Getting up and out on cold winter mornings is tough. Putting your New Year’s resolution to get into shape can be even more challenging. If you feel you simply lack motivation to start moving toward your goal, try these tricks.
Finding energy to start is a problem
Can you muster the strength to ride a stationary bike three times a week at low intensity? Then you, too, will probably feel the same burst in energy reported by subjects in a University of Georgia study. Participants were people who said they suffered from persistent fatigue. Even minimal effort gave cyclers an energy boost edge over those subjects who stayed on the couch.
There’s never enough time
Can you squeeze into your busy schedule one 10- to 15-minute session in the morning and one after work? A study of overweight women found they took off the same amount weight whether they exercised in one 30-minute workout, two 15-minute sessions, or three 10-minute bouts, according to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. A 20-minute workout using intervals can actually give you a better workout than the standard 30 minutes to 60 minutes. The secret to making the most of a brief period is to switch up two minutes of high-intensity intervals with two minutes of moderate-intensity cardio.
Scheduling workouts seems impossible
Take your grand goal of losing 20 pounds and break it down into specific targets. Schedule the number of workouts you’ll need each week, and then pencil in a time slot just as you would for a business appointment. The process will help you successfully stick to a routine, and you’ll feel less stress about fitting in workouts.
Treadmills are not my friend
Here’s another instance when switching it up can multiply results. Swap treadmill time and aerobic exercise for circuit training. You’ll see the same boost in cardio capacity while you build upper-body strength. Try one-minute sets of upper-body moves alternating with one-minute sets of lower-body moves. Rest 30 seconds in between each set. Use enough weight so that your muscles feel the burn after 10 reps.
I have too much weight to lose. Why bother?
If you are sedentary now, start with a five-minute walk each day for one week. Add another 470 steps or five minutes each day every week for 12 weeks, and you can lose a quarter inch from your waist without dieting. You may think you have so much weight to lose that even trying to get moving is pointless. Take it from trainers who advise breaking your larger goal into smaller, manageable bites. Lose a pound or run an extra minute each week and you’ll see encouragement to keep going. Small victories add up to big rewards.