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30 Ways to Develop and Maintain a Weekly Fitness Regimen

August 5, 2019

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Besides losing weight, the most popular request I get from class participation and clients is how to develop and maintain a weekly workout regimen.

To set up a movement-oriented life for life, the first step is to understand what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Guidelines recommend for keeping your body healthy:

  • 5 30-min. moderate-intensity aerobic workouts (150 minutes) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week
  • 2 15-min. strength training sessions a week, each of which covers exercises for 5 major parts of the body (legs, arms, back, abdominals, chest)
  • spend less time sitting

The problem for most people, however, is deciding how to build and maintain that movement schedule for not just weeks, but years, despite busy lives.

Below is a list of the suggestions I’ve offered people over the years. Some can be accomplished in 30 seconds, while others can take longer to set up, but then help build the infrastructure of a long-lasting weekly workout regimen. Choose the ones you can do and set the others aside for possible future use.

If you have suggestions not mentioned below, please let me know and I’ll add those tips. You can’t have too many good ideas!

 

Fun

(1) Remember that the #1 goal of working out is to prepare you physically and mentally for all of the fun things you can do in life. Burning calories, relieving stress, enjoying the rush of endorphins and helping you sleep well are happy byproducts.

(2) Make a list of the fun things you’ve done in the past or would like to learn to do. Research opportunities to restart or begin those activities. If you swam on a team in high school, call the local swimming pool to learn the lap swimming times or if they’ve got a U.S. Masters Swimming program where you can meet other swimmers and do drills given by a coach. If you’ve always wanted to learn to swim, ask about classes that accommodate your age.

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(3) Consider vacations that have a movement-oriented focus. Go backpacking. Participate in a surf camp. Take a ballroom dancing cruise.

(4) Shift your attitude regarding workouts. Rather than go to the gym out of guilt or obligation — the necessary evil before you get to do anything fun — make movement-oriented activities the social centerpiece of your weekends. Go hiking with friends followed by lunch. Go with a friend to a trapeze arts class. Enter a local walk/run with co-workers. Volunteer to pick up trash at a beach.

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(5) Take classes to learn how to do an activity properly. Feeling uncomfortable and unsure about an activity is not only no fun, but it can get you injured, whereas getting the right instruction can keep you safe and give you confidence.

 

Planning

(6) Create a list of movement options for all types of situations: when you’re healthy; when you’re feeling tired; during normal work weeks; during busy work weeks; when traveling for fun; when traveling for business; when you’re recovering from an injury or illness.

(7) Put your workouts on a calendar. That will encourage commitment to the workout and formally set aside the time.

(8) If you’re a class person, make a list of those you like along with the times, days and locations.

(9) Have 5 movement options for every 1 that gets carried out. If someone schedules a last-minute meeting and you can’t make your morning yoga class, schedule a run at lunchtime. If that falls through, so swimming during the evening lap swimming time.

(10) For busy days, do three 10-min. workouts. You can climb stairs in the morning, walk at lunch, and do a 10-min. strength routine at night. Together they equal the 30 minutes of recommended movement for the day.

 

Equipment

(11) Purchase the right clothes and equipment for specific activities. You’ll feel more comfortable and will perform better. If you’re on a budget, you can often find great items at used clothing and equipment stores.

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(12) The night before your workout, set out the clothes and equipment you’ll need.

(13) Keep extra workout clothes in an easily accessible place, such as in your car or office.

(14) Purchase inexpensive strength and cardio equipment, such as a resistance tube, you can use at home, in the office or take in a suitcase.

(15) Whatever exercise tools you buy, keep them within sight so you’ll remember to use them. Keep a stability ball in your office so you can switch back and forth between sitting on that and sitting in your desk chair. Keep a small yoga ball in your change dish in your living room. Keep a resistance tube hooked on a coat hook so you can do bicep curls while watching TV, or a foam roller by the door so you can self-massage after a bike ride. When you take a break at work, or are thinking about a challenge you have to solve, you can use a hand strength gripper.

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Motivation

(16) Use only the technology that motivates you, rather than the reverse. If an exercise data tool like a Garmin watch can help keep track of your workouts and give you a new goal for your next outing, great! If a Peloton bike class stokes your competitive nature, great! Similarly, online classes can offer endless variety and can be viewed on phones or other small devices that offer easy use in most settings, whether hotel rooms, a corner of a busy gym or with friends in their home.

(17) Get a workout buddy, or two or three. Those you work with are obvious choices because you see them regularly and often have similar schedules.

(18) Go on a fitness field trip. Take up an invitation to go biking in a new location. Try a new class. Though often involving more set-up than usual, all tend to offer new experiences that can keep your workout life exciting.

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Traveling

(19) Since traveling presents challenges, and is often cited as the reason a workout habit gets broken, develop a workout plan for your various travel circumstances: when you’re traveling for fun to a variety of locations; when you’re visiting family; and when you’re traveling for work.

(20) Before you go out of town, research fitness options where you’ll be staying. Include location, hours, cost and any necessary clothing you might not otherwise bring. Maybe you’ll be able rent a bike one day, while the next day you could pay a drop-in fee for a local gym if you’re not staying at a hotel with such a facility.

(21) If you’re traveling with or visiting people, let them know you plan to workout and when. That will solidify your commitment, while alerting them to your need to stay healthy. Try to choose times that don’t impact any planned events for the day.

 

Be kind to yourself

(22) Change your mind when you feel the need. If you planned to go to a bootcamp class, but are too tired and instead attend a gentle yoga class, marvelous!

(23) Link your workout to something pleasant. Treat yourself to your favorite coffee/tea/juice after you leave the gym.

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(24) Use mirrors only to check specific aspects of your form. Otherwise mirrors can wrongly focus your attention on your appearance.

(25) Open yourself to friendships based on fun activities. Go to breakfast with fellow Jazzercise participants or accept an invitation to join a friend’s hiking group.

(26) Whenever you try something new, take it easy! Make sure you feel good during the activity so you’re sure to feel good after the workout, which will make it more likely you’ll return to the activity again.

(27) If you don’t like a certain type of workout, take it off your list.

(28) Avoid negative influences. Avoid disinterested instructors and friends who mean well, but discourage your participation because the workout is “too hard,” despite knowing you can take the activity at your own pace.

(29) Appreciate those working out with you and around you, rather than comparing yourself to them.

(29) Fully appreciate that you’re a good person and are trying hard to live a stronger, healthier, more fun life!

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Conclusion

You’ll know you’ve succeeded in creating and maintaining a robust weekly fitness regimen if you see that you’re:

  • moving regularly
  • really enjoying your activities while continuing to add more
  • roll from one week to the next without feeling like you’ve broken your fitness habit
  • see an improvement in your social life and general well-being

 

Happy working out!

 

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