How to Stick to and Maximize Your Workouts

March 4, 2013 | Mo Skelton

Must See Training Videos

Everyone has fitness goals, such as getting stronger, losing fat or lowering their 40 time. Yet too often people fail to achieve their goals because they get stopped by common roadblocks.(See Are Your Goals Achievable? How To Make Sure They Stick.)

It's important to understand what you are capable of at each stage of training. It's also important to avoid comparing yourself to athletes on airbrushed magazine covers to measure your progress. Determine what success means for you and set achievable goals based on it.

Define Your Goal

"I want to get in shape" is not measurable. Set a weight loss goal, a Bench Press rep or a Squat max goal. Write it down and define a strategy to achieve it.

Focus on Short-Term Goals

It's good to have big goals. However, you need short-term goals to track progress and give yourself a sense of achievement. Make sure to regularly document your progress.

Fight Through Bad Weeks

We all have weeks that upset our schedule, but don't let them alter your goal. If you have less time to work out, up the intensity. If you can't make it to the gym, work out at home with bodyweight exercises. (Check out The 8 Best Bodyweight Exercises and Best Bodyweight Exercises for Any Fitness Level.)

Ignore Bad Days

We've all had days that bring an unforeseen emergency, extra film study or mindless eating. If you let them, such days can cause significant frustration and even a feeling of failure, especially early in a training program. Forgive yourself and reset your focus. Remember to look at your goal sheet to remind yourself of what you are working toward.

If You Sustain an Injury

If you deal with common issues like knee or back pain, you might think working out will make them worse. In some cases, this is true. However, you can adapt your training to fit your needs. Try performing bodyweight exercises or training non-injured parts of your body to get some physiological benefits of exercise. (Read 3 Steps to Coming Back Better From an Injury.)

Prevent Fatigue With Recovery

Short-term fatigue can limit your progress, so schedule recovery weeks to prevent plateaus when lifting heavy weight. Also, make sure to get a warm-up so that your muscles and nervous system are active and engaged prior to your workouts. (See Boost Your Recovery With a Contrast Shower.)

Correct Your Mindset

If you have a history of workout failure, you will have negative feelings toward exercise. Yes, it takes hard work, but it will pay off in the long run if you are committed and approach your workouts with a positive frame of mind. If you are having trouble changing your approach, talk to a friend, coach or trainer.

Schedule Your Workouts

Schedule your workout for tomorrow. Don't hope it fits in your day. Even if it's short, do something. Remember, intensity and effort trump length with any workout.

Stick to a Plan

Don't go into the gym and arbitrarily perform exercises. To get best results, create a plan and stick to it. This ensures that you maximize your time in the gym and that your hard work will help you achieve your ultimate goal.

Refine Your Diet

You cannot out train a bad diet. Eating unhealthy is easy, and burning calories through training is difficult. Hone in on your diet so you have the energy and nutrients you need to support your exercise regimen.

Allow for Mental and Physical Recovery

Turn off your phone, TV and computer at some point during the day. Your mind needs time to unwind and relax without constant stimulus. Also, take two or three days off during the week to allow your muscles to recover. Give a muscle group 48 hours to recover before reworking it.

Photo: catalystathletics.com

Mo Skelton
- Mo Skelton is a physical therapist at McCurtain Memorial Hospital (Idabel, Okla.) and is the founder of F.A.S.T. Sports Performance. He also serves as...
Mo Skelton
- Mo Skelton is a physical therapist at McCurtain Memorial Hospital (Idabel, Okla.) and is the founder of F.A.S.T. Sports Performance. He also serves as...
Must See
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,229,917
Brandon Jennings: Brandon Jennings: "Always Improve"
Views: 5,609,405
Dwyane Wade Leads by Example Dwyane Wade Leads by Example
Views: 8,023,462

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,017,580
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,821
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,687
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,717
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,414
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,083
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,085
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,111

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Workouts of the Top Players in the 2015 NBA Playoffs

Workouts of the Top Players in the 2015 NBA Playoffs

WATCH: A. J. Green and Justin Houston Pushing a Truck

WATCH: A. J. Green and Justin Houston Pushing a Truck

The U.S Women's National Soccer Team's Road to the World Cup

The U.S Women's National Soccer Team's Road to the World Cup

SURVIVING SEALFIT: How Not to Hurt Yourself (Like I Did)

SURVIVING SEALFIT: How Not to Hurt Yourself (Like I Did)

How to Time Training Peaks to Be Your Best When It Matters Most

How to Time Training Peaks to Be Your Best When It Matters Most

Why All Athletes Should Do Soft Tissue Work

Why All Athletes Should Do Soft Tissue Work

You Can't Do It All in the Weight Room

You Can't Do It All in the Weight Room

5 Boss Workouts From Olympic Snowboarder Hannah Teter

5 Boss Workouts From Olympic Snowboarder Hannah Teter

How to Repair Your Body and Mind After a Long Season

How to Repair Your Body and Mind After a Long Season

Why These 7 NFL Receivers Do Pilates

Why These 7 NFL Receivers Do Pilates

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Gym for Your Summer Workouts

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Gym for Your Summer Workouts

WATCH: D.J. Williams' Endurance-Crushing Towel Plank Walk

WATCH: D.J. Williams' Endurance-Crushing Towel Plank Walk

Kobe Bryant's 5 Most Beastly Moments in the Gym

Kobe Bryant's 5 Most Beastly Moments in the Gym

3 Keys to Successful Off-Season Training

3 Keys to Successful Off-Season Training

Building Elite Soccer Players

Building Elite Soccer Players

This Full-Body Workout Has Everything You Need

This Full-Body Workout Has Everything You Need

How Kerri Walsh Jennings is Gearing Up for Her 5th Olympics

How Kerri Walsh Jennings is Gearing Up for Her 5th Olympics

All of the Football Positions, Explained

All of the Football Positions, Explained

3 Great Ways to Reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

3 Great Ways to Reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

WATCH: Torrey Smith and the Human Hammer Pull-Down

WATCH: Torrey Smith and the Human Hammer Pull-Down

7 Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles That Ruin Summer Workouts

7 Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles That Ruin Summer Workouts

13 Things You Should Do Before You Start Training This Summer

13 Things You Should Do Before You Start Training This Summer

10 Summer Fitness Tips to Help You Get Ripped

10 Summer Fitness Tips to Help You Get Ripped

Challenge Yourself With These Balance-Boosting Plank Exercises

Challenge Yourself With These Balance-Boosting Plank Exercises

3 Goals of Off-Season Hockey Training

3 Goals of Off-Season Hockey Training

Michael Bamiro's Big Breakthrough

Michael Bamiro's Big Breakthrough

LeBron vs. Steph: Who Trains Harder?

LeBron vs. Steph: Who Trains Harder?

YardBarker