Getting fit has to be one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. And by now, unfortunately most people who made this resolution have probably already failed.
Getting fit is not easy: there can be many reasons why your good intentions to get fitter, whether to lose weight, achieve a performance goal or simply have better physical health, haven’t worked out.
In this article we cover the top 5 hacks recommended by health professionals and fitness experts to overcome common barriers and finally make 2019 the year you smash your fitness goals!
Make Exercise Part of Your Daily Routine
One of the most common reasons people fail to meet their fitness goals is that they feel like they don’t have time to exercise. In our modern, busy lifestyles it can be hard to find a new time slot on a regular basis in order to exercise. Rather than trying to find extra time for fitness, make this part of your normal day.
You may find it easier to do smaller amounts of exercise several times a day rather than trying to fit in one long work out. This could be some squats before your morning shower, a quick walk at lunchtime or a set of yoga poses in your office in the middle of the afternoon. Take every opportunity to be active: take the stairs instead of the elevator and park a little further away to get in some extra steps.
Don’t Feel Self Conscious
People can often feel self-conscious when working out and this is a common barrier to establishing a regular fitness routine and getting fit. Particularly if you are unhappy with your weight which is why you want to get fit in the first place, you may feel uncomfortable hitting the gym or going for a run.
You may be able to get around this somewhat by exercising in private such as using an exercise bike or doing yoga at home. But in the end, there’s only one way to really deal with this: just let it go. Let go of these negative thoughts and self-judgements. This kind of thinking is really coming from the inside – no one else is looking at you and judging you.
Replace this negative self-talk with positive messages: congratulate yourself for making the effort to get fit and looking after your health. Focus on the benefits you are getting through exercising, such as greater flexibility, strength and the awesome rush you get after working out.
Check Your Hormone Levels
Hormones are critical to successful fitness and weight loss programs because they have a strong influence on our metabolism. Metabolism, in turn, affects the results we see from our fitness journey, specifically weight loss. If your metabolism is slow, you can exercise regularly and eat a balanced, healthy diet without seeing the results you would expect.
Cortisol, insulin, thyroid, and sex hormones (testosterone in men, oestrogen and progesterone in women) can limit weight loss, often causing people to become discouraged and give up on their fitness program. Cortisol, for example, is the hormone our bodies produce in times of stress. Having high cortisol levels will tell our bodies that there may be an imminent threat, and in response glucose production and blood pressure increases in order to prepare for the threat. If this continues over the long term, this plays havoc with metabolism and can cause weight gain or make it harder to lose weight.
If you are concerned your hormones are out of balance, services like Verisana let you conduct an at-home hormone test, in the form of a simple saliva test. In cases of an excess or imbalance of hormones, your doctor will be able to recommend appropriate treatment. Luckily, exercise can also help to manage hormone levels, so continuing with your fitness regime will also help!
Shake It Up
Boredom is one of the main reasons that people struggle to get fit. It’s hard to keep motivated to keep exercising if you honestly find the whole thing boring! However, there are plenty of ways to keep exercise interesting and enjoyable, so that it will be something you actually want to do.
Find a form of fitness which you find fun. There are plenty of ways to exercise, so there must be at least one which you find enjoyable! This could be taking dance classes, joining a team sport, swimming, or maybe simply taking your workout to a nice location such as running along the beach rather than on a treadmill. Better still, vary between a few different forms of exercise to keep things interesting!
Make Exercise a Social Activity
Adding a social element to your fitness routine has two great benefits. Firstly, it will make your workout more enjoyable. Secondly, it adds an element of accountability: it is easy to put off going to the gym or for a run if you are planning it by yourself, however if you have made a commitment to someone else you have to show up!
Invite your friends or co-workers to work out with you: organise a lunchtime jogging group at work, suggest to your friends or relatives that you go hiking on the weekend, or ask your neighbours to play tennis with you at the local club.
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Another great tactic is to pick a form of exercise which lets you meet new people, and specifically other people who want to get fit! Join a dance class, fitness group or sports team which will keep you healthy while making friends at the same time.