How to Start a Workout Routine–One That Sticks This Time

How to start a workout routine

Mark Twain said “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.”

His point is as well taken now as it was more than a hundred years ago: change is hard! The same can be said of breaking a bad habit or picking up a good one. As of this posting, we’re at that point in the year where New Years resolutions to be more active are a distant memory. Now that the weather is improving, many of us are starting to think about getting taking another crack at it.

But how do you break out of the start-and-stop cycle with your workout routine? What can you do to really make it stick this time?

You may want to begin by thinking about the common obstacles that break your routine and bring your efforts to a silent halt. All these obstacles can be described with the blanket term Resistance. Resistance comes in many forms, and appears whenever you’re trying to make a significant personal change. It swallows your initial burst of enthusiasm with unforeseen circumstances or feelings that can easily derail your efforts and leave you frustrated. Its appearance is inevitable. But if you know it’s coming, you can be ready.

You know the drill
Routine can be key in maintaining an exercise habit long term. This can work really well if most of your days have a steady rhythm. Do you leave work at pretty much the same time each day? Make that unwinding period your gym time. If before work is better for you, then do that. The key to this strategy is consistency and predictability. If your lifestyle isn’t so steady, it might be very difficult to make this strategy work for you.

Your workout won’t take much will power if it’s all part of the plan. If it’s built into your day in a way that’s almost automatic, it will be much easier to punch through the resistance phase and just do it because it’s what’s next on your schedule.

Who’s got your six?
One of the many forms the Resistance takes is the people who are closest to you. Ever try to cut back on your fat intake, only to have your spouse or significant other bring home some form of temptation along with the milk you had them pick up? Ever set a date to hit the gym only to have to cross if off the calendar to do a favor for a friend? Your loved ones aren’t intentionally trying to sabotage you (usually), but when you live with and around people with different needs, their interests inevitably clash with whatever change you’re trying to make in your life. It’s like trying to go the bathroom in an airplane: chances are, meeting your needs is going to mean someone else is going to be inconvenienced.

How do you get past this? It may not be realistic or helpful to announce to everyone in your circle the changes you’re trying to make and ask for everyone’s support. Sure, the bigger the cheering section you have, the better, but not everyone is comfortable with that. Pick at least one person who’s willing to help you be accountable. Tell them when you plan to go exercise and have them check in with you every week or every few days to see how things are going. You’re not asking a lot, and a best friend or romantic partner will probably be happy to help. Better yet, if you have a friend with similar goals, support each other! Keep each other accountable and committed.

If you’re not having fun . . .
You’re doing it wrong! If working out is a miserable experience you dread every time, you’re simply not going to be able to keep it up. Even if you’re just bored and you’re doing it just to do it, you could be in trouble. Sure, you won’t ‘feel like it’ every time, but go anyway. That’s good! The Resistance hates when you do that. But the motivation has to be there. You have to want it, not just for the promised results, but for the experience itself. Try different things! Sign up for various lessons. Find a sport or a class you truly enjoy and make it a part of your who you are. Routines come and go: passion is forever.

Practice makes perfect? No!
Actually, perfect practice makes perfect. Go into each workout with a problem solving mentality, or with a goal to improve. In weight training, that might mean improving your form or raising the amount of weight. In basketball it might mean perfecting your jump shot. Engage with the activity, not just with your body, but with your mind as well. You will see better results from what you’re doing, and skipping out or giving up will be the farthest thing from your mind.

Payoff
Make sure you’re rewarding yourself for sticking with it. Keep track and reward yourself for reaching milestones. (Wherever possible, make sure these rewards don’t involve calories, so as not to compromise your goals.) Massage, it turns out, is both a fantastic non-food reward you can treat yourself to, and a great way to take care of your body. You can even purchase the reward ahead of time as a gift card or in a prepaid package and use it whenever you’ve earned it. It’s easy to place buy a package or gift card online or by phone (425-243-7705). You can also book your appointment online.

