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Make your workout resolutions come true

Tricks on sticking with a training regimen
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MIRKA LOISELLE/THE VARSITY
MIRKA LOISELLE/THE VARSITY

We’ve all made a new year’s resolution that we’ve failed to keep. Unfortunately, the journey to fostering consistent workout habits and getting fit is an arduous one. 

While the frustration and disappointment from failing my previous years’ fitness goals haunt me, the call to change this cycle is knocking on my door. This year, I decided that I’m going to answer it and turn failures into fuel to help me reach this year’s goals — and you can, too. Learning from experience, I’ve realized that if we want to be more consistent in exercising, we can employ tricks to spice up workouts so we naturally cling better to our routines. 

Make detailed plans and goals

My calculus teacher’s advice on solving math problems was to “begin with the end in mind.” I have found that philosophy to be relevant to our workout problems, too. Knowing what you want from exercising helps motivate you to stay on track in developing daily workout habits. 

After setting general goals, it’s best to break them down into specific plans. Planning to maintain a routine for three months in a row is more effective than a plan to “work on leg slimming,” for example.

As a rookie, I’ve experienced periods of limbo in my progress due to inadequate planning. During the pandemic, I relied on self-training by following video tutorials. Since I lacked concrete material on how to train at first, I went on to search for workout videos every time before exercising. It took me a while to decide on which video to follow. The hassle of planning before workouts added inconvenience and reduced my enthusiasm. 

Hence, making working out more convenient is crucial. You can have a routine playlist set up on YouTube or, alternatively, use workout apps and follow their preset tutorials. Personally, I use the Keep fitness app to find suitable workout plans. It does a fantastic job on catering fitness routines to your body and goals. 

Keep your own comfort in mind

Building cozy atmospheres that soothe your mood is also essential. This means tailoring the environment comfortably to fit your physical and emotional needs. You can start by generating a bopping workout playlist. 

Also, try arranging a set time and space for yourself to work out. Familiarity and repetition can turn into cues that trigger workout behaviours, thus helping us form habits. 

For beginners, it’s immensely beneficial to take breaks when needed, because your body needs time to replenish itself, and not taking the time to do so can build fatigue. So, be mindful of the duration and intensity of your workout. That way, you make a little progress each day without feeling too tired or leaving your body too exhausted to continue.

Both Pamela Reif and MadFit on YouTube have fantastic dance workout videos, which are ideal for beginners, as well as core training programs. Reif’s tutorials are clearly categorized into different levels of intensity, making them easy for you to follow along, while MadFit’s videos are nicely categorized by the type of workout and the body part it targets. Both channels are beginner-friendly and can aid you in starting your workout at a comfortable pace. 

Use psychological tricks to your advantage

Our brain responds to the pleasure of accomplishing our training by producing dopamine, a chemical that stimulates feelings of well-being. Gradually, the brain will become trained to fasten on to the notion that increases in dopamine are linked with exercising and its rewards, thus prompting us to keep exercising. 

Also, envision yourself with a successful outlook. The Pygmalion effect — the psychological tendency that you become what others expect of you — is also applicable to yourself.  

Like Rome, a fit body isn’t built in a day, but all of the sweat and pain will eventually pay off. I wonder what I would say in response to my toned physique when the payoff becomes clear. I will figure it out when I get there — but until then, let’s grab our mats, get our heads into the game, and make this year’s resolution come true.