When people set a goal to lose weight and get in better shape, oftentimes they have this idea of how that’s supposed to go – an image of them struggling through bowls of endless salad and running mile after mile in solitude. Sometimes, getting in shape can feel like a solitary task – you vs. the world.
But if you want to stick to your goal of achieving better overall fitness, it’s best to reframe the situation. Kick off the start of summer with a bang and bring a pal along for the ride.
Why work out alone? Start your fitness journey with a friend
One tip for fitness success this season is to hold yourself accountable – not only to yourself but to a friend.
Starting a fitness plan, whether it be diet, exercise, or both, is often better with a pal. For one, you can provide each other with motivation when the other one is feeling down. You can also hold each other accountable for your choices.
It’s also more fun to work out with a friend – especially if you’re new to exercise or have had motivation issues in the past.
“It will increase your chances for success and you’ll have more fun. For this to work, you have to find an exercise that both of you enjoy. This might be a challenge, but it’s worth it since an exercise partner provides you with a support system, a positive social experience and inspiration. There will be times when you don’t feel like working out and a partner can be just the motivation you need to get going,” says Active.com.
Take advantage of this new support system and tackle other bad habits you and your new partner both have such as alcohol or drinking too much caffeine. Approaching and tackling a bad habit by yourself might be a little daunting, but with a partner to keep you accountable and motivated, you might find it easier to kick the bad habit for good.
Exercise can (and should) be fun
There are better ways to lose weight and get fit than jumping on a treadmill. If you like treadmills, by all means, have at it. But for most people, exercise is a chore and they can be discouraged by specific exercises that bore them or cause them excessive stress.
If you don’t like to run, you don’t have to run. If you don’t like to lift free weights, you don’t have to lift free weights.
Successful fitness involves making a plan that works for you – something you can build on. For that to work, your specific fitness goals have to fit your own personality. If you are bored after months of remaining indoors due to the colder weather, head outside and take advantage of the warmer weather and longer days that summer brings.
If you like sports, try golf, basketball, or racquetball. Try biking or swimming. If you have a pet, incorporate them into your workout, or start working with animals on the side to increase your level of activity–being around animals is great for both our physical and mental health. Most importantly, remember, it’s ok to prefer certain types of physical activity over others. Find what is fun to you and stick to it.
Be specific and stick to it
After you and your friend find a fun routine that works for both of you, it’s important to be specific about your goals. State exactly what you want to do, for how long, how frequently, and to what end. Generic “get more fit” goals rarely work out because they don’t have any measurable benchmarks. Get specific and stick to it.