Staying in love with your exercise regime is a little like dating: you need to keep things exciting, and it requires a lot of hard work and commitment. However, this isn't to say that it is easy to do; similar to dating or being in a relationship, staying in love with exercise can be complex!
At Namix Performance, we specialise in making the complex seem simple; here are six ways to stop your love affair with exercise from burning out.
Quit The All Or Nothing Approach
A common mistake that we come across when working with clients is that they change far too much, too fast and expect to completely flip their lives around to do four to seven sessions a week.
In reality, after the first encounter of not hitting this goal, the frustration kicks in, and the best-laid plans are often kicked to the F**k it bucket.
The best solution here is to make the goal simple.
So simple that it's almost impossible NOT to do.
For example, if you are time-constrained and a beginner, you may want to consider doing one to a maximum of two sessions a week. For those more seasoned in the gym, you may want to do three to four sessions, depending on other commitments you may have. The thinking here is to build a positive association with ticking the metaphorical boxes all the time, rather than viewing every missed workout as a complete failure.
Build those habits one small step at a time, and watch your natural affinity to "squeezing" in another session to end on a high for the week becomes a regular occurrence.
Set A Structured Goal
The on/off mentality can also come from a complete lack of direction when it comes to exercise.
If there are no specifics, you are training for nothing.
Using the tried and tested SMART goals is usually a good starting point:
Specific - Make the goal specific to you, the sport you play or the thing you want to develop. For example, Usain Bolt wouldn't be great at sprinting if he trained for the marathon!
Measurable - How will you measure your progress? Hard figures are always best; a weight goal, inches lost, muscle mass gained, weight lifted etc.
Achievable - Ensure you aren't biting off more than you can chew; trying to lose three stones in 3 weeks might be unrealistic and unhealthy. But losing three stones in six months is a realistic goal to have.
Relevant - Is the goal ideal for you right now? Does it align with who you want to be?
Time Focussed - Set a start and end date to keep you focused on the end outcome and the processes in between.
A poorly defined goal would look like this:
"In the next two weeks, I want to be fitter by exercising more because I'm going on holiday next week."
A perfectly defined goal looks like this:
"In three months, I would like to improve my upper body strength by being able to do ten full press-ups as it will help me feel stronger and more confident outside of the gym.
See the difference? Use the formula below, and fill in the blanks to make your goal more important to you!
" In [time frame here], I want to [specific goal] by [measure] because [relevancy/importance to you]."
Make It Fun!
We all know exercise is great for our wellbeing, but SO many people make it such a chore, so is it any wonder that many people have a love-hate relationship with their exercise?
Making exercise enjoyable, fun, and rewarding is the real key to making it stick.
Competitive? Exercise or compete against other people - play a sport, or join a local sports team with other like-minded people!
Are you logical and structured? You'll probably love weight training and following a set exercise plan where you can log, and monitor your training, manipulating your exercise as you go!
Are you more of a social person and enjoy the company of others? You will love classes, group training sessions, or communities of people like hiking and running groups if you are more of an outdoor pursuits fan.
We are all different, so why should your choice of exercise be the same?
Thanks to the popularity of HIIT and functional training, there are so many different tools to work within the gym, using battle ropes, slam balls, kettlebells, and weighted sledges too. These pieces of kit can mix up your workout routine and add a challenge you never thought existed!
Team Up With A Friend
How much easier would it be to stick to a fitness routine if you knew it gave you better results by 200%?!
That is what current research tells us about working out with your partner, friend, or fellow gym classmates.
Exercising with a friend is one of the best ways to stay in love with exercise, not only for the physical benefits but also for the social interaction we get. It is now more apparent than ever following several lockdowns and being forced to isolate ourselves socially that being with others is beneficial for our mental wellbeing.
Not only that, but hitting the gym together also provides the push you need where you'd be likely to give up! Another study in the USA found friends who worked out together could hold a plank 24% longer than those who didn't have any encouragement at all!
Our best tip: pick someone willing to exercise on the same day and times as you. There is nothing worse than having a workout buddy that cancels out on you all the time.
It's All About The Feels
How often have you had a crappy day at work, or you're feeling overwhelmed with other things going on in life; then you exercised, and it all went away?
That should be a feeling that keeps you going. No matter what!
Exercise produces some of the most natural, powerful drugs known to man - endorphins! Those feel-good, happy hormones that make you feel on top of the world after a great workout.
So often, we become so focussed on the physical benefits to exercise, looking toned, flatter stomachs, seeing the numbers get lower on the scale that we forget about the seemingly smaller stuff. Things like feeling less stressed, having more energy, feeling less overwhelmed, feeling like you have accomplished something for the day.
So if you think that exercise isn't essential right now, imagine what it would be like without having those feelings in your life. Some of the best exercise you'll ever do is less than 30 minutes, are simple to do, and will completely change your mindset for the rest of the day.
Hire A Coach
Another option to consider is hiring a coach to help you with all the above points.
A great coach will get to know you, what makes you tick, what you don't like and any injuries or medical considerations that may affect your exercise plan.
But more than anything, we find that most clients need someone to be held accountable to, someone who will be there, session planned, taking away the guesswork for you, guiding you step by step, and helping you build those habits that you've struggled to maintain. Then on those days where your motivation is at zero, your coach will be there to inject the enthusiasm into your session and keep pushing you on!
What's more, a great coach will also help you work on the misgivings you had about exercise previously and build your confidence in making you more independent within the gym and your training.
Compared to most other gyms, this is where our approach at Namix is different, and we take the time from the outset with every member to bespoke a workout plan for them, their goals and with the time they can afford to give—giving our members the greatest chance of success. For those needing a little more encouragement, our premium level memberships give you more access to our expert team with regular personal training sessions to hold you accountable for your goals and the progress towards that goal.
Feel that we can help?
Message us today and discover how our memberships can kickstart a new love for exercise that lasts the distance!