How to stick to a fitness challenge and see results
The burst of energy that accompanies setting yourself a new health or fitness goal can feel electric. So why is it that plans made with the best of intentions (and for the best reasons) are so hard to stick to?
Plenty of people start strong, only to end up abandoning their resolutions like the treadmill gathering dust or the pair of workout shorts stuffed in a bottom drawer.
But not you, and not this time.
This is the time you finally follow through on a health and fitness challenge, and we’re here to show you how to make it happen.
1. Get real
You know how it goes: you overestimate what you’re capable of or how long it will take, then quit when you can’t sustain it. Turns out going from sofa to starting center for the Golden State Warriors isn’t really possible in the space of a month. Who knew?
Firstly, forget resolutions. They’re a bit broad and vague. Focus on setting goals instead – and most importantly, realistic goals. What’s a realistic goal? Here are a few examples:
Drop 15lbs (7kg) in week one = unrealistic
Complete 3 workouts in week one = realistic
Achieve superhero levels of muscle mass in 6 weeks = unrealistic
Nail lifting form and see increased definition in 6 weeks = realistic
If big goals seem daunting, set smaller, more specific goals – like doing 3 workouts, or cooking at home instead of eating out for a week. These stepping stones will get you into the swing of good habits, and when you achieve them, they’ll give you the motivation to keep going. If you want more know-how on setting smart goals, we’ve got you.
In just 6 weeks, Jen went down a few sizes, and up a few energy levels!
2. Don’t bank on the mirror & the scales
So you've been working out for a few weeks and you don’t already look like an underwear catalog model. What a rort! Tip 1: Don’t get discouraged. Tip 2: Try thinking beyond what you see in the mirror or on the scales. (Or in the catalog.)
While physical appearance is often the trigger for making a lifestyle change, you’ll be more likely to have a positive experience if you have motivation beyond simply wanting to “look” better. Because while some people start seeing external changes very quickly, many people don’t.
So what is a target that will keep you motivated through these early stages and help you track the progress you’re making? When taking on our 6-week strength and cardio program Centr 6, member Chelsea was frustrated at not losing weight straight away. “But I can tell I’m getting stronger because I can make it through the workouts without taking tons of extra breaks like I was in the beginning!” she said.
For you, a worthy target might be making it through a workout without stopping, building up to full push-ups, or figuring out how to use the leg press machine (so you push it… with your legs?) It may not feel like it in the moment, but these wins, big or small, are all contributing to your overall goal. Celebrate them!
3. Don’t wait for motivation to magically appear
That first rush of motivation is easy. But sadly, the excitement of the new wears off. Motivation and desire to work out, cook a healthy meal, and look after your mind will fluctuate.
It happens to the best and fittest, too. Hollywood stuntman and Centr expert Bobby Holland Hanton busts through a lack of motivation by focusing on how he feels after a workout. “You have to keep telling yourself that once the training session is over, it’s so worth it,” Bobby says. “You will feel so much better about yourself.”
For Chris Hemsworth’s functional trainer Da Rulk, achieving greatness is all about discipline. “I want people to understand that you can do it,” says Rulk. “There are guys that are stronger than me, guys that are faster than me, but it's that ability to stick to it that helps me succeed.”
The truth is that even the super ripped girl at your gym and the guy at work who brings a healthy packed lunch every day probably don’t spring out of bed in the morning full of motivation to smash their goals. To borrow a marketing phrase you might be familiar with, they just do it. Over and over again, until it becomes a normal part of their lives.
Mark found his inner superhero with Centr Power.
4. Work with your schedule, not against it
So you heard so-and-so spent 6 months eating chicken and steamed broccoli and working out 7 hours a day to get totally buff. Great for them, but is that going to work between your 9-5, school run, love of cheese, and super-packed social calendar? To follow through, you’re going to need to figure out how to incorporate healthy changes in a way that works for YOUR lifestyle.
Take it from Holly, who has found success with Centr by focusing on making sustainable life changes: “I gave myself permission to do as much as I can, and leave the rest. I scheduled my workouts when I had the time, and set alarms on my phone to remind me. I made Centr meals for breakfast and lunch for myself, but dinners were shared with the family, so I went off-plan. My results may be slower, but I'm okay with it because I'm consistent and what I'm doing is sustainable.”
You’re always running late for work, but could you find time to prepare a healthy lunch the night before? Kids making it hard to find ‘me’ time? Try working out with your kids like Bobby. If it fits with your lifestyle, you’re far more likely to stick with it and get results.
5. Get social
We know from experience that picking at a salad while everyone around you digs into burgers and fries is… kind of sad. While you shouldn’t drop out of a fitness challenge just because you’re going it alone, having friends or family who join in is only going to make it easier for you to sustain all these positive lifestyle changes.
The big bonus is that if you connect with a workout buddy who is slightly more experienced, they’ll help push you further. Research has found that “those who exercised with a more capable partner” will keep going with an exercise 24 percent longer than those who go it alone.
You can get the same benefits from an online space like our private Centr community. Filled with members from around the world, it’s a 24/7 source of inspiration, motivation, and accountability to keep you on track.
Erik Conover challenged himself to work out like Chris Hemsworth for 30 days with Centr. This is what he learned.
6. Make it an adventure
Some people climb Mount Everest. You? You follow through on a health challenge. Now that’s an achievement.
Treat the journey towards your goal like an adventure: you’re David Attenborough venturing down the Nile on a path of discovery. Have some fun with it. Explore the many different styles, flavors, and mind-expanding possibilities available to you.
Try a new style of training like Pilates or plyometrics – you may just discover that your body is capable of things you hadn’t even imagined. Ever seen a muscle builder try yoga for the first time? Now you want to make that happen, don’t you?
A bit skeptical of meditation? Challenge yourself to hear the end of a sleep visualization instead. Do they even have an end? No one knows… Bonus: you might just have the best night’s sleep you’ve had in years.
Try cooking something new… or cooking anything at all. Find a simple, healthy recipe that you can master, and maybe even put your own spin on. Nailed it? Now cook it for someone else and behold their amazement. Way to impress!
There’s always one annoying person in a work team or social set who brags about taking on a fitness challenge and actually sticking with it. Ugh, the worst. But also, BE THAT PERSON. This time, you’ve got this.
Are you ready to develop good habits that will give you a lifetime of benefits? Start your free trial on on Centr now to set yourself up for success. Available online at Centr.com/join-us.
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