Yo-yo exercising is much like yo-yo dieting. That is, you do well for a while, and then you slack off. Up and down, ebb and flow.
If you’re trying to stay on track more, you need to find something that interests you and keep yourself motivated. If you want to stay motivated to exercise, you should first get started slowly with an exercise you like. You can also try to change up your routine so that you stay interested.
If you’re a yo-yo exerciser, here are 3 ways to help you combat that results-crushing tendency:
1 – SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE
If you haven’t been exercising much, don’t expect to go out and run a marathon. You need to start smaller. Try starting with just what you can do each day. That is when you find yourself wearing out, stop. Tomorrow, you’ll be able to go a little bit more. Plus, going slowly can decrease your chances of an injury.
Choose an exercise you’re comfortable with. Some people don’t like to exercise because they find it painful or too strenuous. However, you shouldn’t be in pain while exercising. If you are, you should talk to your doctor. You may also need to find a different exercise that’s more comfortable. Swimming or a Boot Camp is built for a wide variety of body types and exercise levels, so it might be a good place to start
Set goals. Goals can help encourage you to keep going. Your goals should be small, measurable, and concrete. That is, you may have an ultimate goal of running a marathon, but you need smaller goals that you can use to work up to your larger goal, such as starting by running 10 minutes a day for 4 days. Then, you can increase as needed.
- Measurable goals are important because you can actually achieve them and hold yourself accountable. That is, making your goal “I will run more” isn’t really helpful because it’s not measurable. “I will run for 10 minutes a day 4 days this week” is.
- Try working up to 150 minutes a week, broken up in 10-, 15-, or 30-minute increments.
Get on a schedule. If you just try to fit your exercise in when you feel like it, you’re less likely to do it. A better plan is to exercise at the same time every day or most days. Consistency is key. For instance, you could get up a bit earlier in the morning to do your exercise or try to fit it in right after work. Scheduling it as part of your week makes it easier for you to stick to it.
Grab a buddy or your significant other. One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to have someone who can help hold you accountable. If someone is expecting you at the gym in the morning, you’re more likely to drag yourself out of bed than if someone’s not there. Therefore, try to find someone with a similar schedule who wants to work out at the same time. You can even try making a friend at the gym who always seems to be there at the same time
Remember it’s not all or nothing. If you miss a day, you may think your goals for the week are ruined, and you may decide not to exercise anymore that week. Don’t fall victim to this mentality. However, it’s important to remember that even some exercise is better than none, particularly because if you completely miss a week, you’re less likely to start up again (the snowball effect). If you miss a day, get up the next day and go. Don’t beat yourself up; just move ahead with your goals.
2 – KEEP IT EXCITING
Don’t stick to the same exercise all the time. Even if you find something you love, you’re going to burn out if you do it all the time. Try to switch up your exercise routine. For instance, try yoga one day, swimming the next, and circuit training the third day. Of course, you still want to stick with exercises you most enjoy, but adding variety can keep you interested
- In addition, changing up your routine will work different muscle groups, so you’ll get a better workout overall
Find professional support. Getting help from a trainer can help make your workouts more interesting and more efficient. For one, a trainer can show you new exercises to try, as well as help you figure out different pieces of equipment. Plus, a trainer can show you how to do exercises properly so that you’re getting the most out of your workout.
- Most gyms have trainers available for an extra fee. Some even have them available for free.
3 – STAYING THE PATH
Rest as needed. Sometimes, you need a break between exercise days. That’s perfectly fine, even healthy. No, seriously it is. If you push yourself too hard, it could lead to injury. It could also lead to burnout more quickly. Therefore, make sure you take time to rest, as it can help keep you on track.
- Listen to your body. It will tell you when you need a short break.
Stay realistic. One of the problems yo-yo exercises have is they tend to overdo it when they’re “on.” In other words, you may find that you want to exercise 2 to 3 hours every day. The problem with that is that you will burn yourself out. That type of lifestyle isn’t sustainable for most people, so make sure you stick to what you can handle. That way, you’ll be more likely to keep going.
Remind yourself that exercise boosts energy. While you do need to take rest days, you can’t let that stretch into days on end in a row, or you’ll lose momentum. If you find yourself saying, “I’m too tired,” remember that working out can boost your energy, even though it doesn’t feel like it when you’re trying to wake up in the morning to go workout.
Change your mindset. If your only reason for exercising is losing weight, you’re more likely to yo-yo exercise. Instead, think of it as changing your lifestyle. That is, you’re not exercising more. Rather, you’re creating a healthier lifestyle. The change in mindset can help you stick with it because then exercising becomes part of your routine.
Make things easier on yourself. That is, if you know you always forget your workout clothes on the way to work, make sure to stick them in a bag by the door. If you know that once you get home, you won’t get out again, try to go to the gym before or after work instead
Reward yourself from time to time. Rewards can help motivate you to stay active. However, they only work if you just use them after you work out or achieve a goal. Try to skip food rewards, though you could do something like have a cup of coffee. You could also spend some time reading or doing an activity you enjoy.
Don’t be mean to yourself. It can be tempting to kick yourself while you’re down, when you miss a workout routine, for instance. You may also not be at the level of fitness you want when you’re first starting out. However, the more you get mad at yourself, the more likely you are to quit. Instead, try to stay positive.
For example, instead of saying, “You’re so lazy for missing that workout this morning,” you could say, “Yes, you missed your workout this morning, but you’ll get back on track tomorrow.”
Remember: “Success happens when you improve 1% each day.”