Many of us start out on our fitness journeys with grand plans, but a cold, a bad night’s sleep, or gloomy weather can easily eat away at your motivation. And once you’ve skipped one day, it’s much easier to skip another. But Luke Zocchi from Centr.com (that’s Chris Hemsworth’s health and fitness app) is here to help you build a solid strategy so you’re less likely to throw in the towel.
For most people, the hardest part about working out is getting into a good routine, and then actually sticking to it. It can be hard to keep yourself motivated, especially when you’re sore from your new routine, but there are some good tips I’ve picked up along the way that can help. It’s all about creating habits so that fitness feels like part of your daily life, and something you actually enjoy.
Don’t go from never working out to trying to spend two hours in the gym every day. You’ll end up sore, probably injured, and after a week or so you’ll most likely completely give up.
If you’ve got a big goal like losing some weight or running a new distance, set smaller goals, like hitting 10,000 steps every day, doing a couple of workouts, and eating healthier in week one. That way you’re less likely to have an all or nothing mentality, and you’re not going to be so annoyed when you don’t see a dramatic change one week in.
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Workout why you’re doing it
Whatever you’ve decided to change, there’s a reason behind it. That might be weight loss, strength, or how you feel.
Write it down, stick it on the fridge or the mirror, and keep it in your mind. That’s going to be the thing that motivates you when you really can’t be bothered.
Take the guesswork out
If you go to the gym without a plan, it’s probably not going to be a great session. If you don’t know where to start, signing up for a program or challenge is a great way to keep yourself accountable, and give you a set routine to work to.
You’ll be able to see and feel progress, and because you’ve paid and committed, there’s even more reason not to quit.
A lot of the time, you can also connect with other people that are doing the same challenge as you, so you’ve got extra motivation to keep at it.
Make it fun
I’d be lying if I said I love every minute of every one of my workouts, but making exercise fun is going to make a massive difference to how committed you are to it. Work out what motivates you and try and build your workouts around that, it could be a great playlist or working out with mates.
The way you structure your workouts also makes a difference here, I’m a believer in shorter and more effective workouts. For most people spending hours in the gym every day isn’t necessary, and you’re probably going to find it boring and resent it if you try and stick to that kind of routine. Focus on intensity, plan your workouts beforehand so you know exactly what you want to achieve, and get in and get it done.
The 80/20 approach
It’s simple: 80 percent of the time should be sticking to your new workouts and eating healthy, and 20 percent of the time you treat yourself.
Eat the chocolate, have that cake at your mate’s party, enjoy it and then get right back to your healthy eating afterward without beating yourself up about it.
Whether you’re starting out or you’re already active you should also take at least one rest day per week. Even if you’re used to exercise and think you can power through, your body needs rest, especially if you’re making changes to your regular routine.
Give yourself a break
Do you need to work hard to get results? Yes. Does that mean you should hate yourself if you take some time off, have a big weekend, or enjoy a few too many treats? Absolutely not.
If you want to stick to a workout routine long term it’s got to be realistic. If it feels like a punishment you’re just fighting against yourself the whole way. You might think that putting extra pressure on yourself or obsessing over everything you get wrong will push you to do better, but actually it will make it even harder to stick with it, and will stop you from forming healthy habits.
Luke Zocchi is a trainer on Chris Hemsworth’s personalised health and fitness app Centr.com, and one of the lead trainers in Centr’s newest program – Centr 6: Phase II, available in-app now.