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Re-Energize Your Workouts

Re-Energize Your Workouts

Sometimes going out and exercising is the last thing I want to put on my already crammed schedule. It's easy for me to come up with excuses why I don't have to workout. I think, "I'm tired, I'm hungry" or "I've already worked out this week."

The problem with making excuses is that if you keep focusing on the problem, you'll never move toward a solution. You start believing the negativity. If your workouts have been weak, uninspired or non-existent, here are a few ways to jump-start your fitness routine.

Begin by planning what you'll do for your next workout. Make a list of the exercises you intend on doing. If you don't know where to start, try a routine printed in one of the national fitness magazines, hire a personal trainer to design one for you or sign up for classes and learn something new. Don't keep doing the same stale routine unless you want the same stale results.

Challenge yourself with something you want to achieve in the next 90 days. Then schedule workouts with enough frequency and intensity to accomplish that goal. Pick a race you want to finish, a contest you want to enter, a weight you want to be or clothing you want to wear. Remember that if your goal is measurable, achievable and realistic you're more likely to accomplish it.

Surround yourself with an atmosphere of excitement. Listen to music, hang motivational posters, get an enthusiastic workout partner or change where you exercise. People tend to mimic the workout styles of those around them. So if you can't find someone to workout with, lift weights or do your cardio near the people who are pushing themselves the hardest.

Remember your glory days. Some of the hardest people to motivate are the ones who were once in peak condition that have let themselves go. If you're one of the formerly fit, sit down, look at yourself in the mirror and strike up a conversation. Remember the steps you took, the healthy foods you ate and how you pushed yourself through rough patches. You did it once before. Think about how good being in shape felt and remind yourself you can do it again.

Prep your body the night before. Eat a slow-digesting casein protein so your body gets a more sustained release of energy through the night. If you constantly wake up tired, schedule more time to sleep and turn off all your electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

When you get out of bed, expose yourself to sunlight. It'll help wake you up quicker and you're more likely to have the energy to exercise. If it's still dark outside, turn on a couple of brighter lights to mimic the effects of the sun.

Record your workouts so you can chart your progress and continue challenging yourself. If you did 8 reps last time, attempt at least 9 this time.

Have your gear standing by so you're always ready to go. If you workout at night, go directly to the gym or exercise class when your job is finished. Don't swing by your house to get things. The comfort of your couch and the food in the refrigerator may sidetrack you because they're too tempting to resist.

Learn to identify the differences between mental and physical fatigue. After a long day at work, your mind may be exhausted but your body will be fine. Pep yourself up by doing some cardio. If you're still tired after about 15 minutes, go home and get some rest. But it's more likely the cardio will refresh you and you'll be ready to do your entire workout.

Finally, consider "retail shock therapy." Try on the clothes you'd LIKE to be wearing. Then take a picture of yourself in the dressing room mirror and carry it around with you. Anytime you lose your motivation, take a look at that picture and remind yourself what you're trying to change.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.