Finding the Time and Energy to Start and Stick with a Fitness Program

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Many women have the intend of starting and sticking to a solid fitness program, but lack the motivation to do so. Many women start out strong only to find they lose momentum after the first couple of weeks. Others want to start a fitness program but feel they don’t have the energy to do so. Fortunately there are several steps you can take to improve your motivation and the chances you stick with a fitness program for the long-haul.

Set Goals and Prepare

The first step you need to take is setting goals for yourself. We follow up on plans more often when we have set up some simple goals. Your goals don’t need to be elaborate, but they do need to challenge you to stay in the gym. Here are some sample goals you can set for yourself:
  • Work out 20 minutes M, W, and F.
  • Sign up for a spinning class 2 times every week.
  • Sign up for two personal training sessions to jump start your strength training program.
  • Lose 1 pound every week for the next six weeks.
Remember, for your goals to be effective they must be specific and attainable. You probably won’t lose 40 pounds of fat and gain 10 pounds of muscle in one month, but you can achieve this goal slowly. While setting your fitness goals, you should also set aside time in your schedule to see them through. This may mean scheduling in your gym classes and training sessions, much like you would a meeting at work or a hair appointment. When you prepare and schedule in your fitness program, you are much more likely to follow through.

Start Out Slow

If you jump right into a new fitness program without taking time to think things through, one of two things will happen. First, you may injure yourself and have to take so much time off to recover you lose track of your fitness goals. Second, you may work too hard right off the bat, get sore and feel unmotivated. You may feel too sore to continue. Remember, if you haven’t worked out in a while or this is the first fitness program you have committed yourself to in some time, you need to take things slow. You may feel like you are not getting the rapid progress you would like initially. When it comes to your fitness however, slow and steady truly do win the race.

Find A Workout Buddy or Support Group

Your support group may consist of your children or husband. They may include your best friends. A workout buddy can be anyone that has enough dedication to help motivate you to stick with your program. Remember, staying on track is a lifelong commitment. It’s only logical we would surround yourself with positive and encouraging people to help us continue on our fitness journey as time passes. When you are feeling blue or too tired to work out, your support group or workout buddy can help encourage you to stick with it. This can mean the difference between success and failure for some.

Eat A Healthy Diet

If you want to workout regularly, you have to supply your body with the nutrients it needs to burn fat. If you severely restrict your calories, you will not only not have the energy to workout, but you will also slow your metabolism and defeat your best efforts at losing weight. It’s important that you eat a well balanced diet when working out for the first time or continuously. Remember the more fit you get, the more muscle you’ll build. Muscle increases your metabolism and helps burn fat. You can eat more as this happens but maintain a lean and healthy physique if you make the right food selection.

Reward Yourself On Occasion

No one wants to participate in any long-term activity that doesn’t involve some reward. We are rewarded every day raising our children with their smiles and laughter. We are rewarded by our partners when they hold our hand and comfort us. We are rewarded at work with promotions and pay raises. When it comes to fitness, someone may reward you but chances are you will have to reward yourself. That means taking yourself out for a luxurious spa treatment, massage, pedicure, date, day of quiet time… whatever it takes to make you feel good about yourself. You deserve it! You can even create a list of mini-reward that you can get for yourself after you achieve each goal on your to do list. This will keep you committed to the task at hand for years to come.

Sticking with a fitness routine isn’t as hard as it seems. You simply have to find what works for you. A strong support system, excellent diet, solid objectives and occasional rewards are all anyone needs to succeed to create a healthy body, inside and out.