Fitness

The best fitness motivation tips from Canada's top trainers

By: Karen Kwan

Photo courtesy of Wavebreak Media Ltd Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photo courtesy of Wavebreak Media Ltd

Fitness

The best fitness motivation tips from Canada's top trainers

By: Karen Kwan
Make your workout the first priority in your day. Everyone is overscheduled—it can feel like there's not an extra minute of free time in the day to spend getting fit. "Plan to do your exercise, even if you only do 15 to 20 minutes on some days, in the morning before the day gets busy," says Brent Bishop, president of Think Fitness Studios in Toronto. "Then you will go into your day feeling accomplished, your health and fitness will improve and you'll see the crossover into the rest of your life." How can you help guarantee you won't use your mornings to catch up on your zzz's? Bishop suggests sleeping in your gym clothes. If you're not a morning person and prefer to exercise after work, he recommends keeping your packed gym bag in your car so you don't use the excuse of not having your gear as you pass by the gym on your way home.

Editor's Tip: In the winter, try using a light-up alarm clock to help your body get up gently even when it's pitch black out.

Keep your fitness regimen exciting.
"I tell women to keep their regimen fresh by switching up their training style—from the studio to the gym to high-intensity training," says Eva Redpath, a Nike Master Trainer. "When you do this, you're more likely to break through a weight-loss plateau, build new muscle and prevent your body from using the same muscles over and over, which can cause injuries," she says, adding that you'll also beat workout boredom, so you'll be more likely to stick to your training goals.

Editor's Tip: Get a weekly pass to a different exercise studio every week for one month to help you mix it up and find a new class or routine that might work.

Encourage yourself to do the exercises you know you should do—but hate. We all tend to gravitate towards a certain type of workout, whether it's something that gets our adrenaline pumping or one that brings some peace and quiet to our lives. To incorporate more cross training into your regimen, though, especially when it comes to including the types of exercise you dread doing, Bishop says it's important to understand why you're doing the exercise in relation to your goals. "It has to be meaningful to you," he says. For example, say you're a runner who hates strength training, consider how functional strength training will enhance joint stability, muscular balance, and core and postural strength—all the elements that will make you a stronger and faster runner while allow in your joints to withstand the impact over time and prevent injury, says Bishop.

Editor's Tip: Talk to a personal trainer. Many gym's provide free sessions. Get them to evaluate you and your goals and then set a goal to try their recommendations once a week.

Reward yourself to stay motivated. "You always have to celebrate the good and learn from the bad," says Tommy Europe of Tommy Europe Fitness (you also probably know him from the TV shows The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp and Bulging Brides). "When you've reached a target, reward yourself with something—and know what it is before you start—one that doesn't ruin your hard work." His recommendations for a small reward include a dessert, some new fitness gear or a night out with your friends. What to steer clear from as they'll ruin all of your efforts? "A cheat weekend, or binge eating or drinking," says Europe.

Editor's Tip: Skip the ice cream and reward yourself with a night out of dancing that will get you motivated to fit into that old black dress and also burn calories.
 
Don't let setbacks derail your entire regimen. You've been working out regularly for weeks, and then you went on vacation where the most activity you did was walk to your chaise longue on the beach and you completely blew your diet. But a setback can only become a failure if you allow it to be a permanent event, says personal trainer Sammie Kennedy (who also founded the now defunct Booty Camp Fitness). Instead of thinking of your vacation as ruining all of your progress and giving up completely, she suggests promptly evaluating what it is that affected your routine and looking at what adjustments you can make to ensure you get back on track. "Then, take action!"

Editor's Tip:
Track your progress on a fitness app to see where you've made gains and share with a community of like-minded individuals to keep you motivated.

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The best fitness motivation tips from Canada's top trainers

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