6 Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

Exercise.

Habit.

Two words that most people don’t see going in the same sentence. How can exercise be something you “just do”? If you’re not one of those people who enjoy exercise (there are more out there than you may think!) how can it ever not be a forced activity in your day?

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I remember when my workout felt like a chore. It was painful to drag myself to the gym (or in front of a P90X video) and get started. Once I did start it was fine, but getting started was the worst part of my day. I would so rather be sleeping, watching tv, shopping, eating, ANYTHING but working out.

But we all know that exercise is good for us. It’s not necessary to workout 7 days a week but according to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, you should get at least 150 minutes per week (source).

Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (18-64 years) #
To achieve health benefits, adults aged 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
It is also beneficial to add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups, at least 2 days per week.
More daily physical activity provides greater health benefits.

So how can you make this a habit; something you just do without thinking about? Here are my 6 tips for making exercise a non-negotiable part of your day:

1. Have a Clear Vision

There is a difference between a goal to lose weight or be fit vs. losing weight or getting fit to reach your goal. I’m not exercising to lose weight or to look good for a specific event. I’m in it for life. I want to feel sexy and confident every day. I want to have energy and regular sleeping & eating patterns. ย I want to live long enough to see my children’s, children have children. And I want to be the best possible version of myself so I can be my best for others.

I think being fit and healthy will allow me to be all of these things.

Having my priorities straight is what keeps me going back to the gym day after day. Shallow goals are too easy to make excuses for. For example, I strength train because I want to have functional strength for everyday activities. If my goal was to be able to squat 100 lbs, it would be a lot easier to put that off for another day, and then another…

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2. Plan Your Week

Every Sunday I take a look at the upcoming week and my work/personal commitments. I schedule my workouts from Monday-Saturday around those plans. For example, on a travel day I may need to work out a little later in the evening or if I have dinner plans with friends, I’ll hit the gym in the morning before work.

I have a to-do list for each day which includes my meals and fitness for that day. It doesn’t always have to be perfect; some nights are busy, canned soup nights (Amy‘s are the best!) and sometimes the best workout I can squeeze in is 30 minutes on the elliptical. Regardless, having a plan keeps me on track.

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3. Prep The Night Before

If I know I’m taking a yoga class the following day, my mat, towel & yoga bag are sitting by the door. If I’m working out in the morning, I’m sure to have an on-the-go breakfast ready like these vegan overnight oats!

Laying everything out the night before saves a lot of time and stress in the morning. Plus, you will be less likely to forget your socks or headphones and you’ll show up with the right gear! I’d prefer not to do BodyAttack in a Free-To-Be bra ๐Ÿ˜‰

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4. Choose Workouts You Enjoy

If you hate spin (like me), don’t spin. Just because it’s amazing cardio doesn’t mean its for everyone. I’d rather do 10,000 burpees. If it’s a gorgeous day out and you’re dreading the gym, go for a run outside. When it comes to exercise, there ย is something for everyone. Just to name a few:

  • Organized sports – Join a basketball team or a dance club
  • Casual sports – Have a tennis match with your bestie or go snowshoeing
  • Running/walking – Go solo, with a friend, join a running group, or go all out and start marathon training
  • Group fitness classes – Both Les Mills and the YMCA offer something for everyone who thrives in a group atmosphere
  • The gym – TRX, weight lifting, cardio machines
  • Home workout videos – Beach Body videos (i.e. P90X), Jillian Michaels, TIU
  • Online fitness – Blogilates,ย You Tube videos

The list goes on…

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5. Commit to Friends

If you tell someone your going to be there, you probably will. When I was in university I always worked out with my friend Britt. I remember a lot of mornings wishing we hadn’t made plans to be at the gym first thing, but I wasn’t about to be the one to back out. Afterwards, I was always SO glad I dragged myself out of bed. Usually once our weekly schedule was set, we rarely missed a workout.

Meeting friends to workout can be a bit of a social thing too. I love having company for a yoga class or a circuit and you wouldn’t believe the cool people you meet through healthy living ๐Ÿ˜‰

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6. Acknowledge & Celebrate Progress!

Of course doing something over and over will get frustrating if you aren’t seeing any results, but remember your weight is not the only indicator of progress. There are a number of factors that can prove you are making headway:

  • Body measurements
  • Body fat percentage
  • Blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol
  • How your clothes feel
  • Energy levels
  • Strength
  • Endurance

Remember to set realistic, sustainable goals (see #1) and celebrate even the smallest successes! If you beat your 5k time, maybe buy yourself a new pair of running shorts. If you’re at a plateau, reassess your routine and make some changes.

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Exercise needs to be fun and enjoyable or it will never be a habit. It can be all of these things if above all, you want it to be. You need to decide for yourself that you want to live a healthy, active lifestyle; that you want to be fit & healthy and are willing to work for it.

You are the only person who can make those things happen. Not your gym buddy, not your trainer, not Jillian Michaels… YOU! So get out your to-do list, plan your week, and pack your gym bag. There’s no time like the present… ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s to healthy habits!

Liz xo

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21 thoughts on “6 Ways to Make Exercise a Habit

  1. Love this post and that you have Canadian stats! Good job girl!
    I’m all about planning and preparing for my workouts, if I don’t…it won’t happen. I’m actually going for a snow shoe at lunch today with a co-worker – always nice to commit with friends and stay accountable to them.

    • How sweet! Thank you so much:D I really appreciate hearing that I affected someone in a positive way and that you can relate to the stuff I post.

      I think having fun is the #1 thing a lot of people overlook when it comes to fitness but it’s definitely possible and so important ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I agree. That is why my workouts are so different now. I go there to release energy, have fun, and be in a different environment.

        My outlook on exercise is a lot different and it ISN’T to burn off calories. It can’t be, to stay positive about it.

        I still see so many miserable people working out because they think they have to or it is just another chore. I want to make those people see a different side to it! I would rather not work out at all if I thought that way.

        I want working out to be something I enjoy, and to do to become stronger both physically AND mentally!

        I wish I could help others have a different outlook on it! However, to each one their own! Glad to see you have the right outlook on exercise! Keep up the great work Elyse!

        Much love ๐Ÿ™‚ I will have two new posts coming out this week! Stay tuned. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Thanks again for your comments/outreach! Much appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

        โค LP

      • I’m so happy to hear you found a way to enjoy making exercise a party of your daily life ๐Ÿ™‚ I wish I could just run up to people at the gym sometimes too and say, “you look miserable doing bicep curls, come join me at BodyAttack!” haha but you’re right, we all have to find our own way.

        Looking forward to reading your new posts! Take Care, Lauren ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hi Elyse!
    I follow a few healthy living blogs and am so glad that I came across yours. I’m moving to Fredericton after I finish my undergrad in May and have already started scoping out some good fitness classes and places to eat in the area (priorities haha). I’m looking forward to checking out some of the places you mention on your blog! PS I have the same Nike Frees – so comfy!

    Natalie ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hey Natalie!

      I’m so glad you found me too ๐Ÿ™‚ You are definitely going to have to join me for a BodyAttack class from the amazing Lisa Thompson! Freddy is a pretty fitness-focused city with lots of running groups, cycling, yoga studios, 4 Goodlife clubs plus other privately owned clubs. There are a few veggie restaurants and a lot of places that offer vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options. I think you’ll like it here ๐Ÿ™‚

      Give me a shout when you’re in town!

  3. Pingback: There’s More to Fitness Than Muscles | Lizzie Fit

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