Every year, millions of people make the resolution to get into better shape. The year usually starts with a bang: gym memberships, fancy workout clothes, the latest fitness gadgets…
It all adds up to a very expensive plan that few manage to see through to the end. According to AARP, Americans spent $22 billion dollars on health and fitness in 2013. What’s worse, many people likely didn’t get their money’s worth, because they didn’t take full advantage of the thing they were paying for. Reaching your fitness goals doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your budget.
–DON’T GO ALL IN
For many people it’s ‘Perfect Body or Bust!’ That often means too much… too soon. Instead, start slow. Try out a ‘trial’ gym membership before tethering yourself to a fitness center indefinitely. See if you can stick to a routine before committing to a place that may cost you more than you bargained for in the long run.
There are plenty of lower cost phone apps that can deliver even more effective results. Like the gym, the app is only as good as you are committed. But at a fraction of the price, you’re less likely to break the budget while trying to get in shape. Plus using an app means you can workout just about anywhere… from home to the local park or beach. Changing the scenery each time may also help motivate you to keep it up. If you’re not a fan of seeing the same gym/people/equipment with every workout, there’s likely an app for that.
Identify your personal workout style. Every workout isn’t for every body. You might like the results of HIIT but not the actual exercises. You may not have the patience for yoga. You might find a quick run outdoors more enjoyable than any amount of time on a stair-master or in a weight training class. If you aren’t crazy about an exercise, you’re less likely to stick with it.
-BUILD IT IN
It’s always a good idea to build your workout ‘into’ your daily routine, instead of treating it like an optional addition. Set aside specific times to work out, and make those times non-negotiable. You don’t negotiate whether you go into work everyday. Treat workouts the same way. The more you ‘normalize’ the idea of getting in physical exercise, the less likely you are to quit the activity. Keep workout times realistic. If you don’t have 2 hours to spend at the gym, find a workout that is just as effective in 30 to 45 minutes.
Working out doesn’t have to be a chore. If you enjoy the activity and consistently build it into your day, you’ll be that much closer to reaching your fitness goals for 2015, and beyond.