Diana Kelly Levey

Get Your Workout Motivation Back

man stretching motivated to work out

March 13, 2018 | Categories:

Did you ditch those plans of six-pack abs and sculpted arms a few weeks ago when things got hectic? Has your plan of getting up early for a.m. workouts become more of a joke between you and your alarm clock?

As you’ve probably noticed, you’re not the only one whose fitness motivation has seriously waned while summer months progressed and barbecues were in abundance. But don’t beat yourself up for not being a “motivated” person when it comes to following a fitness plan; a  study published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology found that even with the best of intentions, exercise motivation fluctuates from week to week. And, not surprisingly, that motivation—or lack thereof—determines whether we’ll follow through with exercise or not.

Penn State researchers tracked 33 college students for 10 weeks to see how their weekly workout intentions played out. They found that not only did the students’ motivation to exercise fluctuate on a weekly basis, but skipping a planned workout strongly affected their motivation for future workouts, too. (Here’s how to stay motivated to exercise all winter.)

It’s not necessarily that some people are motivated individuals and others aren’t, says David Conroy, coauthor of the study and professor of kinesiology at Penn State University. It’s that motivation changes; it’s not static. “Some people have weeks when they’re more motivated and other weeks when they’re less motivated.”

But fear not: Just because motivation is a fluctuating thing doesn’t mean you can’t keep your workout plan (not to mention your weight) from fluctuating along with it. Here are five strategies to make your exercise resolutions stick all year long—and put your fitness motivation into motion once and for all:

Don’t leave exercise for the weekend.

If your week is jam-packed, don’t assume you’ll be more motivated on the weekend to exercise. ”We found that it was harder [for people] to turn their intentions into behavior on weekends than during the week,” says Conroy. Don’t take for it granted that you’re going to use the extra time to exercise. Instead, make a structured weekend workout plan.

Know yourself and potential pitfalls.

If you know that nothing gets done when your kids get home from school, don’t tell yourself it’s going to be your workout time, says Ellen Barrett, modern fitness professional and star of Prevention’s  Tone Every Inch fitness DVD.

Set realistic goals.

If you’re not a morning person, don’t plan your workout for 5 a.m., says Barrett. Otherwise that joke with your alarm clock will always be just that—a not-so-funny joke.

Make a schedule—but be flexible.

Write down the three or four days you want to get a workout in, but be willing to move them around if other things come up, says Barrett. Don’t let not feeling well one day or a surprise meeting another mean you lose a workout for the week.

Keep your intentions front and center.

People with consistently strong intentions to exercise have the best chance of following through with it, says Conroy. So whether you’re going on vacation or have a busy week ahead, make time for walks and strength training moves like pushups and squats—you’ll be more likely to get back to your routine when your life returns to normal.

Read the full article on Prevention.com.

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