With more and more commitments vying for our time and attention, it can be increasingly difficult to make it to your regular gym or yoga class each week. That’s why the do-it-yourself approach to fitness is gaining popularity. But the DIY approach brings its own set of challenges; finding time, motivation and support. Everyone’s approach to fitness is unique, which is why each person’s fitness regime should be unique too.
Can you work out effectively on your own when and where you want? We have explored the options for the time-poor but exercise-keen person of today, to help you get the most out of your workout, and enjoy it.
The key factors that can help your DIY fitness plan really work:
Focus on what you enjoy
What do you prefer? Exercising inside or outside, with a friend or on your own? Do you prefer team sports or a non competitive environment?
To make the most of your DIY fitness plan, find an activity that you enjoy. It will make achieving your fitness goals so much easier. You’ll feel motivated and keen to stick with it.
The industry is flush for choice. It can be tough to figure out what you enjoy and which activity is the best fit for your DIY fitness plan.
Here are 3 tips:
- Experiment: try different activities, try a new studio or a different instructor, try the same activity inside vs outside, try exercising with a friend and on your own.
- Notice how you feel: keep a journal to record how you feel at the end of each activity.
- Consider your goals: if your goal is to run a marathon, swimming might not be the best choice, but if your goal is to complete a triathlon, you’ll need both.
It’s time to choose! Take a look through your journal. Which activities did you enjoy the most? Which ones are going to help you achieve your goals?
So you’ve chosen your activity and you’re set to go. What next?
Engage in your chosen activity on a regular basis. Consistency is key to see results. Our muscles take time to adapt to the new activity, so be patient, it takes time to see change. Try your chosen activity once or twice a week for the first few weeks.
Do you find it difficult to stick to a new goal? Think about what you can do to support yourself in making this change.
Here are a few ideas:
- Set an alarm each day to remind yourself that you’ve scheduled a DIY workout.
- Put a reminder in your work calendar to remind you throughout your work week.
- Make up your own weekly timetable and stick it on your wall. Include pictures or items that inspire you to work towards your goals.
Making changes and implementing new habits is challenging. Setbacks are to be expected, so be kind to yourself when you miss a workout. Try again the next day!
Encourage yourself regularly. Positive self-talk will change your attitude over time. Try this: “I missed my workout today, but that’s ok. I will try again tomorrow. I am proud of myself for trying to make this change”.
Keep a journal, write down when you stick to your schedule and when you don’t and why. Look over it and notice any common themes or excuses you use. Brainstorm ways to work around your excuses.
Continuously add to your workout
So you’ve been exercising for a few weeks now and it’s becoming a little easier. Awesome! It means you’ve been consistent and your muscles are adapting to the exercise.
It’s time to step it up.
Add to your workout. Here are a few ways you can challenge yourself:
- Add another workout to your weekly schedule. Try three times a week instead of two for example
- Increase how many of each exercise you do. Let’s take squats, currently you are doing 2 sets of 10 increase it to 3 sets of 10 squats
- Add another type of activity to your workout schedule. If you have been cycling twice a week, add a gym session or a pilates session
Start with one change and make slow and steady increases to your workout load.
Increasing your workout load every few weeks will bring you closer to your exercise goals. It means your body is constantly being challenged and pushed. The workout will never be too easy.
Exercise is a great way to meet people and build lifelong friendships. It can keep you motivated to stick with it!
Surround yourself with like-minded, exercise-keen individuals. Being in the company of others who are doing what you are doing is a sure way to stay on track. Organise to meet up for a workout in the park, at each others houses or schedule a group fitness class together. Tie it in with other social activities. Catch up with others before or after your workout.
Seek support, making change can be scary. Support can help you stay on track and allows you to express any concerns you have. Remember that support can mean something different for everyone.
Support can be:
- Close friends and family
- GP for any health concerns
- Counsellor who can help with any fears you have around exercise
- Personal Trainer for any exercise related concerns
Use a Fitness app
Fitness apps are a great way to track your workout, monitor your progress, get daily workout routines and tips on technique.
You can still exercise when and where works for you and have a little bit of support on the side.
The pro’s of a fitness app:
- It’s easily accessible
- It’s super cheap
- Provides good basic guidance and tips
Exercise DVDs are also a great option for the lounge room DIY fitness plan. Make sure you do a little research online to check what instructors and DVD’s are of good quality.
So, to sum it up, enjoy what you are doing, do it often (consistency is key), add to your workout, seek support and try a fitness app or Exercise DVD for some extra tips and support.
If you’ve never considered a DIY approach to fitness give it a go, follow these tips and see if it’s for you. However, it’s not for everyone. There are many options out there, it’s about finding a way that works for you. Newbies to exercise will benefit from a more structured approach. Check out our tips for beginners here!