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Sunday, September 16, 2007

10 WAYS TO STICK YOUR WORKOUT


It's the difference between wanting to exercise and actually doing it. That's why the advice you're about to read is priceless. In this article you’ll find the favorite motivational strategies of the top personal trainers in the country.

  1. Make a 'friendly' bet: Challenge your nemesis — that idea-stealing coworker or a non-mowing neighbor — to a contest. The first person to drop 15 pounds wins. The key: Make sure it's someone you don't particularly like.
  2. Tie exercise to your health: Check your cholesterol. Then set a goal of lowering your LDL cholesterol by 20 points and increasing your HDL cholesterol by 5 points. You'll decrease your risk of heart disease while providing yourself with a very important, concrete goal. Ask your doctor to write a prescription for new blood work in a month. You'll just have to go to the lab, and the doctor will call you with the results.
  3. Switch your training partners: Working out with a partner who will hold you accountable for showing up at the gym works well—for a while. But the more familiar you are with the partner, the easier it becomes to back out of workout plans. Close friends and family members don't always make the best training partners because they may allow you to slack off or cancel workouts. To keep this from happening, find a new, less forgiving workout partner every few months.
  4. Compete: Find a sport or event that you enjoy, and train to compete in it. It adds a greater meaning to each workout.
  5. Do a daily gut check: Place your fingers on your belly and inhale deeply so that it expands. As you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles and push your fingertips against your hard abdominal wall. Now pinch. You're holding pure fat between your fingers. Do this every day, 30 minutes before your workout, and you'll find that you'll rarely decide to skip it.
  6. Burn a workout CD: Studies have shown that people who pedal stationary cycles while listening to their favorite music will do so longer and more intensely than people who exercise without music. So burn a disc with your favorite adrenaline-boosting songs.
  7. Plan your workouts in advance: At the start of each month, schedule all of your workouts at once, and cross them off as they're completed. For an average month, you might try for a total of 16 workouts. If any are left undone at the end of the month, tack them on to the following month. And make sure you have a contingency plan for bad weather and unscheduled meetings.
  8. Schedule a body-composition test every 2 months: It'll provide you with a clear end date for the simple goal of losing body fat or gaining muscle. Tangible results are the best motivator. Your gym probably offers the service for a small fee — just makes sure the same trainer performs the test each time.
  9. Don't do what you hate: If you loathe going to a gym, try working out at home. (If you despise the treadmill, then jump ropes, lifts weights, or find a basketball court. Bottom line: If you're sick of your routine, find a new one.
  10. Go through the motions: On days when you don't feel like working out, make the only requirement of your exercise session a single set of your favorite exercise. It's likely that once you've started, you'll finish.

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