The Right Fit

Staying motivated to work out

photo: Claude Robillard / flickr

We all know we should do it, but finding the daily motivation to lace up our workout shoes and get our bodies moving can be tough. So how do we motivate ourselves and commit to our health? Here are a few simple tips to get you started on your fitness journey.

Make a plan, and stick to it. As the old saying goes, “fail to plan, plan to fail”; so ensure you will stick with your fitness routine by taking the time to write it out. Every Sunday, get out your calendar for the next week and write down your fitness goals for each day, including your days off, along with a backup plan. A backup plan will help keep you on track, so if you get stuck at work and miss your favorite class, you know you will be heading out for a walk
or run instead.

Grab a friend and start walking or running. Research shows that accountability can be a key motivator when it comes to our fitness routine, so get a friend to join you. Set a consistent meeting time and place every week so there’s no chance of forgetting. Having that day and time on your calendar each week will not only hold you accountable to one another, but it will be a time you can look forward to catching up with a friend while doing something great for your health.

Sign up for a class. Though gyms are an obvious place to get fit, just because you have a membership doesn’t mean you’ll go. When you sign up for a series of classes independent of a gym, you are much more likely to get personal service. Often the instructors will follow up if you don’t show up, and you can also make friends with others in class who can help hold you accountable.

Get outside. My favorite motivator is the great outdoors. Many think they have to be runners or bikers to get a good workout outside, but that’s not the case. If you like running and biking, let the beauty of the outdoors be your motivator. Change up your routine — if you always run or bike on the roads, take it to the trails once a week — even doing your same route in reverse will make it seem new. If you don’t enjoy running or biking, walk on a running path or trail, and stop along the way to do a few pushups, squats, lunges, or crunches. Walk for 10 minutes, stop and do 10 minutes of strength training, walk 10 more minutes and do some more, then turn back toward your starting point, and do the same thing. Or mix it up, and do 10 minutes of walking and a minute of jogging.

Kristi Dowler is a personal trainer, running coach, nutrition counselor, and endurance athlete. Owner of VyAyr Fitness, she is dedicated to helping others live a healthful life. Find her at
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