Rev Up Your Workout Routine!
Now that swimsuit and sundress season is on its way out, is your desire to exercise also starting to feel like a distant memory? It’s normal for your motivation to wane at certain times throughout the year. But skip too many workouts, and you may find yourself in a full-on fitness slump. To the rescue: These tips will ramp up your workout routine, so you can get back on track -- and finally achieve the results you want.Rev-up Tip No. 1: Buddy up
I’m a huge believer of group exercise, whether it’s with one partner or in a group. And research backs me up: According to a recent Michigan State University study, women worked out longer -- and harder -- when they were matched with an exercise partner than when they went it alone.
Why is two better than one? First off, working out with someone else is engaging: The social interactions are refreshing and the group energy is contagious. Plus, it’s harder to quit or slack off when everyone else is going strong. Try changing up your workout routine by attending a new class or pairing up with a friend. If you need an extra boost, consider splitting the cost of a personal training session with a friend -- or two.
Rev-up Tip No. 2: Look past your pants size
Most people hit the gym because they want to slim down or tone up. That’s fine, but you also need to look at the bigger picture. In fact, one study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity showed that women who use exercise to improve their day-to-day life (such as feeling happier, getting more energy and easing stress) were more motivated to work out than those who wanted to lose weight.
If you haven’t thought about it much before, jot down some ways your life and health is better when you’re following a regular workout routine. Some possible examples: You sleep better, feel more confident or have more control over stress. You’ll quickly see it’s worth the effort!
Rev-up Tip No. 3: Re-evaluate your goals
If you’re losing your mojo, it may be time to stop and think what you want to get out of your workout routine. Set a personal challenge: You may want to lose a certain number of pounds or feel more energized. Or you could set your sights on a new physical feat, like running a 10K or completing 15 push-ups. Just be realistic about how much time it will take, and set both short- and long-term goals. The small successes (jogging 15 minutes straight, going to the gym three times in a week) will help you stay motivated for the end goal.
Rev-up Tip No. 4: Shake up your workout routine
Too much of the same of anything (food, workout routines, reality TV) leads to boredom and burnout. That’s why I recommend trying new types of exercise to discover other enjoyable options. Bored of biking? Tired of the treadmill? Sign up for a new Pilates fusion or kickboxing class. One place to look: Daily deal sites, such as Groupon, often offer exercise classes at local studios and gyms at a fraction of the cost. I’ve tried tons of cool classes (without straining my wallet) this way!
Rev-up Tip No. 5: Pat yourself on the back
Be sure to give yourself credit for any progress you make on your workout routines or goals you achieve. The satisfaction of even small accomplishments will help propel you toward larger goals.
It also doesn’t hurt to have a reward system in place. Just keep in mind that the best treats are those that give you a boost (a spa treatment or cute new workout clothes) instead of setting you back (a 1,000-calorie dessert).
Photo: Corbis Images