Sunday, August 5, 2012

10 ways to stay motivated

Santa Barbara-based Digifit was the first app developer to bring heart-rate monitoring to the iPhone, and they continue to develop applications  grounded in science and powered by technology. They sent along these tips on motivation - and who doesn't need help staying motivated?

See what you think.  Some of these work for me, but not all of them, which is probably pretty typical. For instance, if I don't have junk food in the house, I feel deprived and crave it. But if it's here, I know I can have it IF I WANT, and it's easier for me to say, "Not right now. I'll see how I feel in 30 minutes."  It may sound goofy, but for me, it works.  What works for you?

1. Set Realistic Goals: It's great to dream big, but smaller goals are easier to reach and manage. Every time you reach a realistic goal, you will feel good about yourself which will ultimately motivate you to keep working forward.

2. Track It: Recording what you eat, how many calories you burn and your weight will help you stay on course to reach your goals. Spending the time to track it all is a whole different story. Luckily, there are tons of great devices and apps that track the exercises for you. Digifit's fitness-tracking and heart-rate monitoring app (for iPhone and Android) measures, monitors and reports key workout stats like caloric burn, distance during more workout activities like walking, hiking, biking, running and even shooting hoops to improve performance and up the fun. The data synchs with a personalized profile at My.Digifit.com where users can analyze their workouts and their progress overtime which will ultimately keep them motivated to keep working hard.

3. Buddy Up: When you have a friend counting on you to go for a run or meet up at the gym, you are less likely to bail on the workout. Set appointments with alerts on your calendar and keep your word to workout.

4. Seek Expert Help: A trainer will push you harder and make you feel accountable for your exercise and food choices. Look for a personal trainer at your gym or sign up for a small group training class which is a more affordable option.

5. Trick Yourself: Mix up your workout routine and pick activities that don't feel like exercise and that are fun to burn calories and get fit. Big calorie burners like hiking, surfing, paddle boarding and kickboxing are great ways to step outside of your regular fitness routine. Pick an activity that you enjoy and it won't feel like work.

6. Make it a Family Affair: Encouraging everyone in your family to workout is a great way to create a support system for those involved. Family members can motivate each other and help detract you from making bad nutrition decisions when gathering for meals and celebrations.

7. Don't Buy It: If you have junk food in your home, you are more likely to cheat and indulge. Once you cheat on your diet and exercise plan, you may feel disappointed in yourself and discouraged to continue on. If you don't buy the junk food in the first place, you will have fewer opportunities to indulge and make poor decisions. So, fill your fridge and pantry with healthy foods and snacks.

8. Reward Yourself: Rewarding yourself when you reach various goals or milestones will help you stay motivated. The reward can be simple, like a day off or a massage at a local spa. You may also reward yourself with a new pair of running shoes or scoop of ice cream.

9. Rest: Your body needs time to recover from stress on muscles, that's why you need to incorporate rest days into your regimen. Don't overdue your exercise routine or you may burn out quickly and feel less motivated to workout.

10. Have a Cheat Day: As important as it is to rest and avoid burning out on your gym or exercise routine, it's equally important to avoid burning out on your diet. Let yourself indulge once in a while. Assign one day per week as a cheat day where you allow yourself to eat whatever you want during one meal that day without feeling guilty. This will help you feel good about your hard work at the gym and in the kitchen.

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