The further into the day you wait, the harder it can be to fit that workout in. More often than not, obligation sidelines good intentions. The most effective way to stick to a routine is to get it out of the way early. Three to four days a week, I wake up at 4:15 a.m., ready to start my workout at 4:30. I dedicate 45 minutes to myself. Then by 6 a.m., I'm headed out the door to train my first client of the day. My endorphins are up, I feel energized and not in the least bit guilty about adding a little extra sweetener to my morning coffee. Plus, my free time can be spent on projects I love.
Tackle Your Weakest Areas First
Everyone has a weak area that they dread training. Some people tire easily during a leg workout, because it is the largest muscle group in the body and requires the most energy. Others have difficulty getting through endurance exercises such as jogging or mountain climbers, or upper body strength moves like push-ups. Getting these moves out of the way in the beginning of your routine will make you feel good, whereas putting it off will only deplete your motivation as time goes on.
Keep Your Workouts Manageable
Pair a difficult move with an easier exercise to make it manageable. For example, weighted box step-ups are a great booty busting move, but can really zap your energy. To recover, plan to follow it with a floor exercise such as crunches or chest press using lighter weights. Then move on to another difficult move, say, weighted squats before finishing with a recovery exercise like a plank hold or modified push-ups off your knees. Then repeat the circuit 2-4 times depending on your fitness level.
Set A Time Limit
A decent workout can and should be complete within 30-45 minutes. While you may not be able to perform at the same intensity as another person, it is important to work as hard as you are capable. If your heart rate is elevated and muscles are burning, you know you are working at maximum capacity. Don't short-change yourself by taking too many breaks. Glycogen stored in the muscle must be depleted before the body can begin to break down fat for energy.
Be Disciplined About Bedtime
Sleep and relaxation are essential to maintaining daily energy levels. This will make or break your ability to stick to a workout schedule. During the week, plan to be in bed by a certain time, without exception. On the weekends, avoid going to sleep more than 2 hours past your normal time. The same holds true for sleeping in. Straying too far from your regular schedule will make it that much harder to return to it once the weekend has ended.
Plan Your Workout Ahead Of Time
Knowing what you want to accomplish well before the workout will help keep you on track. Write it down. You can always make adjustments during the workout to accommodate your energy level. Without a plan, it's all too easy to skip the workout altogether.
Organize Your Workout Space
If you're going to the gym, set out your keys, ID cards and workout clothes. Place everything where you can easily get dressed without waking the entire household. But if you're like me, just the idea of driving to a gym will completely derail your workout plan. Instead, create a clean, neat space in your home with your weights, water bottle, mat and towel all set and ready to go. An inviting space is a huge motivator.
Track Your Progress
I look forward to checking off another completed workout, comparing my progress and seeing how much I accomplish each week. This is where writing down what I do for every workout is helpful. It also gives me ideas if I'm struggling to write up a new exercise routine.