Have you hit a plateau you set from the New Years' resolution? Starting to lose motivation since it's colder? Well, you are not alone. Mid-to-late February is when that initial "I am going to be the fittest version of myself" starts to fade out. When I worked at a corporate gym, January was flooded with new members and around late February they were nowhere to be found. Was it because they set the bar high? Maybe. But the one piece of advice I tell people when they start exercising or get back on track is to have a plan. Without it, then it is hard to keep it going. So here are 3 tips to simplify your workout program.
First, don't do too many exercises at once. People assume you have to do 10 or more exercises to get a great workout. Keep it no more than 5 or 6 exercises. Then, you can create another workout for next time. When you have fewer exercises to do, you can focus on each one and make sure you are doing them properly.
Secondly, is to have some metrics to keep you accountable. For example, when you are on the elliptical, you can see how many calories you burned, and then you can challenge yourself by going over that number the next time you do it within a set time (ie. 30 minutes). When it comes to weights, it is the same thing. When you can press, pull, raise, or curl more weight, that is the physical evidence indicating that you are getting stronger. Here is what I do. Add weights where it would be difficult to do one repetition. Increase until you cannot do it, and then you can revisit it in 4 weeks to retest. This is how you figure out your 1 repetition max (1RM). You can do the same thing for 10 or 15 repetitions. Holding yourself accountable by writing or keeping logs of your progress can be very rewarding and validates that you are on the right track.
Lastly, is to go at your own pace. Our lives are never constant. Sometimes we get busy. Sometimes we get sick. Sometimes we don't want to exercise. And that is okay. Completely normal and we all go through this. There are times when I don't want to exercise. What helped me was to decrease the frequency. I used to work out 3 times a week, then when my son was born that changed. Initially, I struggled to accept the fact that I couldn't work out like I used to. Constantly tired and unmotivated to do anything. As he started sleeping, I was able to get one workout a week and this felt right. Then, the frequency went back to 3 times a week as I got my son's and my routine down. Don't beat yourself up for missing a workout or taking a break. At times, it is necessary. When you haven't slept or your body is aching, rest is your best remedy. Remember, exercising should be something you look forward to, not something you dread. Hope you enjoyed reading this week's blog. Stay tuned for more! -Kei