Schedule exercise into your day
"Basically, what I tell my clients to do – and also what they find works best – is to schedule exercise in," says Sonja Franzmann of Miss Fit Personal Fitness Training & Nutrition Consulting in Calgary. She says that if you don't set aside the time for exercise, you'll find an excuse to avoid it.
Start with something fun and set a realistic period of time
"Again, book an appointment with yourself to work out," Franzmann says. It doesn't have to be a one-hour run or resistance-training session – just start with what is realistic for you, she says. "It could be 20 minutes after dinner or during your lunch hour. Just do something," she says. Even better, pick something fun. "Play tennis, swim or dance," she says. You don’t have to go to a gym.
Pick a time when your energy levels are high
What time during the day does your energy level peak? When do you feel the most sluggish? If you’re exhausted after work, that's probably not the best time to exercise – not because it won't make you feel good, but because you're more likely to ditch your plans.
Add friends to your workout
Figure out if you like to be active on your own, if you prefer working out with a partner or if you like the anonymity but group dynamic of an exercise class. "Those are all important things to consider," Franzmann says.
Page 1 of 2 -- Sonja says there are two mistakes that will guarantee fitness failure. Could you be making them? Find out on page 2.
Exercising will eventually become a habit
Once being active becomes habitual, it's so much easier to stay active, says Franzmann. "You want to do it – it feels strange if you don't. And that's the point I want all my clients to get to, where it just becomes part of his or her lifestyle," she says. "Making exercise a habit is key, and having support from family, friends and coworkers is important as well," she says.
Consider a personal trainer
Clients of Franzmann's that have stuck with exercise over the years either train with her on a regular basis because they know they won't do it without her, or they see her less frequently because "they are motivated enough on their own to be active," she says.
All the exercise adds up
Many of us throw in the towel on exercising when we can't get to the gym every day. But all the little things add up, so don't beat yourself up and give up just because you didn't get drenched in sweat. "All activity counts, whether it is five minutes of stair climbing or 30 minutes of walking. Just move your body," says Franzmann. "That's why it's key to do something you actually enjoy – you will want to do it again and again, thus creating a positive habit," she says.
"But I left my gym shoes at home"
So what? We all use this excuse at least once. You can do a little desk yoga, or go for a 20-minute walk if your shoes are sensible. And vow to never take the escalator or elevator.
Forget trendy workouts
There's no need to obey workout trends: the smart money in balancing work and exercise is finding something you will do because you're gratified by it. If you don't like spynga (that's spinning with yoga), you probably won't do it for the long term anymore than you read university textbooks for fun. Every individual has different goals in mind and time available to commit to activity, so you really have to plan what will work for your lifestyle, says Franzmann.
Stop looking for the best parking spot
The more time you spend angling for the parking spot closest to the front door, the less time you're spending walking. Period.
Don't concentrate on getting fit fast. Exercise is a permanent lifestyle change
"Slow and steady wins the race. If someone tries to exercise five times a week and changes her eating habits all at once, failure is pretty much a guarantee," says Franzmann, who is also a nutrition consultant. "You should be looking at this as a lifestyle change, and that takes time. So take it slow and keep it realistic." Negative habits take time to form, as do positive ones, she says, and real progress isn't instant.
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