By Celenise Mahmood, NASM-CWC ,Co-founder of Moodwell
Fitness stands as a prominent goal or resolution for numerous individuals at the start of a new year. However, the challenge lies not only in initiating efforts towards our fitness goals but also in maintaining consistency despite daily obstacles. As a wellness coach, I often face weeks where meeting exercise recommendations proves to be a daunting task. The American Heart Association suggests 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic workouts or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, coupled with moderate to high-intensity muscle training twice a week, and at least 300 minutes of active time. It's crucial to recognize that any amount of exercise squeezed into a busy week brings us a step closer to achieving optimal wellness. Here are some practical strategies for sustaining a workout routine.
1. Set Clear, Realistic, and Attainable Goals:
Setting goals that are specific, measurable, realistic, and personally meaningful is crucial for maintaining motivation. Aligning goals with personal values and starting with achievable milestones helps build a strong foundation.
Set a goal that aligns with your personal values. For example, "I want to improve my fitness so I can have more energy to play with my kids," or "I want to enhance my wellness for more vitality and longevity."
Set a goal that is both challenging and realistically achievable. Overly ambitious goals can divert you from your purpose when left unachieved. Begin with small objectives and gradually build upon the foundation you are creating. For instance, if it's your first time working out in a while, start with a low to moderate intensity workout for the first two weeks to acclimate to this new type of movement. When establishing a new workout routine, anticipate experiencing soreness, along with positive changes in your sleep and mood.
*Pro tip:* Begin with small, realistic goals, and gradually increase the intensity and duration as your fitness level improves.
2. Prioritize Recovery:
Recovery is as essential as the workout itself. Incorporate activities like stretching, meditation, hydration, and adequate sleep into your routine to support your body's recovery process.
*Pro tip:* Consider incorporating sauna sessions as a rewarding method for recovery, releasing toxins from your bloodstream and providing a sense of accomplishment.
3. Establish a Routine:
Tailor your routine to align with your current schedule and available resources. If starting with 15 minutes per day for five days a week is realistic for your schedule, use it as a starting point with the goal of increasing time gradually.
4. Track Your Progress:
Utilize a journal or fitness apps like Google Fit or Noom to monitor your progress. Celebrate not only the frequency of your workouts but also take a moment to reflect on how achieving your goals positively impacts your well-being.
5. Celebrate Wins Along the Way:
Establish a reward system for reaching workout milestones. Whether it's a new piece of workout gear, exploring new scenery on a hike, or a small indulgence, rewarding yourself creates positive reinforcement.
6. Accountability Group or Partner:
Seek socioemotional support from friends or join a community to share your fitness goals. Having someone to encourage, support, and hold you accountable significantly increases the likelihood of success.
In conclusion, sustaining a consistent workout routine requires a combination of realistic goal-setting, prioritizing recovery, establishing a tailored routine, tracking progress, celebrating achievements, and fostering accountability through social support. By implementing these strategies, individuals can navigate the challenges and cultivate a sustainable and fulfilling approach to fitness.