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Do You Know These 7 Secrets To Getting & Staying Pumped About Regular Exercise?

October 26, 2011

By Claudiu Popa, PTS, OAS

From the moment we buy a gym membership or sign up for a regular exercise program we have expectations of improved fitness and lifestyle. It’s an emotional decision as much as a practical one.

Most of us enjoy indulging in the fantasy that once we ‘belong’ to a gym, the gains just happen by themselves and a ‘new us’ is just around the corner. That’s why so many people buy memberships and never return, effectively giving the gym free money and by the same token, plunging deeper into a sedentary lifestyle.

Indeed if you pay for a service you never take advantage of, it’s to the gym’s advantage! No wear and tear on the equipment, no risk of accident, no busy times! Your job is to unlock that potential and extract the value that some of us mistakenly think should be automatically included with our gym memberships.

We are emotional animals. We need to get excited about things. This applies to that exciting new exercise regimen that has been customized for us as much as our gym membership. If you want to maximize your effectiveness, you need to ensure that you avoid the “motivation black hole” that you’ve no doubt watched others fall into so many times before. It’s easy.

Simply follow these 7 steps recommended by seasoned health and fitness professionals the world over (or at least by me):

1. Plan ahead: If you can, request an exercise program at the beginning of your membership or as you’re deciding to give the gym another try. This way, you know what equipment and facilities you’ll need, and most importantly, you’ll be able to visualize yourself following a new routine before even starting.

2. Work around your own time constraints: Create your weekly schedule (and build in travel time) before your first workout, if you can. This will further motivate you and help eliminate excuses.

3. Make sure you’re comfortable: Ask for a free – or discounted - workout to get used to your personal trainer (if applicable) and to the facilities. Make sure you ‘click’ with your new exercise environment.

4. Build a safety net: Think about things that will demotivate you and/or cause you to skip workouts, then find safeguards to anticipate and prevent them. Encourage a buddy to join in, prepare effective nutritional supplements and energy drinks every morning, make sure there are consequences to skipping, and write it all down somewhere where you won’t miss it.

5. Be flexible: suggest and lead alternative workouts at home, at the beach or at the park. So if you choose to skip a cardio workout, why not go for a brisk walk at lunch time, or speed-walk with the dog that evening?

6. Be disciplined: There’s no need for military discipline when it comes to health and fitness. This is supposed to be fun and fulfilling. So create triggers to help you stick to those workouts. Something as simple as eating an apple before each workout, or jotting your goals down in your book will help you get started every time.

7. Work towards a goal: Don’t just go through the motions. Whether your goals are to get ultra-strong, trim, mobile, flexible, healthy or increasingly fit, write them down and revisit them each month. Make sure you’re happy with the progress and if not, simply increase the intensity and stick with it! Don’t ever get yourself down. Ever!

These tips may seem trivial, but they’re so infrequently followed and so poorly understood that they might as well be ‘secrets’. Share them with others and encourage them to in turn share with family and colleagues. Why not Tweet or Facebook?

The more people know that you’re dedicated, the more they’ll help support your efforts as they expect to hear about your exploits, and the more you’ll expect yourself to stick to a fun and enjoyable health and fitness program.

About the author:

Claudiu Popa, PTS, OAS, enjoys strength training and fitness conditioning, specializes in older adult fitness, appreciates working with exceptional clients and collaborating with outstanding professionals. Claudiu is the founder of Workout Smart and can be reached in confidence at Claudiu@WorkoutSmart.ca. Be sure to follow him at Twitter.com/WorkoutSmart and on http://Facebook.WorkoutSmart.ca.

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