by Dr. Rob Gruttadauria, DPT, OCS
Congratulations for making it through your first month back at the gym and keeping it up through February! Now comes the hard part: keeping it up for the next 11 months.
It can feel like an overwhelming challenge to keep up your workout routine, especially when you get extra busy, the results you're getting slow down, or you get bored with your workout.
If you have trouble keeping your motivation up and your body moving throughout the year, take a look at these 5 tips for inspiration.
#1 Don't doubt yourself. You've come this far, and you can keep going. Just focus on one workout at a time, and make sure you always have a measurable goal to work toward. Don't worry if you have a setback or need to readjust your goals based on your abilities – this is normal. Maybe instead of aiming to hike that 19,000 foot mountain in four weeks, you could try to run a mile in four weeks instead. Make your workout work for you and keep that head up high!
#2 Switch things up (and have fun!). After about four weeks, your body will start getting used to the workouts you're doing and may burn fewer calories doing the same activity. To keep yourself from getting bored and to shock your body into calorie loss, change things up in your exercise routine every month or so. If you only did the treadmill in January, switch to the elliptical in February and to the stationary bike or step machine in March. Once your body feels ready, you can also always throw in some workout classes if your gym offers them (just don't go too hard too fast!) or you can see if there is a walking, hiking, or exercise group in your area to join!
#3 Have patience. We've said it before and we'll keep saying it: slow and steady wins this race. Injuries can set you back weeks or months, so don't push yourself too hard. Gradually increasing the difficulty of your workout is the right way to go for lifelong health and fitness. If you get injured, head to a doctor or physical therapist for an evaluation. Don't push through injuries – you can make them worse and longer-lasting if you do.
#4 Ask for help! As you get stronger and more confident in the gym, you may start to do more weight and cardio exercises. One way to avoid injury and ensure you're strengthening the right muscles is to make sure you have the right form. Don't be afraid to ask a friendly-looking fellow gym-goer, a personal trainer, a physical therapist, or a gym staff member for help with your form.
#5 Show up. One of the toughest parts about working out is finding the time. There will be days where your schedule is so busy, you can't make it to the gym. Go the next day. There will be days when you're too tired and don't want to go work out. Go anyway! Showing up is half the battle, and working out every day you can matters, even if it's not the "perfect" workout or the best workout of your life. It all adds up. Every workout makes a difference.
Dr. Rob Gruttadauria, DPT, OCS, is clinical director at the Seekonk Street, Providence clinic. He has clinical expertise in Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), Functional Movement Screening (FMS), orthopedic, neurological, and post-surgical rehabilitation, sports rehabilitation, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.
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