When you’re good, you’re good. When you’re bad…it’s really hard to get moving again.
We’ve all been there. You’re on top of your fitness and nutrition game, getting your workouts done while staying on track and you’re seeing results. Then life happens and you get out of the groove. Then you get further out. Maybe you put on a couple pounds. At that point many find it hard to restart again.
I’ve been working out for years and every once in a while I hit a rut. However, I’ve mastered getting back to business and I’m going to share with you my tips on how to do it.
1. MAKE A PLAN & SET NEW GOALS
The very first thing I do is sit down and look at what’s going on. Why am I not working out? What’s keeping me from staying on top of my nutrition? Maybe I’m not making the time, or I’m spending too much time wasted with things I can cut out (ahem, Facebook). Perhaps I’ve been a little lazy with cooking and my husband and I have gotten takeout too much lately. Whatever it is that’s holding me back, I will identify the issues and make a promise to myself to cut them out. I also will decide what workout plan I’m going to do, whether it be a DVD program (I offer a ton through Beachbody – contact me to find out more) or a program I create myself (more on that later), and I make a plan to get that started.
I also find that taking a look at my current goals and possibly revamping them a bit get me motivated to start moving. Are you looking at shedding pounds or body fat? Starting to build muscle? Set a concrete goal or two that you want to work toward and set a “due date” to complete them by. You can always adjust your due date or goals later, but make sure not to fall into the habit of always readjusting because you lost motivation, that’s a bad trap to fall into. Set those dates in stone, get there, and then readjust as you see fit. My goals have changed over and over again, I’m never “done.”
Be realistic about your goals, too. Saying you want to lose 20 pounds in 30 days is great…but I can tell you it probably won’t happen. Setting unrealistic goals will only frustrate you and probably cause you to throw in the towel a lot earlier than if you would have attainable goals in mind. Remember that the scale is not the only measure of progress – take pictures, measurements, monitor your body fat, pay attention to how your clothes feel. Non-scale victories (NSV’s) are just as great as scale victories…and often more truthful, too. For example, if you’re adding weight lifting into your routine, the scale may not move much. Contrary to popular belief, muscle does not weigh more than fat – one pound of muscle and one pound of fat weigh the exact same – one pound. However, muscle is leaner and takes up less space, which will result in a drop of circumference measurements, a tighter body, and you’ll find your clothes fit better (or are even loose!) even if the number on the scale doesn’t change.
Do you need help coming up with a plan or setting realistic goals? Please feel free to contact me, I’m more than happy to help you.
2. START SOMETHING NEW
Sometimes it comes down to the fact that I’m just bored with what I’m doing. I find this happens when I’ve been doing a lifting program for too long, it becomes super repetitive and I’m just going through the motions. I need to change things up. I get bored with cardio easily as well, and for that reason I love having a full DVD library and a trusty treadmill to rely on so I always have variety. Recently I experienced getting bored with the cardio I have been adding onto my lifting routine so I decided to break into Insanity MAX:30. I bought it when I was pregnant and didn’t even bother opening it, and I had been meaning to do it…so I just did it. I started it randomly, no need to wait for a new week or new month. I just popped the first DVD in and did it. Don’t be scared to mix it up, that may be the thing you need to bounce back. If the weather is right, take your workout outside – the change in scenery is a good thing.
3. SCHEDULE YOUR WORKOUTS…AND DON’T CANCEL
I use Evernote to plan my workouts so I can move things as my schedule changes. If you’re a pen and paper type person, invest in a planner devoted to your workouts, or you can download my FREE printable 2016 Workout Calendars. I track what I did each day on these calendars (I have been for over 10 years) so I can track my progress, but in the past I would write my intended workout down on a sticky note and place it over each day – again, I could move it around if something happened and I had to alter which day would be my rest day.
Schedule your workouts for when you know they will get done. Before I had my daughter, my workouts were done first thing in the morning after I woke up. Now that Katey is here, my workouts happen during her first (and longest) nap of the day in the later morning. As she grows and her sleeping schedule changes, I’ll have to adjust to make sure I can get them in.
Treat your workouts like appointments you’ve made with someone (yourself) and DO NOT CANCEL. It’s rude to stand yourself up.
Plan for workouts that last at least 30 minutes and try to commit to 4-6 days a week, even if one of those days is just a busy day on your feet instead of a traditional workout (like an outing with the family, errands, whatever). I like to include one rest day a week, but obviously if you’re a beginner you may need more – work at your level.
4. WORKOUT FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
Like I said, I like to get my workout done early. A morning workout sets the tone for the day by waking you up and energizing you. Setting your alarm 30-60 minutes earlier each morning will help you get your “me time” done and out of the way before the stresses of the day hit you.
If I don’t get my workout done early, chances are things will happen (like work) and I won’t feel like it later in the day. Do what’s best for your energy and your day, and plan during a time you know you won’t have unexpected interruptions.
5. NEVER MISS A MONDAY, NEVER MISS TWO DAYS IN A ROW
If you can, NEVER miss a Monday – I find my Monday workouts set my mind for the week and if they include a workout, then I’m less likely to get out of the groove later in the week. A lot of times people get into the mindset of having to start with a new week/month as well (I know I still do from time to time) – if it doesn’t happen this Monday, they’ll put it off until next Monday. Don’t fall into that trap. Even if you miss Monday, start Tuesday. Who cares? If I know I have to miss a Monday due to work or family, I will use Sunday as my “Monday” workout to start my week in a positive way.
