Are you finding it more challenging to squeeze into your skinny jeans this summer? The stress of COVID-19 and the resulting uncertainty led many to abandon their health goals. However, it’s time to get back on track.
How can you attain your fitness goals? You need to understand what holds you back, then take meaningful steps to change your behaviors. Here’s what to know and do.
What Keeps People From Meeting Their Fitness Goals?
Before you begin a new fitness journey, ask yourself why previous treks failed. Spend some time in meditation to determine what genuinely holds you back. Many times, your exercise regimen fails for one of five reasons — consider the following:
- It doesn’t fit your lifestyle: A pandemic is probably not the best time to begin marathon training if you are homeschooling four kids while telecommuting. Find movement you can do in short bursts.
- You set the wrong goals: If you currently bench press 90 pounds and establish a goal to lift 180 in two weeks, you have set yourself up for failure. Make sure your goals are reasonable.
- You don’t hold yourself accountable: How do you measure your progress? Vague statements like, “I want to work out more,” don’t work because they aren’t specific. More than what — your average ground sloth? If you want to lower your blood pressure by 3 milligrams of mercury, that’s far more defined.
- You don’t set short-term goals: Maybe your long-term goal is to run a triathlon, but if you were a couch potato, you need celebrations along the way to encourage you to keep going. Set a weekly goal and celebrate achieving it.
- You work out for the wrong reasons: If you’re working out only to fit into a size 2, somewhere in the back of your mind, you wonder, “Is such a size even healthy at my height?” That internal doubt makes it seem more reasonable to skip your workout. However, if your rationale is, “I don’t want to get Type 2 diabetes,” you’re much more likely to move your body, even if you don’t complete all five miles of a planned run.
Suggested Techniques to Reach Your Fitness Goals
Once you identify the factors hampering your fitness goals, you need proven strategies for attaining what you want. Try the following eight tips.
1. Break It Up
Nearly half of all individuals say a lack of time is the reason they don’t exercise. You might find it challenging to squeeze in 30 minutes if you’re already doing double or triple duty between home and family responsibilities. Guess what? You don’t have to get your workout all in one fell swoop. You can break it up into ten or even five-minute bursts — like using your work break to walk instead of smoke a cigarette.
2. Try Intervals
Interval training can help you elevate your heart rate and reap exercise perks more quickly. One study shows that 27 minutes of HIIT three days a week work as effectively for aerobic benefits as 60 minutes of traditional cardio five days per week. If you run, walk or bike, try alternating periods of exertion with slower-paced rests.
3. Do Compound Movements
Compound movements also shorten the required workout time by pushing two muscle groups simultaneously. An example includes doing squats combined with overhead presses or lunges with biceps curls.
4. Build Activity Into Daily Activities
When you stand in line at the grocers, can you do a few calf raises or glute squeezes? While you may look a little silly, can you march in place while you wait for your microwave burrito to heat in the microwave? Squeeze in a quick workout whenever you can!
5. Start and End Your Day With Movement
Prioritizing exercise first thing in the morning creates a positive habit loop that reinforces the behavior. If you don’t have much time before your workday starts, try to do a few yoga stretches in bed to fix fitness as a priority in your mindset.
6. Grab a Partner
One study found that those who started a workout program with a partner completed it 95% of the time versus 76% of those who went solo. Enlist a friend — or your significant other — to make your program stick.
7. Make Fitness a Family Affair
Kids need movement, too, and those who get it at young ages are more likely to continue healthy workout habits as adults. You can get kids involved in yoga by having them stretch like Halloween kitties or grab their feet like happy babies. You instantly gain a tiny workout partner.
8. Never Miss Twice
There will come a day when you miss your workout. Don’t beat yourself up over it, but do resolve to hit the gym hard the following day. Make sure you follow through so that you keep exercise a habit instead of an occasional treat you do when you have the time.
Attain Your Fitness Goals With These Eight Tips
You can attain your fitness goals with the right mindset and plan. Use the tips above to get started on your path to workout bliss today.