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How to Make Sure You Stick to Your New Training Program

How to Make Sure You Stick to Your New Training Program

Keeping to a new training program is probably one of the most common problem people face after New Years Eve. Promises of better health and a fit body are common at this time of year but if simply making the new year’s resolution was all that was needed, the world would be populated with only fit and healthy people. Not quite reality is it? What happens to most people is that they keep to their new training program for a short time—maybe a few weeks—and then they start slacking off. What started out so well soon turns into another burden: every time a session is missed, the risk of failure rises and the burden of guilt piles up. In the end it is just so  much better just to skip the whole thing go back to the way things were—anything just to keep from feeling guilty all the time.Why does this happen? Why is it so hard to keep to new training programs? More importantly, what can you do make sure you keep to it?

new training program

    The number one problem is that it is just too easy to talk yourself out of training. You didn’t do it before, so why is it necessary now? Your internal dialogue can be quite interesting to listen to—anything that speaks in favor of training seems so small, and making up excuses is just so easy.

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    The reason that all of this happens is that your new training program is not a habit yet. People are creatures of habit, and we generally resist change. No big surprise there—if you think about it, you will likely see the pattern. Lasting change require extra effort, and it is not until you make something a habit that changes will last.

    Get in the habit

    The solution is simple: make your new training program a habit.

    That sounds easy enough, but as it turns out, it may not be. Just because you set out to create a new routine, it will requires a fair bit of consistency to become a true habit. To get this going, the first couple of weeks are the most important: this is where you form the basis of the new habit (if it becomes a habit). You have to make sure that you keep any cheating to an absolute minimum. Depending on what kind of person you are, the way that you can do this will vary: below are some very powerful suggestions and by using one of them—or even better, a combination of them—you can make sure you stick with things long enough to form your new desired training habit. After this, you will reap the benefits for years to come.

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    These are the methods I propose:

    1. Get a training partner.

    Doing this is effective on many levels: first, you combine your health and fitness with social interaction, which will make heavy or painful exercise a little bit more enjoyable. Secondly, having a training partner builds automatic positive peer pressure: if you want to skip a session, you don’t just have to convince yourself, you have to call your training partner as well and give him/her a good reason. This alone can make you go the extra mile. The best training partner you can find is somebody who is already in the habit of working out, so you’ll be piggy-backing on their habit. You then reap the benefits of the work your friend has already put in.

    2. Make a bet.

    If you have problems finding a training partner to actually train with you in person, you may be able to make a bet with someone who is doing the same thing you are instead. Agree that for each time you miss a training session when they do train, you have to pay the other person a nominal fee. Now you have voluntarily included a monetary reason to train, combined with the slightly weaker peer pressure of having to tell the other person you missed a session.

    3. Add accountability by telling people.

    By telling people about your new training practice and the goals you have made, you are basically recruiting an army of people who will hold you accountable. If you spread the word on Facebook that you have now taken up running (for example) and post your progress there, people will start asking you what is going on if you miss a session. They want to know about your progress, and posting progress that you’re proud of having achieved will keep you going.

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    4. Schedule the time to train.

    This one is so simple, but is probably the most overlooked thing to do. Don’t just say “I am going to train 3 times a week”—put specific times and dates into your calender with reminders and everything. If you don’t do this, other engagements will soon take over and your training sessions will be few and far between.

    When I took up runnin,g I got myself a partner who is a better runner with more experience; we scheduled our runs at specific times 3 days a week, and I started using the Runkeeper app to post results on Facebook after every session. This kept me going in the beginning long enough for me to form the habit of running.

    What do you do to make sure you keep to your new training program?

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    Featured photo credit:  interior of an old gym for bodybuilding via Shutterstock

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    Last Updated on March 25, 2020

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

    When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

    So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

    1. Exercise

    It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

    2. Drink in Moderation

    I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

    3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

    Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

    4. Watch Less Television

    A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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    Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

    5. Eat Less Red Meat

    Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

    If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

    6. Don’t Smoke

    This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

    7. Socialize

    Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

    8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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    9. Be Optimistic

    Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

    10. Own a Pet

    Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

    11. Drink Coffee

    Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

    12. Eat Less

    Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

    13. Meditate

    Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

    Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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    How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

    14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

    Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

    15. Laugh Often

    Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

    16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

    Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

    17. Cook Your Own Food

    When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

    Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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    18. Eat Mushrooms

    Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

    19. Floss

    Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

    20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

    Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

    Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

    21. Have Sex

    Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

    More Health Tips

    Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

    Reference

    [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
    [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
    [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
    [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
    [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
    [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
    [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
    [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
    [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
    [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
    [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
    [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
    [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
    [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
    [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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