Only having one rest day at a time also helps me stay on track – my body gets the rest and recovery that it needs, and then I’m back to work the next day. I find if I have to take two rest days in a row (which happens sometimes with life and work), it’s much harder to get back to my routine and I really have to force myself to get moving.
6. REPRIORITIZE YOUR TIME
Is your health important to you? It should be. If time is an issue, this is what I want you to do: write down every single thing you do each day and how much time you spend doing each task. Block out an entire 24 hours. I bet you’ll find a lot of time that you’re wasting. I know I did when I ran through this exercise. Paying attention to when you’re wasting time and cutting that out will give you so much more time to work with throughout your day. Finding an extra 30-60 minutes end up being pretty easy when you knock out things that aren’t important.
7. TURN OFF YOUR TECHNOLOGY
The iPhone has a wonderful feature called Do Not Disturb – use it! Or leave your phone out of your workout space all together. I personally track my workouts on my phone so I need it with me – but turning on the Do Not Disturb feature or just flipping it to silent helps me focus.
Consider social media/texting/calling/emailing “off limits” during your workouts. If you think of something you want to do or say, bring up your Notes program (or whatever you use), make a note of it, and come back to it later. The minute you open a social app, you can kiss your motivation goodbye. I used to answer Facebook messages during my workouts. HUGE waste of time! Now I see them pop up, I note them, and I deal with them when I’m done.
And for the love of all things holy, please stop with the gym selfies. You want to take one when you’re starting or finishing for your own progress tracking, wonderful. But no one wants to see them, I’m sorry, but it’s true. You really don’t need 50 pictures of yourself in between sets trying to get the “perfect” shot. This falls into the “time wasting” category and I bet if you turned that camera off, you’d come up with 15-20 minutes that you could get in a quick HIIT workout or work your core after your main workout.
8. PLAN YOUR CALORIES AND MEALS
I love My Fitness Pal and I use it daily (716 days in a row as of today’s date actually). I have my calorie and macro goals set and I log everything I eat. Obsessive? Maybe to some people. Effective? Absolutely. I’m currently down 47.8 pounds as of today and I have a lot less unexpected gains when I plan and log my food.
Going into your day with a plan is smart because you’re less likely to “accidentally” eat more than you should if you know exactly what you plan to eat. I personally will schedule a few days out, too, so I have a general idea of what I’ll be eating and if I have to visit the grocery store to stock up (that helps me avoid grabbing takeout because I wasn’t prepared).
I always pin a ton of healthy recipes on my Pinterest page, too – it’s a great place to find healthy modifications on your favorite meals and snacks.
Not sure how much you should be eating to reach your goals? Let’s talk.
9. GET A FRIEND INVOLVED
Having someone by your side through your struggles and successes is an amazing thing. If you’re going it alone and get flack from others for whatever reason, or you find that you’re struggling, you’re much more likely to quit. However, if you have a friend by your side going through the same thing you are, it’s a lot easier to power through.
My husband truly is my “swolemate.” We both track our calories and macros so having dinner planned for the week is beneficial for both of us – he relies on me to know what’s going on and I rely on him. Hitting our daily numbers is like a game for us and we compare how we did. We celebrate each other’s successes, help each other through our struggles. We work out together as much as we can – during the winter when we have a looser schedule, that’s daily. During the warm months when work takes us in two different directions, we workout separately but we still check in with each other for accountability.
If you don’t have anyone in your life that will help you, please contact me and I’ll get you added to my private fitness group on Facebook, Team Empowerment. It’s full of amazing people working hard on their own progress while supporting each other. Becoming a member of a fitness family is beautiful and so fulfilling. I’ve made great friends that I’ve never met face-t0-face, but they know my struggles and they lift me up when I’m down. Seeing their success motivates me to keep moving.
10. REMEMBER THAT IT’S A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT
Life happens, plain and simple. This is not all or nothing. Your health is important for life, not just for the next 30/60/90 days. You will go through ups and downs, and there are times you will downright fail. It happens. But what matters is that you pick yourself up and keep moving.
I like to live by the 90/10 rule, which truly just comes down to moderation. 90% of the time, I’m on top of my game. I workout, I eat great…and that allows me to “cheat” for the other 10% of the time. I rarely have cheat days and I don’t splurge – I don’t feel the need to because I treat myself on a regular basis. Every single evening I have dessert – however, it’s a healthy dessert that fits into my calorie/macro goals. We keep small dark chocolates in the house to have if we’re craving chocolate – I’ll have one or two and go about my day without any guilt or derailing my progress. I don’t really ever feel deprived because if I want something, I have it. I just make sure that it fits in my day.
Sure, there are days that become cheat days just because of life – for example, we went to visit my sister in Columbus in the this weekend and you better believe we got Pei Wei and Smoothie King because we don’t have them locally. Did I feel guilty about that? Heck no! I didn’t go overboard, I had my fill, and I got back to normal the next day. That right there is my 10%. I work hard for my 90% so that when I get that 10%, it won’t matter.
The 90/10 rule goes for your workouts, too. Life gets busy sometimes and it prevents you from working out. Does it mean if you’re in the middle of a program that you quit? Nope! You pick up right where you left off when you get back to it and finish. Your progress may be delayed but you’ll get there. You will be much further ahead than if you had completely walked away from it all together.
I have seen so many people hit a road block and stop completely, they just lose all motivation and will not pick up the pieces because they feel like a failure. Don’t do that to yourself because the only person you are hurting is YOU. Welcome help and motivation from others, use these steps I’ve outlined to motivate yourself, and please contact me if you need help!