Sometimes we just don't want to workout. But getting to the club is half the battle. The other half? Pushing yourself hard enough to actually see results. This doesn't mean killing yourself on the stairmaster every day or lifting more than is safe. Pushing yourself during a workout requires both mental and physical strength, as well as knowing your limitations and listening to your body. So if you've already made it to the club, don't waste your time! Follow these tips for how to push yourself during a workout and start seeing the results you want.
Finding the best ways to push yourself through a tough workout can be a challenge, regardless of skill or fitness level. Sometimes our bodies just don't want to respond how we'd like them to. So be honest with yourself before you begin and set goals. For example, if you've never done more than three pull ups, tell yourself you're going to do five today - not ten. Or make a plan to gradually add more weight and reps to your regimen each day for a week and see how you feel after each workout. If something doesn't feel right or bothers you more than just regular exertion, stop increasing or decrease until you feel ready to move on.
Here are some other tips that will help you make it through a tough workout.
- Change your mindset. Start visualizing results instead of focusing on how hard the workout is. For instance, if you are trying to get in shape for a trip to Hawaii, picture yourself there, feeling comfortable with the way you look and feel. Keeping the end goal at the forefront of your mind while you're working out makes the sweat you're putting into it much more worth it.
- Listen to upbeat music that makes you feel good. Whatever gets your heart pumping - whether it's rock, pop, rap, whatever - create a play list with your favorite songs and have them on your iPod or mp3 player to listen to as you exercise. The music can help the workout go by faster, and you'll be more apt to keep time to the fast pace of the music rather than lag behind.
- Work out with a trainer. A professional trainer can be a great help, especially if you feel you don't even know where to start. He or she can help you find a way to get you back on track and to push yourself safely and effectively. Plus, working out with a trainer stimulates you to do your best in order to meet his or her expectations and often exceed yours. Five Seasons member Mark Wright shares his experience pushing himself and exceeding his own expectations with the help of his trainer.
- Work out with a group of friends. If you're alone, you may find it difficult to motivate yourself. On the other hand, making a plan to meet up with friends at the club helps keep you accountable and even looking forward to working out because your friends are going to be there too. Many people also tend to work harder when they're working out with other people, so you'll push each other without even knowing it.
- Break things up. If you think you need to spend an hour on the treadmill to get in a good workout, you're wrong. Mixing things up by running, lifting, doing push ups or squats, circuits and more all in one workout can really help you break through a plateau and make the time fly by.
- Find a mantra. It may sound silly, but a mantra or inspirational quote can do a lot to help you overcome the barriers you face when getting healthy. Choose a few words that inspire you and repeat them to yourself when things get hard. Check out these motivational quotes for ideas.
- Reward yourself. While the end goal is the ultimate reward, make sure you're rewarding yourself along the way with little things. Maybe you just ran for 30 minutes straight or did 20 push ups for the first time. Go out for a healthy meal, but order dessert this time. Or head to the mall and pick out some new workout gear - choose whatever makes you feel good and doesn't derail your progress.