5 Tips for Keeping Up Your Exercise Routine
Ask anyone that's been building muscle for years how they motivate themselves to complete a workout every day, and they'll tell you that it's natural for them; they'll tell you that they don't feel like themselves when they don't work out. But for those that are just getting started, it can feel like an inconvenience. You have to get dressed, go to the gym, work out using intense resistance training, go home, possibly shower, eat, and rest, only to find yourself painfully aching the next morning.
It's easy to find yourself giving up, or feeling concerned that you may not be able to see the increase in size you're hoping for. Lots of people experience stress or anxiety about the idea of keeping up with a regular exercise routine. But there are several tips to keep you motivated for your exercise routine, and ultimately find yourself making the gains that you hoped for.
Tips for Not Falling Off The Wagon With Your Exercise
• Mix it Up
Boredom is the enemy of the athlete. It affects not only beginners, but also long-time bodybuilders. So don't be afraid to mix it up. Learn alternative exercise techniques that will help you keep exercise interesting. There are plenty of ways to switch it up. You can switch the days you exercise each muscle to make it more interest, or go on a different day – as long as you're doing something to make your exercise strategy more exciting for you, you'll find going to the gym interesting every time.
• Keep Track of Your Progress
One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated as you start your exercise routine is to see the actual benefits of that exercise. The best way to do that is with an exercise journal, where you track your progress every week, looking at not just the way you look (remember, muscle growth can be slow and it can be difficult to see changes at first beneath fat), but also the actual strength gains you've made over time. When you see this type of progress it becomes much easier to keep yourself motivated and continue working on your exercise routine.
• Find a Buddy
Finding yourself a workout buddy is also an excellent way to stay motivated to exercise. When you have a friend to go with regularly, you'll naturally make the exercise more enjoyable – rather than forcing yourself to exercise, you're socializing with a friend in a place that happens to be a gym. You can make your regular jokes, talk about your friends or the girls/guys you like, and make sure that both of you are comfortable throughout the workout experience.
Buddies are also a great way to reduce the anxiety that a lot of people feel when they first start working out and are surrounded by people that have been exercising for years. When you know you're with someone that's at the same place you are, the other people become less important.
• Set Realistic Goals
Goal setting is also an important part of exercising, because it gives you something to shoot for. Seeing gains is great, and tracking your strength improvements is important, but if you also have an ultimate goal you're trying to reach, you'll give yourself a reason to come back every week. Try to set realistic goals using the SMART goal system. Each goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. In other words, instead of "get larger in thighs" you should have a goal that is "get ½ inch larger and manage three reps of ten with 10lbs more weight in two months." That type of goal satisfies all of those qualities, gives you something to shoot for, and when you reach it you'll feel motivated to try another one.
• De-Stress Yourself
Finally, exercise is a lot more difficult if you find yourself stressing out over how well you're going to work out on any given day, or whether or not you can reach your goals. So work on reducing stress and anxiety in your own life. This will help you see exercise as a fun and productive activity – rather than one that is a chore – and may even improve the strength and energy you have to manage the right amount of resistance and start seeing real gains.
Finally, it's important to remember that the more you exercise, the easier it always gets. Not only will exercise become physical easier (as your body gets used to intense exercise and recovery), but your brain also responds so positively to exercise that it starts to desire it. Your body chemistry actually changes the more you exercise to make it easier for you. Follow the above tips and keep yourself motivated and you will see the gains you hoped to achieve.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera is the author of several articles about the links between exercise and anxiety. He's written information on how to combat stress and anxiousness at www.calmclinic.com.
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