You may be gung-ho about your fitness routine right now, but at some point, sooner or later, you are going to lose motivation. What then? How do you keep going and avoid the temptation of binging on peanut butter-stuffed pretzels and Netflix? Pausing your exercise program for lack of time, work stress, or lapse in motivation should never be an option, still it happens. Cycles of stopping, and restarting a workout regimen predispose the weekend warrior to injury, weight gain, and mood swings. Rather than attempting to lose ten pounds, a better goal might be to search out the exercises that will continue to keep you excited, inspired, and motivated. People give up when they lose motivation or become bored, and their logical reasons for for hitting the gym seemingly disappear. Motivation comes from having a purpose. A proper training routine that you enjoy could give you that purpose.
It’s important to recognize the difference between training and exercise. Any exercise is good for you, but great training (the kind that stays with you for life) should be progressive, planned, and focused. Exercise can be anything you do to activate your body, and therein lies the trouble. The roads to exercise are infinite but not all of them will lead you to true fitness. In contrast, training is like climbing a mountain. It’s not glamorous but every day that you take a step, you are one step closer to your goal. If your goal is, “to exercise until your lose twenty pounds” you will either succeed or fail based on what your scale reads each morning. By this approach most people fail repeatedly.
Similarly, most people don’t give themselves a chance to succeed because they place the initial bar too high. Forget about losing twenty pounds, focus on lifestyle changes that can be maintained. It’s well documented that small achievable goals add up to big accomplishments over time. So set small goals, and then make a plan to reach each one. Keep in mind that a plan is an outline, not a rigid set of rules. You are training when you work the plan. If your plan doesn’t work, don’t give up. The good news is you learned something about what doesn’t work. Simply reevaluate with this new information and replan. Congrats, you are now one step closer!