This year let’s make sure we don’t wander back onto the path of least resistance as some of our old, less than optimal lifestyle habits try to creep back into our daily routines. It’s not always easy to stick to your fitness regimen. Trust us, we all have to put in the effort, practice self-discipline, and kick our own butts from time to time. The temptation to sink into the sofa after a long day of work and order a pizza for dinner is something we all have to fight against. When you’re tired, worn out, or hung over, the motivation to work out seems like a distant memory or something that other people are just born with. Well, we’re here to tell you, nobody wakes up (or leaves work) wanting to exercise.
Let’s be honest, who thinks after a long day at the office, or wrangling the kiddos, or running errands, or fighting fires (or whatever it is you do), “I can’t wait to fight for a parking spot at the gym tonight and force myself to get gross and sweaty!” Not us! But when we remind ourselves of the benefits and set our lives up to make fitness more of a priority and less of an obligation, somehow, against all odds, we find ourselves sticking to our fitness regimen, and loving what we see in the mirror!
Follow these 5 tips to help you stick to (and achieve) your fitness goals:
- Get enough sleep. We all know most adults need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep on a regular schedule each night. When you’re deprived of sleep, not only do you feel sluggish, but the effects on your health are monumental. Your brain can’t function properly, affecting your cognitive abilities and emotional state. Your body’s ability to fight off illness is significantly reduced, according to the Mayo Clinic. A few studies have found a link between lack of sleep and weight gain, and one night without enough sleep can cause people with hypertension to have elevated blood pressure all through the next day, according to Harvard Medical School. Call us crazy, but all of these things are integral to a person’s feelings of vitality; and if any of them are out of whack, exercise is going to be the first thing to fly out the window, creating a downward spiral of dis-ease. So do us all a favor and tuck yourself in early tonight.
- Work out in the morning. In the early morning hours, crucial hormones (i.e., testosterone) that help build muscle mass are elevated in the body. If you can get yourself up and out the door in the morning before you even have time to think about it, you can check your workout off your list for the day, leaving you extra quality time to spend with your family and friends after work, or slinking into the sofa to enjoy your favorite TV show (without feeling guilty).
- Make sure you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. You need energy to exercise and energy comes from food. It’s really that simple. If you’re sleeping enough and drinking enough water, and STILL don’t have enough energy to get a workout in, it’s time to look at what kind of fuel you’re putting into your body. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you’re not binging on fried foods and candy all day, but you may not realize that a lot of foods that are marketed as healthy, are far from it. For example, most “low fat” packaged food products are filled with extra sugar to compensate. You can rest assured that if you’re making a breakfast smoothie with organic frozen fruit, unsweetened almond milk, a handful of spinach, and 2 scoops of our Organic Protein Powder, you’re getting 21g of organic protein, 5g of fiber, and no added sugar, for a delicious energy boost to help you power through a workout or a busy day. Our Orgain Nutritional Shakes are also a perfect meal replacement that will leave you feeling energized and satisfied on the go.
- Lay off the alcohol (during the week, at least). Sorry to burst your bubble, but those happy hour drinks are killing your fitness routine faster than you can knock back a shot. According to NIH, Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination. Not to mention, it dehydrates you, which causes you to feel sluggish, depressed, sleepy, and dizzy – talk about a buzzkill for your fitness routine! Turn to healthier stress relievers like getting weekly massages, walking in nature, yoga, and meditation. Your body will thank you!
- Find an accountability partner! When all else fails, implement the “buddy system.” It’s a lot easier to stick to your fitness routine when you don’t feel like you’re on your own. Working out with a friend (or significant other) turns a mere boring workout into a fun social activity, just like that! On days you’re not feeling it, your workout buddy will pull you up to their level, and on days they’re not feeling so hot, you will drag them out of bed, and they’ll thank you for it! In America especially, we’re so accustomed to being “independent.” Let your fitness routine be something that brings you out of isolation and back into community. Not only is it good for your body, but it’ll be good for your soul, too!