Committing to an exercise routine boils down to one word, planning. When I ran Track in college, all of my workouts were planned for me. Each day, I would arrive at practice and await my coach’s instructions. However, once I graduated college, it was time for me to design my own training plan, set my own race goals, and incorporate exercise into my daily routine.
Diligent planning contributes to my success balancing exercise with work, school, teaching and the rest of life. It’s especially important for me to plan ahead, as I work 40 hours a week as a Marketing Director and freelance marketer, teach group exercise classes, and work on my Holistic Health Coaching and personal training certifications. This list omits my social and family responsibilities, but no matter how busy I am I never neglect my health. Exercise is a priority in my life, and with a new year around the corner, it can be a priority in yours too.
Use these tips to make exercise a priority:
- Pick a race or challenge to participate in. Consider what you’d like to accomplish in 2012. A 5k? A Triathlon? The Tough Mudder? 25 push-ups in a row? In January, designate one fitness goal for the year. Then, write it down, find people to do it with, and tell everyone about your big challenge. This will create accountability and be your motivation.
- Set specific monthly goals, write them down, and track your progress. Create a spreadsheet, or handwritten journal, with your workout goals. Keep track of how many miles you ran, mornings you went to boot camp, nights you took a spin class, etc. Tally everything up at the end of the month and see if you hit your goals.
- Plan when you will workout. Every Sunday, spend 15 minutes reviewing your calendar. Identify the days and times you’re available to work out. Pencil your exercise sessions into your calendar, the same way you would schedule in a doctor’s appointment or business meeting.
- Find an exercise buddy. This can be a neighbor, roommate, friend or your pup and workout with this person or furry friend at same time each week. A long distance buddy works too, as four of my friends and I trained separately and flew to Nashville to run a ½ marathon. After the race, we explored the city and had a few celebratory drinks!
- Use Shared Documents for Fitness Challenges. I have a Google document shared with 12 of my friends and family. We compete in an ongoing monthly pushup challenge, where we each log our pushups and track each other’s progress. The competition helps with my personal fitness goals and creates a friendly competition and motivation for everyone else.
- Join an exercise class. If you have difficulty developing your own exercise plan, a group fitness class can provide the framework you need. The class will meet regularly and the instructor will lead you through a series of workouts. Other members of the class will provide support and help you reach your fitness goals.
Creating an exercise plan is the first step towards a healthy new lifestyle. Once your schedule is in place and you begin following a workout routine, you’ll start to plan your days around exercise and eliminate excuses. Set goals, track progress and plan for success!
About Guest Blogger Karen Welby:
Karen works as a part-time Marketing Director for EatSmart Products. She is also a Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor and Certified Holistic Health Coach. She coached collegiate Cross Country/Track and Field for two years, after running Track and Field in college herself. Karen loves being active and has participated in various race distances including the 55-meter dash, 200m, 400m, 800m, Mile and all the way up to 5k’s, 10k’s, 10 Milers and a ½ marathon. She blogs at Run With Nutrition and you can follow her on Twitter at @Coach_KarenW.