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There are a whole host of reasons we may fall out of our exercise routines from time to time. Sometimes life just gets in the way for a while….work gets too busy, we get sick, we have surgery or we go on vacation. Other times it’s a combination of a wide range of factors that all seem to come together to throw us off the workout bandwagon.
Really, the reasons why don’t matter so much. What’s important is getting started again….but this can be a huge hurdle, too. Ever started your exercise routine again to find out you’d fallen out of the habit within just a few short days?
It’s important we restart our routine with the right attitude and expectations to allow us to get on track and stay on track the first time. The first few weeks of a new exercise plan are the toughest, so let’s have a look at a few things we can do to make sure the new plan sticks!
1) Commit to Make It a Habit
The experts say that it takes 21 to 28 days to build a habit. So that means that if you can stick out the first 3 to 4 weeks of your new exercise program, it’ll become like second nature…a seamless part of your lifestyle! So when you first start your new program, rather than focusing only on weight loss goals, make a single goal: commit to stick with your exercise program for one month, no matter what.
To do this, schedule a consistent time each day for your workout. Working out at the same time each day will make exercise become a true habit. On rest days, use this same scheduled time to care for your body. You can do some light stretching, get a massage or manicure, read some articles about health and fitness or plan the week’s healthy meals.
2) Start Slow
Starting your new fitness program with an impossibly challenging first workout is the quickest way to get discouraged. Your muscles are out of shape, and it doesn’t work to try to beat your body into submission. Do so and you could be sore for a week (leaving yourself unable to do your daily workouts), or even injure yourself.
For the first few weeks, modify your workouts so that you can ease into the routine. While the workouts should feel challenging to you, your stamina and strength are not the same today as they were before you fell off of your previous exercise program. You’ll get there soon enough, so for now, just take care of yourself and don’t overdo it.
3) Treat Muscle Soreness
For the first two or three weeks of your new exercise program, your muscles will be sore. While it might be uncomfortable, it’s good news! It means your muscles are beginning the process of regrowth. The results you’re looking for are on the way! Muscle soreness decreases as your fitness increases, so after the first few weeks the pain shouldn’t get in your way.
In the meantime, there are a couple of things you can do to help ease the pain of your ailing muscles. Check out these 10 Tips to Decrease Muscle Soreness.
4) Take Rest Days
This is an important point that many people beginning a new exercise program ignore. Your muscles aren’t built while you’re in the gym pumping iron. They’re built afterwards while you’re at home recovering. Rest days are crucial to muscle growth and recovery of your tendons and joints. If you don’t take rest days, not only will you see slower results, you’re likely to get injured.
To make sure a rest day or two doesn’t turn into another three month trip off the bandwagon, schedule a recovery activity on your rest days during the same time you’d normally exercise. Take a light 20 minute walk to keep blood flowing, do some gentle stretching or self-massage your sore muscles.
5) Choose a Program That Fits Your Lifestyle
The best way to stick with an exercise program is to find one that fits seamlessly into your life. For those of us who lead extremely busy lives, working out at home can be helpful since it saves time. Others may find they need the dedicated space for fitness that the gym offers to help feel motivated. Either way, exercise doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. With the right program, 30 minutes of exercise per day is enough.
We designed our Athlean-XX for Women program for women to get the greatest results in a short 30 minute time span. The workouts can be done either at home (with DVDs) or the gym (with workout cards) so that it fits your lifestyle no matter what. Athlean-XX is based on fast-paced circuit strength workouts that will get your heart-pumping cardio and your strength training done in one fell swoop!
It’s also important to us to make you feel motivated and supported. There are special challenges along the way so that you can see your progress, and our Facebook page provides daily positive motivations. In our blog, we share with you the best new fitness and nutrition science, healthy recipes, and tips to help you meet your goals. Finally we have a special Facebook group for women who are currently doing the program so that they can motivate each other.
If you’re looking for a program that will motivate you and that you can stick with, give Athlean-XX for Women a try. You won’t believe the results you’ll see in just 90 short days!