Sticking with an Exercise Program, Part 2

Environment. Pick an environment you enjoy. An upscale club, a gym, a track, your backyard or living room, again, it doesn’t matter. If you like being outdoors, then work out outside. If you’re a woman and feel you may be uncomfortable working out around men, you can consider a women’s only club. If you like a more “social” gym, find one with your type of crowd. The point is, don’t let the place you train be another excuse not to train.

Pick a time. Timing is very important and can make the difference between a successful program and a failed one. If you feel drained at the end of a long day at work, you might not want to work out right after! You can go home first, relax and then work out. That worked great for me when I was in chiropractic school. I was up before 5 a.m., at school by 6:45 a.m., then home at about 4 p.m. I would have never made it if I went directly to the gym. Instead I would go home and have a snack and rest a bit and then head off to the gym. I did that for four years! Also, avoid choosing an early a.m. time if you’re not a morning person. That will last about two weeks, then that snooze button starts looking really good. There are also those people who love getting a quick workout in during their lunch hour. It’s up to you; whatever time works best for you. There are no rules for what time you work out. There are even gyms that are open 24 hours a day.

Rewards. Reward yourself for accomplishing goals. They can be large or small, tangible or intangible. After a while you will not need these rewards. You will start seeing the results, and it will be reinforced with the praise you receive from your friends and co-workers on how good you look and how energetic you are.

It is easy to find excuses to skip a workout. Once you skip a workout and the world doesn’t end, you’ll start skipping more and more. Pretty soon, you’ll take out an entire day. Instead of four days a week, it is down to three days, then two. At the beginning of your program, do your best not to skip. If you do, be sure to make it up. Stick to your guns and be extra diligent for the first three months.

These are a few suggestions on what you can do to help stick with a routine. Just use this as an example and general guideline. Starting a new program is hard enough; make it as easy as possible on yourself by eliminating anything that can sidetrack you!

You’ll find that the more you work out and get into a routine the easier it becomes. And as your level of fitness improves, you’ll look and feel better, further motivating you.

If you have not worked out before or have taken some time off, seek out the advice of a health-care professional before embarking on any new program.

Good luck!

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