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When you work out
Team up, set goals and self-motivate

01/14/16
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



 Getting into a workout routine during winter can be grueling, especially if you’re not a winter sports person. For inspiration, we talked with some local fitness experts on how to stay motivated and actually enjoy your workouts during the months when it’s hard to get outside.

 
Get a buddy
A buddy can be instrumental in making workouts more fun, particularly if you enjoy spending time with that person. 
“Finding other people you enjoy being around that you can exercise with, that’s going to make it more entertaining,” Eric Marsh, Fun Intelligent Training owner, said via phone. “And it can add more accountability. If somebody expects you to be there at a certain time, you’re going to do it. … A small percentage of the population is self-motivated … so finding little tricks, ways to hold yourself accountable is really super important.”
It also gives you someone to share your accomplishments with.
“If you meet a goal, they’re cheering you on for it. You have a witness here,” Marsh said.
Sarah Nadeau, health educator and fitness trainer at Derry Medical Center, agrees. 
“Knowing you’re not doing it alone, that somebody else is doing it with you, that’s really important,” Nadeau said.
Find someone with a similar fitness level and you may also find this person helps foster friendly competition — but keep the emphasis on the friendly.
“Within reason, competitiveness can be awesome. It gets people really fired up,” Marsh said. 
Take a class
Or join a sports team, or a workout group or a running club. In Nadeau’s experience, people have the most success when they find a program that meets their fitness abilities and enjoyment. It takes away the monotony of your standby workouts.
“Find ways to get out there and be active, but do something you enjoy doing — going out birding, or taking your dog out for a walk, or going out with a group of people and going kayaking,” Nadeau said.
You may even find this produces better results.
“I’m a creature of habit, but I find I get the best results if I choose several different things to do,” said Marsh, whose current favorite workouts revolve around basketball, kettlebell weight exercises and jujitsu. “And it becomes something to look forward to.”
Sometimes doing this means trying something you’ve never done before. From many clients, Nadeau had heard many times, “I hate doing winter things,” until she introduced them to snowshoeing.
Of course, there’s also the concept that, if you’re paying to be part of something like a sports team or swim class, you’re more likely to go to not waste your money.
 
Have a goal
And at that, make it an attainable goal. A small one, something you could realistically accomplish with little time.
Marsh agreed.
“If you have a goal to work toward, that really helps people to stay motivated and stay on task. A lot of people tend to set these super-duper, difficult-to-achieve goals that, if they don’t notice progress, they tend to get frustrated and throw in the towel. They need to be simpler and more attainable,” Marsh said.
It’s OK to have a dream goal. But you need to break it down into steps. Don’t think you’ll be able to run a marathon anytime soon if you can’t complete a 5K. It can be as simple as going 10,000 steps today, 10,500 tomorrow. Or maybe it could be something like completing a road race (ideally with a group, so it’s more fun and you can’t back out).
Both Marsh and Nadeau agreed, people like being able to measure their progress. Use your watch, your phone or your body — notice how much less tired you are today than yesterday, or the day before that. Or you could get a fun tool to help you measure.
“A Fitbit or even phones now have these tracking [tools] that tell you how much movement you’re doing,” Nadeau said.
 
By yourself
For the times when you’re not in a fitness class, group or sporting event, it’s harder to keep going, but it’s possible.
Nadeau suggests you surround yourself with your favorite music. Take a walk or jog while listening to an audiobook or podcast on your phone, or squeeze in the exercises while you’re not exercising.
“When I’m vacuuming around the house, I’m doing lunges. When I’ve got the music on, I’m dancing to it,” Nadeau said.
Marsh said you can easily squeeze in a workout within a busy day by splitting it into short intervals. Whenever you have a minute, bust out some squats or push-ups. It will pay dividends over time.
“I’ll grab a kettlebell and bang out 50 to 100 swings, which takes about 1 to 2 minutes, then go back to the task at hand,” Marsh said. “If you do 10 reps of something 10 times a day, you just did 100. If you do that five times a week, that’s 500 over the course of the week. And that’s a lot,” Marsh said. 





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