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The hardest part of getting into a new workout routine is usually just getting started. Once you have a sold routine down, it’s a lot easier to motivate yourself to get to the gym – even if it is raining, and especially once you start seeing results. Below are the 5 things I always consider before getting back into a workout routine.
1. Define your goals
Are you trying to lose weight? Gain muscle? Increase endurance? Bigger arms? Six pack abs? It’s important to define what you are trying to accomplish and then build a workout plan around your goals.
If you have a limited amount of time in the gym, like most of us do, it doesn’t make sense to be spending more time doing cardio than lifting weights if your goal is to gain strength.
Nothing is more discouraging than working up the motivation to finally get back in the gym, and then realizing you don’t know where to start once you get there.
I recommend defining what you want to accomplish first and then building your plan around it. For example, if you want to lose fat but hate conventional cardio training then you should consider training in circuits to keep your heart rate up. Circuits that alternate between upper and lower body for 6-8 exercises with at least 10 reps each will get you in that 2-5 minute interval where your body will be using your anaerobic system to get through the workout. Do this for at least 25 minutes which is about 6-10 circuits and you’ll begin to see your cardio increase.
But, whatever your goal is, you cannot overlook the importance of your diet in helping you reach it.
2. Establish your diet
Your diet is just as important as your workout. No matter how hard you work in the gym, it will be extremely difficult to accomplish your goals without a good diet plan.
Ever heard the quote “abs are made in the kitchen” or “you are what you eat”? The foods you eat are vital when it comes to having a flat, strong mid-section. You need to eliminate the excess fat to let your muscles show. Fatty and sugary foods (and alcohol) keep you from eliminating your stubborn belly fat. There are such things as healthy and unhealthy fats. The healthy fats can be an integral part of your diet to eating healthier and losing weight.
Sure, some people exercise so that they can eat whatever they want, but we’re here to improve ourselves. And you can’t improve yourself by eating trash food.
Whenever diet planning, at the very least, I always recommend eliminating as much sugar as possible, and completely eliminating processed foods. Even on my cheat meals I avoid sugar and processed foods.
Without a proper diet to match your fitness plan, you’re holding yourself back from making progress.
3. Avoid busy gym times
One of the best feelings in the world is an empty gym. I get more satisfaction walking into an empty gym then walking into my own home, that’s a hot take. And likewise there is nothing worse than a full, busy gym.
I totally support everyone working on themselves and getting healthier, just not when I am. I hate it when my workout takes even ten minutes longer than it should. I like to move at a fast pace and all these people are just getting in the way! Waiting for equipment just gives me time to remember I’d rather be home and talks me into skipping steps in my routine.
Popular gym times are usually in the morning before work and immediately after work. I refuse to go to the gym during these times. I’d rather get in a late-night work out and get less sleep if that means my workout will be better.
Crowded gyms also force you to people watch and compare yourself to the guy next to you or the girls on the treadmill in front of you. Everyone’s mom has told them not to compare themselves to others, and she wasn’t wrong. There will always be someone in better shape than you and there will always be someone in worse shape. That person you wish you looked like wishes they looked like someone else. And I’m sure there is someone in the gym working to look like you.
Only compare yourself to your yesterday self. The goal is to get healthier today than you were yesterday. Eat a little better and workout a little harder everyday.
4. Acknowledge what didn’t work last time.
There are many reasons why people stop working out. Between work, family, and friends, not everyone has the luxury of sticking to their workouts on a regular basis. But most people stop because they aren’t seeing results and aren’t enjoying it anymore.
It’s a lot easier to enjoy something when you’re getting what you want out of it. So think about why you stopped last time. Figure out what it was that you didn’t like or that didn’t work and adjust your plan.
I always go back to a quote I once heard whenever I start into something new: “Success doesn’t follow passion, passion follows success.”
You might not become successful following your passion, but if you are successful at something you will become passionate about it. Everyone likes what they are good at and everyone likes accomplishing their goals. If you are consistently losing weight, or gaining muscle, and your life is improving, it’s safe to say you’ll fall in love with the process.
5. Create a playlist
I love catching up on new music or podcasts while working out. Drake came out with a new album? I’m going to listen to it the next time I hit the gym. Gary Vaynerchuk just dropped a keynote on his podcast? I can’t wait to listen to it when I’m doing abs!
A good music playlist can get you through those last few reps that are most important, and it’ll make your workout more entertaining. You’ll hit the highs and lows and the lows are easier to get through when you can listen to something you like.
Set some goals, come up with a plan and hit the gym! Nothing will be accomplished if you don’t get started, and unfortunately sometimes that’s the hardest part. Remember – just get a little better every day and don’t compare yourself to others. If you are dedicated and work hard, you’ll get to where you want to be. Everyone’s on their own path, be thankful that you can do something about it.