7 Ways to Boost Your Workout Plan

running girl stretching
Simple steps make your workout more effective. Jordan Siemens/Stone/Getty Images

Not getting the results you want from your exercise plan? If your workout plan needs a boost, then it's time to go back to basics. You may have skipped some essential steps when you set up the plan in the first place. Check this list of easy things you can do to get your workout plan to work faster.

7 Ways to Boost Your Workout Plan

  1. Connect with experts.  Really hard workouts will provide the best results - both mentally and physically. But it's generally a good idea to visit your doctor to be sure that you are healthy enough for vigorous exercise. Even if there are physical barriers that prevent you from participating in some popular forms of exercise, your physician may be able to suggest modifications that can be made so that you can begin a workout plan.

    Once you know you're healthy for a wide range of workouts, connect with experts to learn a new sport or challenge yourself in the sports you already enjoy.  Join a running group or sign up for a race. You can also visit with a personal trainer to shake things up. A good trainer will assess your level of fitness, help you set goals that you'll actually reach and design a routine for you to follow. Some trainers will even perform metabolic testing to help you lose weight.
  1. Focus on consistency. Exercisers often try to find the trendiest fat burning workouts or a hot new fitness gadget to jump start their program.  But the most effective workout plan is going to be the one that you stick to for the long-term. It is not necessary to spend a lot of money on a new fitness tool or gym membership - especially in the beginning. Simply focus on consistency.

    Make a commitment to do some form of physical activity every day. Once regular exercise is part of your daily schedule you can make adjustments to burn more calories. But in the beginning, regularity is the key to success. So choose activities that you enjoy doing and do them often.
  2. Make friends to hold you accountable. One of the best predictors of success in a weight loss exercise plan is social support. If your friends make exercise more enjoyable, you are more likely to continue the habit. Friends will also help to hold you accountable.

    If your immediate circle of friends is not interested in exercise then look a little further. Maybe your coworkers would like to join you for an outdoor activity after a day at the office. Perhaps you have neighbors that would be willing to put the kids in strollers and walk or run through the neighborhood. Learn now to get the support you need to make your plan a success.
  1. Buy proper exercise clothing. Proper workout clothing will make your exercise sessions safer and more effective. So invest in a good pair of shoes, breathable workout attire, and other exercise essentials. You may want to avoid the big box retailers and go to a sport-specific store that is staffed by experts. Neighborhood walking and running stores are great resources. Often these smaller owner-operated stores have staff that are actively involved in the sport and can make specific recommendations for fit and wear.

    Once you make the initial purchase, make new workout shoes or clothing an incentive for continued success. Set short-term goals and reward yourself with a new outfit that will make you feel more comfortable and confident during future workouts.
  1. Write out a plan. It's easy to decide that you want to exercise. Getting it done is the hard part. There will always be another task, job or priority that can get in the way of your workout. To be sure that your workout remains a top priority, get out a calendar plan your meals and workouts each week.

    Once you have the plan in writing, post it in a highly visible spot. That way you see it every day and reminds you of your commitment. You can also set out workout clothing and pack a gym bag the night before your workout.

  2. Vary your workouts. Exercise for weight loss should include aerobic activity to burn calories, strength training to build muscle, and flexibility training to increase range of motion in the joints, prevent injury  and decrease stress.

    When you create a workout schedule, plan to different activities during the week. For example, you may want to jog on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays grab the bike and head to a park for some push-ups, lunges, and sit-ups. Stretch and balance in yoga on Sunday.

  1. Use active recovery days. Remember that your body needs rest. But a rest day isn't a day when you lay on the couch. Instead plan active recovery days when you participate in an easy fun activity. These gentle workout days give both your body and mind a rest. Not sure what to do? Try easy lap swimming, a gentle yoga class, or a long walk with a friend.

Remember, the most important component of a successful workout plan is consistency. Set up and maintain a healthy energy balance and then stick to the program that you created. It won't feel good every day, but if you maintain your commitment on the hard days, you're more likely to see the results that you deserve.

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