2 months ago, I decided to start exercising everyday. To be honest, it wasn’t a very dramatic decision. I had started exercising so many times in the past, but it never stuck. Looking back, it’s been over 2 months since I started exercising regularly; 76 days to be exact. So I thought I’d share my experience on how I managed to continue exercising on a daily basis, as well as some of the challenges I ran into.
Yoga was something I have mentioned on my blog and I tried to do it a few times a week, but more often than not I’d forget to do it altogether. In my head I’d always liked the idea of becoming a fit and healthy person (with a toned body), but I never managed to exercise consistently over a long period of time. So my start to exercising everyday actually started as just another, let’s give it another go and hope that it sticks this time.
When I started, I hadn’t told anyone that I had started working out again. This was mainly because I had failed so many times that I didn’t want to bother telling anyone anymore. I’m going to start working out felt like a meaningless phrase at that point. Luckily for me, on day 3 one of my friends in a Facebook group announced that she was on day 3 of a diet. So although she wasn’t necessarily a fitness plan, it worked out because she was on the same day as me. Everyday she posted her meals and I posted my workout. Pretty soon other people in our group started joining in and encouraging each other. This was especially helpful on days when I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm to do my workout.
Redefine Your Workout
There are going to be days when the last thing you want to do is full workout. The most important thing when you first start working out is not quitting. So if you’re really having a rough day or just feel completely drained of energy, maybe the answer is to do a short stretch session rather than weights or cardio. Then you can feel good that you haven’t given up on working out, and a stretch before going to bed will help you relax and get some good sleep as well! Rest days and rehabilitation days are just as important as full workout days, so sometimes you need to listen to your body and schedule these into your workouts as well.
Setting Small Milestones
Koreans have a saying, ‘Jak-shim-sam-ill.’ It means that you can make up your mind to do something with all the willpower in the world, but it usually doesn’t last for more than 3 days. So I decided that this time around, my goal would be to overcome these crucial 3 days and exercise for 4 days in a row. So on the fourth day, although I didn’t really feel like exercising I pushed myself to do it because all I needed to do was one more day to meet my goal. Once I finished I was so happy and proud of myself that I thought to myself, ‘I made it! You know what? Maybe I could do 1 week?!’ So I set my goal to 1 week, and did a mini celebration on that Sunday. 1 week became 2 weeks. 2 weeks became 1 month. 1 month has now become 2 months!
Use An Exercise Program With A Calendar
One thing that has really helped me stick to exercising is following an exercise program. Both the Ashley Borden workout and the Kayla Itsines workout were helpful for me because they both had a scheduled program for more than 1 week. Going to the gym without knowing what to do can be overwhelming, and doing the same workout video over and over again can get boring. It’s nice to know that you don’t have to figure out what exactly you should be doing and can rely on a guide that will gradually increase the challenge over time. Some scheduled workouts will have arm workouts and leg workouts on different days, so that’s always a plus when your muscles are sore!
Personalize The Workout
One roadblock I always ran into when trying to workout was knee pain and shin splints. When I tried the C25k shin pain as well as knee pain started within the first week, and even when taking it slower it always surfaced within the first two weeks. Even with other workouts, knee pain seemed inevitable due to all the squats and lunges involved. So when a guide told me to do 15 squats, I did one. Two weeks later I decided to try two squats. A few weeks I tried three. I also made sure to turn my feet out at a 45 degree angle rather than keeping them parallel, and didn’t squat down too low. Currently I am at six squats/lunges and when I’m good and ready I’ll increase it to seven. When I tried 15 tricep dips and got a shoulder injury I stayed off my shoulders for a couple of weeks and knew I needed to start low and increase the number of reps gradually. It’s more important that you don’t get injured than it is to try to do all the repetitions in the guide, so start with 1-2 and work your way up!
Your turn ♥ How do you keep yourself motivated to workout?