Its pretty common to be excited when you start a new exercise program. Theres hope that you’ll finally reach your goals, you’re immersed in a new regime, and because you are starting fresh, your mind is a little more engaged and curious to see whats coming next.
But after a few months, how do you keep that going?
Here is a list of 10 ways to stay excited about exercising, and below are some of my favorites that I use too:
1.) Make exercise a part of your schedule. This personally is crucial for me. If I block out the hour, and have a workout regularly dedicated to this time slot, that’s it- I have my plans set in stone and theres no backing out!
2.) Mix it up. I try one new exercise routine or format every other week. Even just slightly mixing up something I normally do keeps me engaged and challenged.
3.) If you ever happen to miss a workout (life gets in the way, so this does happen sometimes!) re-motivate and make a game plan right away. Figure out how you can reschedule that workout and stick to it!
Most people will discuss body-mind connections when referring to certain forms of exercise like Yoga and Pilates.
While it is true that these two forms of exercise do wonders for the connection between movement and concentration of the muscles during a workout, Dr. Jim Gavin brings up a great point in his article on Mindful Exercise.
Dr. Gavin argues in favor of what he calls the body-mind cube, discussing ways to incorporate focus and consciousness in the commonly categorized body-mind exercise into all forms of exercise. Dr. Gavin breaks down mindful exercise sessions into three elements and transfers them to his cube technique (you can read the details here).
To summarize, every exerciser, regardless of the exercise they are participating in and what fitness level they are at, can make an activity mindful:
1.) Focus on Breathing
2.) Focus on the muscle you are engaging for the movement
3.) Leave the rest of the day at the door
I understand that number 3 is the most difficult by far. However, a completely focused, intensely engaged muscle focused and even breathing session will give you that truly mindful exercise experience.
So next time you head to the gym, track, or weight room leave your to-do lists, plans, kids, friends, family, etc. out of your session!
One thing that I know frustrates many people is the dreaded weight loss plateau. Weve all been there; you’re staying on your plan, eating right, and adding more exercise, but that little bit just wont come off. The last five pounds are by far the trickiest, right?
Well, here is your cheat-sheet on how to battle a plateau:
1.) Awareness is key. Many times when we’ve reach our goals and hit a plateau, we tend to ease back on our routine. Maintain your awareness by keeping track of your exercise and daily food log. You might find that skipping your afternoon latte or hitting up brunch after a Saturday workout may seem small, but it really contributes to smaller ratio of calories in vs. calories out that you thought!
2.) Change it up. Plateaus happen when the muscles in your body get used to the exercises that you are doing. So, if you keep the same routine for 6 months, and you find that you lost weight in the beginning but haven’t in the past 3 weeks, switch up your routine. Putting in a higher intensity bursts for just 5 minutes in your routine or adding on mileage or increasing the pace can make a huge difference in how your body reacts.
3.) Don’t stress! Putting too much emphasis on the fact that the scale is not budging and really focus on your overall goal: to be healthy, live life better, and keep other weight-related ailments at bay. Every time you are frustrated think about all you have accomplished. Keeping yourself positive could help shed those final pounds!
It seems that there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to how varied workouts should be between men and women.
Many women have a fear of bulking up or that they will not look feminine if the add strength training into their workout routine. Many women also feel that they are not strong to begin with, and don’t feel that strengthening their body should be the focus, but rather losing weight to decrease the numbers on the scale.
The truth of the matter is, strength training is beneficial, especially for women for many different reasons. Not only will you strengthen muscles to help you in everyday activities, but you can increase balance and coordination as well.
The biggest benefit of strength training that I believe is one of the most unfortunate misconceptions is that having a greater muscle-mass actually INCREASES your metabolic efficiency. So this basically means that if you are looking to lose weight, then doing a cardio-only program to shed calories is not going to give you the desired results as quickly as if you added in strength training.
One of my personal favorite workouts, both because I think you can add a cardiovascular element and because Ive really seen the results is the TRX Suspension Trainer. There is an endless amount of moves you can do with these straps that really work every muscle in the body.
Besides, who doesn’t want toned arms, a lifted booty and strong legs? I rest my case ladies- on to strength training!
-Written by Sandi Partyka, Senior Fitness Assistant, CHC
Now that we are approaching the middle of May, Summer is coming in full force.
In many ways the beginning of summer marks the start of sun, sand, and little more down time. With this down time can also come a lot more food and booze too! So, to help you stay on track with your fitness and weight goals, I urge you to stay in season.
Some of the most delicious foods are fresh and in season May through August; fruits like peaches, melons and blueberries are perfectly ripe, vegetables like broccoli and asparagus are crisp and fresh. There is truly an abundance of amazing produce that are at their peak during these warm months (and bonus- all are healthy and helpful to keeping you look fit in your bathing suit!).
Click here to see Fitness Magazines great summer recipes.
Are you also looking for a healthy-focused vacation? Check out Smart Workouts Fitness Vacation– a way to see NYC in all its glory all while eating healthfully (even at restaurants!) and exercising. Don’t worry- we’ve included some down time spa services as well!
Heres to a healthy start to a great summer!
-written by Sandi Partyka, CHC