the Old Town Crier.
Gather Social Support- Besides working out with a buddy, let family and friends know that you need their support to keep you motivated. Schedule weekly meetings with them to talk about how your exercise program is going, what you have accomplished for the week, and how it makes you feel when you finish a workout. Focus more on the positives and less on the negatives. Who knows, you just might be able to inspire others in your support group to start exercising by being a role model with your success!
Change Your Workouts- Staleness and loss of interest in your workouts can be a result of doing the same old thing for too long. If your workout consists of riding the stationary bike for 30 minutes at a resistance level of 8, try riding hills or choose intervals for a change. For example, pedal at an easier resistance (5) for the first couple of minutes at a rate of 75 RPMs, then increase the resistance (10-15) for 10-15 seconds. Try to keep your pedaling pace within ten RPMs from your target (75), and then bring the resistance back down to recover. Repeat this every minute for 30 minutes. If you are used to lifting the same amount of weights for two sets of 15 reps while resistance training, try increasing the weight and decreasing the repetitions or just the opposite. Better yet, hire a personal trainer to show you how to safely perform new exercises!
Re-Evaluate Your Goals- It is normal to encounter bumps in the road. You should expect them. Find a reason WHY you want to exercise. There should be more meaning behind your goals than the typical “I want to lose weight” or “Because my doctor said I need to exercise”. Both are legitimate reasons to exercise, but they don’t state the true meaning. For example, “I want to lose weight because it will make me feel more confident” or “My doctor says I need to exercise because I could end up having a heart attack someday. I want to watch my children and grandchildren grow up.” These statements are more meaningful and can help you stay focused on the WHY of exercise.
As a personal trainer, I find that keeping people motivated is one of the most challenging aspects in the fitness industry. It’s easy to lose sight of why you should exercise. Re-evaluating your goals, changing up your workouts, gathering social support, and working out with a buddy can help boost your motivation levels and commitment to exercise.