Create a workout routine that lasts
You know the drill. You hear a really fit dude talking about his amazing workout schedule, and you decide to give it a shot. That first morning, you wake up an hour early to go for a run, and you hit the gym to lift weights right after work. Fast-forward a few weeks – you’re back to your old ways, with the added benefit of feeling like you failed miserably.
Yeah, we’ve all been there. We dream up a whole new active life we could lead, only to find ourselves overwhelmed and giving up. But here’s the excellent news: getting fit doesn’t have to be this daunting lifestyle change. Significant results are achieved one decision at a time.
Kickstarting your new workout routine can be exciting, but the key to getting great results is visualising your goals and creating a sustainable routine.
How to build a routine
The part where most of us give up is creating an exercise routine and sticking with it for long enough so that it turns into a habit. It’s easy to lose interest if you try to find the perfect time every day. There is no perfect time. Help yourself stay on the workout path by dedicating a time slot to it every day.
The secret ingredient here is triggers. These can be simple reminders such as place (like the gym), time of day (right after you finish working) or cue (like an alarm on your phone) that remind you to put on your trainers and get started.
Keep it fun!
Persisting is so much easier when you’re having a good time. Try out different sports and find what really works for you. Everybody can find an activity they really enjoy. Don’t forget to think outside the gym – there are plenty of ways to get moving.
For nature lovers, get on that bike, hit the rapids or try out rock climbing. Maybe martial arts are your thing? Tennis will help you burn some serious calories, and swimming can be a great way to start your day.
Set achievable goals
The biggest mistake you can make when starting a new workout regimen is adopting an “all or nothing” approach. Creating a routine is all about starting small and building momentum. Know your fitness level and keep the expectations realistic.
Start with less intense exercise a few days a week. As you get used to your new regimen, push yourself more and increase the difficulty level and frequency.
Tune out the excuses
We’re all pros when it comes to making excuses. A few days into your new workout routine, your body is super sore, you feel dead tired, and a friend calls you for a beer right when you are headed for the gym. And then the following day, you honestly don’t feel like going out for a run… Before you know it, you’re back to square one.
Excuses are the greatest obstacle to long-term progress. Simply don’t allow yourself to listen to them! It’s okay to make adjustments when needed (a long walk instead of a run, a morning workout instead of an evening one, working out at home instead of the gym,) but make sure you turn up anyway. Excuses and quitting can be tough habits to shake – and you have more important habits to adopt.
Combine workout time with hangout time
Get your buddies to join the fun! It’s easier to keep going if your pals have your back. Hit the gym with the guys once or twice a week, get a jogging buddy – or put basketball on your weekly schedule!
Sneak more activity into your day
Don’t limit your fat-burning efforts to the gym! There are dozens of ways you can move your body and get that heart rate up or build muscle. Choose your bike or walk to work, and if you live too far away, exit the bus a stop early or park your car further away. And don’t forget to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Do some gardening in the afternoon or manually mow the lawn. Clean the windows – your home will look great, and so will you. Hit the playground with your kids or nieces and nephews can help you burn calories and build muscle, too – while taking your dog on a hike or playing frisbee will get your heart rate up.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Staying motivated is paramount. Keep a record of your workout sessions to hold yourself accountable and track your progress. Seeing how far you’ve come will help keep you driven to push yourself even further.
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