We are wrapping up February and rounding the corner into March, and even through it's still chilly here in the mid-Atlantic region, just the mention of the month brings me visions of daffodils and tulips. To me, March means Spring is on it's way and winter is in the rearview mirror. Making it through the winter months and trying to stick to a fitness regimen can be tough, but keep in mind that we're almost through the blistery chill and shorts, skirts and dresses are in the not-too-distant future. Here are 5 tips to keep you going:
1) Just get started - Lace up those sneakers and step out the front door. Lay out your yoga mat or gym clothes the night before. Getting started is the hardest part and I find that after 10-15 minutes, I've long forgotten the hesitation to start. Instead, the moment you feel yourself dreading your workout or losing motivation, stop agonizing and just start. The rest will take care of itself.
2) Pace yourself - Start slow - lay the foundation for success. There is a sweet spot where exercising invigorates you, energizes you and makes you smile. If you push past that threshold into extreme muscle soreness and utter exhaustion too soon, you will be less likely to return tomorrow, let alone next week or next month.
3) Join a group - Studies show, time and again, that becoming part of a group increases accountability and dedication to any program. Find a group exercise class you enjoy. For me, I look forward to my Friday Zengo class and reformer Pilates sessions with an instructor. Find something that you enjoy and make it a priority at least once a week.
4) Think outside the gym - (here or here or here) Get creative. Find ways to get your workout in when you can't make it to the gym. Take the stairs, do squats while you fold laundry or hold plank on the commercial breaks. Also, with small investments in equipment you can create a great at-home workout. Some of my favorites include: a tabata app on my phone, a mini fitness trampoline, elastic bands and a core ball.
5) Focus on resolve instead of the resolution - Even the best made plans will fail on occasion. Life happens, but let it be a "once in awhile" thing and not a regular occurrence. Resolutions such as "I'm going to workout seven times a week" or "I'm going to lose 30 pounds by summer" are lofty goals. Personally, when I make wide sweeping goals, without smaller action items, I am often unsuccessful OR once I get off track, I have a tough time getting back on course. Instead, try resolve, which is an attitude, a sense of determination and a commitment of moving towards a better you, regardless of the setbacks along the way. One day of indulgence will not make or break your goal, but beating yourself up over one misstep could set you back permanently. Focus on attacking your goals with RESOLVE and you will set yourself up for long term success.
What tips and tricks have you used this winter to make sure you're staying the course with your fitness goals?
image via death to the stock photo