Having a hard time dragging yourself to the gym? Do your weekly workout routines leave a little—or a lot—to be desired? We asked fitness expert Diane Allan, shown here, for some simple advice. Allan, the super-fit and always cheerful Fitness Training Coordinator at the Golden Door just outside of San Diego, is the strength behind the training program. Here are a few of her tips to help keep you motivated.
Work out with other people. This is important, even if it means taking only one class a week, says Allan. “You don’t have to belong to a health club, you can walk or jog around a lake or in a park where there are other people.” Greeting or simply smiling at others is uplifting and motivating, she notes.
Try something new. “If you do the same thing over and over, you lose interest and motivation,” says Allan. She suggests trying a new exercise. For example, if you’re used to doing a bicep curl, try standing on a Bosu when you’re performing this and some of your other dumbbell exercises. If you’re used to the treadmill, try interval training. “Or try tubing; it changes the way your brain works, as well as the way your muscles work and makes your workout more interesting.” The point is to keep your body guessing to continue to see improvements and to challenge your body more.
Get a professional evaluation. This should come from a fitness professional or your doctor who should test your flexibility, strength, posture, cardiovascular, cholesterol, body mass index, and body composition. “It’s extremely motivating if you have tangible results [whether they’re good or bad] and you can see, for instance, that your cholesterol is up or you’ve lost an inch in your waist, or you can do more push ups or squats.” Allan says it can motivate you in two ways: you can find that you’re above-average compared to others your age, or the results can be the push you need to get started because you may find out your upper body is weak compared to others in your age range, and you decide to do something about it. “An evaluation will give you a new focus and fine-tune your fitness program.”
Read more. “When I pick up a fitness or a health magazine and look at the photos of healthy people, I feel like working out!” says Allan. Not only will reading this sort of publication motivate you, it will educate you with the latest health and nutrition research.