How to Stick to a Workout Plan
Anyone who's paid for a gym membership knows this much: Starting a workout program is one thing, but keeping at it? Challenging!
Stay motivated with the help of celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson's seven stick-with-it strategies.
Make workouts a fact of life
"It's so funny to me how people brush their teeth every day or won't miss a nail appointment, but they don't work out regularly," Anderson says.
"Exercise can be just as fun as a manicure once you get good at it."
Keep it personal
"Don't reach for a goal that has nothing to do with you," Anderson warns. "Stay focused on yourself and your own journey and why you're doing it."
Get selfish about your exercise time
"Women are very unselfish by nature—if somebody needs us, it's very hard for us to say no," Anderson says.
Look at it this way: If you get a focused hour of working out, she notes, "you're going to be better able to help everybody else."
Have a dedicated work area
"You don't need a lot of space to be effective," she says.
A corner of the family room will do, with a bin for dumbbells, workout DVDs, and a fresh towel.
Find a workout buddy
This is especially helpful when you start a routine.
"You want a reason to not have to do it because it feels uncomfortable," Anderson notes. "Being accountable makes it happen."
Don't expect to be able to do all the exercises from the get-go. If you can pull off only five leg lifts the first day, she says, then try to make it seven the next, and then eight, and so on.
The same applies to workout frequency: Start with a couple of days a week.
Says Anderson, "After you've been doing the workout three to four days a week for a month or so, you'll be able to add a fifth day—and it's not going to be hell!"
Don't get too comfortable
Once you've gotten used to the routine, avoid simply going through the motions. "A lot of people, as soon as they start to feel something in their muscles, will be like, ‘Ooh, I did it,'" Anderson says. But change happens only when each movement is executed to its fullest extent.
If you're using a DVD, try doing the movements in front of a mirror to make sure they look like the ones on your screen. "Ask yourself, Am I actually hitting that angle that person is hitting?" Anderson says.
"Don't ever become OK with where you're at until you get so good that you're seeing the amazing results."