Every year, I make the same resolution about getting in shape. And every year, I get bored by the end of January and start slacking off. How can I make a workout regime interesting enough to stick with?
In my experience, new year’s resolutions last anywhere from four to six weeks. Often, it’s because the goal isn’t realistic. You can’t go from 0 to 60 overnight and maintain it for any length of time; in fact, it will eventually turn you off to exercising. If you currently don’t work out, make your goal three sessions a week, or simply do something active every day (like taking the stairs or parking farther from your office). If you’re already working out but want to turn up the intensity, doubling your time in the gym is a solid goal. You can always double it again the next month, exponentially increasing the intensity.
A lack of creativity is another reason resolutions tend to fade away. Personal trainers bring motivation, guidance, intensity and -- above all else -- fun. You aren’t going to exercise for any length of time if you don’t enjoy it. If you don’t have the pocket change to pay for a personal trainer, taking a class is a cheaper way to get the same benefits.
Finally, if you do the same workout again and again, your body will build up resistance. So not only will the workout be less challenging, causing you to lose interest, but you’ll benefit less too. Keep the body guessing by doing push/pull and upper body/lower body splits: Work on your lower body (glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves) one day, then work on your upper body (chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulders) the next day. Push movements include triceps, shoulders and the chest, while pull includes biceps and the back. Another way to stem the boredom is to do all machines one month, work with free weights the next month and focus on cables the following month. -- As told to Caroline Kinneberg
About the Expert
Joshua Margolis is a personal trainer and founder of New York City–based personal training service Mind Over Matter Health & Fitness.
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