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7 Realistic Ways to Stick to Your Fitness Goals

 

The right attitude and a few tricks can keep your fitness routine on track. Use these tips to stay in the game:

 

1. Keep it real

You’re not going to skim off 30 pounds in a week. Aim for something that’s realistic as a first step. For instance, increase your workout schedule from 2 to 3 days a week, or exercise for 15 more minutes each time.

 

2. Live in the present

So what if you missed a week at the gym and polished off a pint of ice cream over the weekend? Leave the guilt in the past. You have a chance to get back into your routine today.

 

3. Show the clock who’s boss.

Health experts say you should aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise a week (30 minutes a day, five times a week, for example), plus weight training at least twice a week. Can’t find room in your crazy schedule? Take a closer look. If you work too late to get to a gym, keep a set of weights at home. If you can’t do 30 minutes at once, break exercise sessions up into 10- or 15-minute bursts.

 

4. Bring a friend

When your inner demons order you to hit the couch instead of the treadmill, a workout partner can steer you back in the right direction. It’s easier to bail out on the gym than on the friend who waits for you there. Studies show you’ll also work out longer when you have a pal along.

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5. Hang tough

No one has perfect form the first day of strength training. Every workout takes practice. You’ll get the hang of it if you keep making an effort.

 

6. Mix it up

Do different types of workouts to keep things interesting and to exercise different muscle groups. If the elliptical machine is usually your thing, hop on the stair climber for some cardio instead. Also, switch between machines and free weights when you strength-train. You don’t have to reinvent your entire routine every week, but you do want to shift it around a little.

 

7. Take baby steps

You would never try to run 10 miles on day one, right? When you do too much too soon, you’ll end up sore, injured, and discouraged. Take it easy as you get started. Maybe you only run a quarter of a mile your first week. When that becomes easy, you can make it more challenging.

 

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