It's easy to make New Year's resolutions to join a gym, lose post-holiday pounds and get into top shape. The hard part for many is not only to follow through and start a workout program, but to stick with it for several months thereafter.
Below are several solutions to maintain your New Year's resolution.
The Gym is Too Crowded
Athletes and non-athletes alike can get turned off when they enter an overcrowded weight room. Many are immediately tempted to forgo their workout.
Solutions: Ask the weight room supervisor or manager for the gym's least crowded times, and rearrange your workout schedule. Or periodically take your workout program outdoors. Head to a park, playground or football field and do some bodyweight exercises—like for example, Pull-Ups on playground bars, elevated Push-Ups off park benches or stadium bleachers, Sprints up and down the bleachers, and walking front and side Lunges.
A Gym Membership is Too Expensive
Health clubs typically make introductory offers and provide perks to join. Once the initial membership is up for renewal, the price can go up, a general excuse to cease training.
Solutions: Seek out a less costly local gym. Or purchase some low-cost exercise equipment (e.g., a medicine ball, a pair of dumbbells) and work out at home year-round at your convenience.
The Weightroom is Closed
When the school gym or your area health club is closed, don't fret and abandon training.
Solutions: Work out at home. Do bodyweight exercises such as regular Push-Ups, elevated Push-Ups (feet atop a bed or a chair), Prone and Side Planks, Wall Squats, Squat Thrusts, Mountain Climbers, and Inverted Rows (straddling in a door frame and holding on to the doorknobs). Check out the video player above for a great workout you can do in your home.
No Time to Exercise
A common excuse for abandoning a workout program is lacking time to fit it into a busy school, sports or job schedule.
Solutions: You don't have to train every day. Getting in two or three short but intense workouts per week is better than skipping exercise. Do quick (15- to 30-minute) full-body workouts at home twice a week before school or work and a longer session on weekends when more time is available. Or perhaps the weight room is open before school starts or you can hit up a nearby health club for an early-morning workout.
New Year's Resolutions Don't Work
You can keep your New Year's fitness resolution in your head, but if it's not written down and visibly displayed as a constant reminder, it will probably be forgotten by February.
Solutions: Sticking with workouts year-round honors your resolution. Maintain your motivation by jotting down additional goals. This will also help you avoid training plateaus and enhance your fitness or sports performance. Examples: Need to improve your endurance for games that go into overtime or extra innings? Take shorter rest periods between sets (or do 30-second sprints between sets). Poor balance? Incorporate single-leg exercises into your workouts. Other goals could include devoting two workouts per week to boosting size and strength, and a third one focused on speed.
I Have an Injury
Sports or exercise-related injuries need not necessarily keep you out of the weight room.
Solutions: Leg or foot injury? Perhaps you can do seated non-weight bearing upper-body exercises. Shoulder or arm injury? Keep your arms at your sides and do lower body movements (e.g., Step-Ups, Lunges, and Wall Squats). If one limb is injured, perhaps you can still do single-leg or single-arm movements with your healthy arm or leg.
I'm Bored With my Workouts
Bored with your routine? Stuck on a plateau?
Solutions: Hire a certified personal trainer or strength coach at your gym for constant motivation and revive stale workouts.
Solo workouts can get monotonous. Training with a partner or participating in group exercise classes can provide a much-needed physical and mental boost, helping you to stay the course with a fitness or sports conditioning program.
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