Easy Ways to Stick to Your Workout
* Do a Daily Gut Check
Place your fingers on your belly and inhale deeply so that it expands. As you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles and push your fingertips against your hard abdominal wall. Now pinch. “You’re holding pure fat between your fingers,” says Tom Seabourne, Ph.D., author of Athletic Abs. Do this every day, 30 minutes before your workout, and you’ll find that you’ll rarely decide to skip it.
* Hire a (qualified) Personal Trainer
No only will they hold you accountable, they will be able to teach you how to exercise properly, safely and way more efficiently, not to mention make your workouts a lot more fun and keep them from getting boring!
* Join a Fitness Message Board
It’ll be full of inspiration from men who have accomplished their goals and are working toward new ones. Our particular favorite: the 52-Day Challenge. Created by a Men’s Health Belly Off! Club forum member with the username Determined, it’s designed to foster encouragement, discipline, and accountability. “Each participant posts and tracks his goals for a 52-day period so that everyone is accountable to the other members,” says Determined.
* Strike an Agreement with Your Family
The rule: You get 1 hour to yourself every day, provided that you use it for exercise (and reciprocate the favor). So there’s no pressure to do household chores, play marathon games of Monopoly, or be a doting husband (a fat, doting husband). “Since it’s for your health, it’s a contract they can’t refuse. And that will allow you to exercise guilt-free while acting as a role model for your children,” says Darren Steeves, C.S.C.S., a trainer in Canada.
* Burn a kicking Workout CD
Studies have shown that men who pedal stationary cycles while listening to their favorite music will do so longer and more intensely than men who exercise without music. So burn a disc with your favorite adrenaline-boosting songs (maybe something by Limp Bizkit or—if you’re over 50—Rolling Stones).
* Plan Your Workouts in Advance
At the start of each month, schedule all of your workouts at once, and cross them off as they’re completed. For an average month, you might try for a total of 16 workouts. If any are left undone at the end of the month, tack them on to the following month. And make sure you have a contingency plan for bad weather and unscheduled meetings. “You’re about 40 percent more likely to work out if you have strategies to help you overcome these obstacles,” says Rod Dishman, Ph.D., an exercise scientist at the University of Georgia.
* Squat First
If you have trouble finishing your weight workout, start with the exercises you dread. “You’ll look forward to your favorite exercises at the end of your workout, which will encourage you to complete the entire session,” says John Williams, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Spectrum Conditioning in Port Washington, New York.
* Have a Body-Composition Test
Do this every 2 months for a clear end date for the simple goal of losing body fat or gaining muscle. “Tangible results are the best motivator,” says Tim Kuebler, C.S.C.S., a trainer in Kansas City, Missouri. Your gym probably offers the service for a small fee—just make sure the same trainer performs the test each time.
* Don’t Do What You Hate
“Whenever you start to dread your workout, do what appeals to you instead,” says John Raglin, Ph.D., an exercise psychologist at Indiana University. If you loathe going to a gym, try working out at home. (Check the Men’s Health Home Workout Bible for ideas.) If you despise the treadmill, then jump rope, lift weights, or find a basketball court. Bottom line: If you’re sick of your routine, find a new one.
* Go Through the Motions
On days when you don’t feel like working out, make the only requirement of your exercise session a single set of your favorite exercise. “It’s likely that once you’ve started, you’ll finish,” says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S. If you still don’t feel like being in the gym, go home. This way, you never actually stop exercising; you just have some gaps in your training log.
* Start a Streak
There’s nothing like a winning streak to attract fans to the ballpark. Do the same for your workout by trying to set a new record for consecutive workouts without a miss. “Every time your streak ends, strive to set a longer mark in your next attempt.”
* Make Your Goals Attractive
“To stay motivated, frame your goals so that they drive you to achieve them,” For example, if you’re a 200-pound guy, decide whether you’d rather bench “over 200 pounds,” “the bar with two 45-pound plates on each side,” or “your body weight.” They’re all different ways of saying the same thing, but one is probably more motivating to you than the others.
* See Your Body Through Her/His Eyes
Ask your wife to make like Howard Stern and identify your most displeasing physical characteristic. “It’s instant motivation,” says Mejia. If she’s hesitant, make a list for her—abs, love handles, upper arms, and so on—and have her rank them from best to worst. Make the most-hated body part your workout focus for 4 weeks, then repeat the quiz for more motivation
* Hang around Fit People
They will motivate and inspire you, you will be surprised what rubs off on you! ___________________________________________
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