A final thought on the Resistance …
If you’re still struggling after trying all these strategies, maybe it’s time to look in the mirror. Is there some underlying issue, some lurking thought error or negative belief about yourself that’s quietly undermining your motivation? A great first step in that direction is to look the Resistance in the eye and recognize it for what it is, no matter what form it takes. If you can name it, you can get around it.

So get out there and stay with it! This time, things are going to be different.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can hire him to handle your content and social media marketing needs by contacting him at tomgunn@gmail.com

Are You Un-Doing Your Massage?

A great massage will have you coming home feeling like a new person. But what about the next morning? For those who aren’t used to regular body work appointments, you might be feeling a little sore after your first visit. Stretching is one of the best ways to help your body recover.

Stretching also has other amazing benefits:

  • improves your joint range of motion.
  • increases blood flow to the muscle.
  • improves flexibility.
  • leaves you feeling fresh and energized.

What kind of stretches should I do?
For athletes, the type of stretching you do and at what time you do it matters a lot. Static stretching, for instance, may be beneficial under most circumstances. But this stretch has been proven to impair performance before a 100 meter sprint. Athletes might focus on more dynamic stretches which involve lots of mobility. For our purposes, our best recommendation is to focus on static stretches.

Static stretches are simple body positions where you reach and hold the position for 10-30 seconds. It’s that easy! Static stretches are best for muscle recovery when done correctly.

Before you begin …
Form is important when exercising your flexibility. Stretching when your muscles are cold can lead to more damage than recovery. Here are things to consider before beginning your regular stretching routine:

Use proper technique
If you feel more pain than a good stretch, it is a good indicator that something is wrong.

Warm-up before stretching
To bring a good blood flow to your muscles, go for a short walk or do some cleaning around the house.

Do not “bounce” when you stretch
It is important to hold your stretch as to prevent stress on the muscle.

Reach until you feel the stretch
Don’t aim for pain. If it hurts, you’ve gone too far. If you’re aiming to improve your flexibility, push it right to the limit of where it hurts, and over time you’ll find that your flexibility improves. Don’t try to force the results.

Maintain a daily stretching routine
The benefits of stretching, like massages, come when you do it regularly.

Stay Hydrated!
Proper water intake prevents muscle cramps.

Great stretches for each part of your body

Foam Roll Calf Stretch
Foam Rollers are great just about anything! If you don’t own your own foam roller, you can purchase them here at the Good Life Massage, are relatively inexpensive, and are widely available.Faszienrolle

  1. Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you
  2. Cross your legs and place them on top of the foam roller.
  3. With your hands to your side, gently lift yourself off of the ground and allow the foam roller to move from your knee to the ankle. Pause in places of tension for 10-30 seconds.
  4. Switch legs crossed.

Wall Calf StretchDehnung der Wadenmuskulatur

  1. While facing the wall, position your feet around four feet from the wall. Place one foot forward.
  2. Lean forward, resting your hands against the wall. Try to keep each part of your body in alignment.
  3. Keep your heel on the ground. Hold the stance for 10-30 seconds. Switch legs.

Shoulder and Tricep Stretch

  1. While standing, position your feet shoulder length a part.
  2. With the forearm of one hand, pull the elbow of your other arm past your shoulder until you feel a pull.
  3. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Switch arms.

Glute Stretch

  1. While sitting on the ground, leave one leg stretched outward, with the other leg bent.
  2. With both hands, grab the leg that is bent and pull backwards while slowly leaning back (be sure to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed).
  3. Once you feel the stretch, hold for 10-30 seconds. Switch legs.

Lower Back Stretch

  1. While sitting on the ground, leave left leg stretched outward, with your right leg bent, crossed over the straight leg.practice yoga
  2. Place your right arm on your left leg and keep your left arm stretched outward. Slowly twist until you feel a slight stretch.
  3. Hold for 10-30 seconds and switch legs.

Cobra Stretch (Lower Back)

  1. Lay down with your chest on the ground.
  2. Place your hands as if you were to do a push up.Yoga bhujangasana cobra pose by woman on green grass in the park
  3. Push off the ground while keeping your hips to the ground. Hold for 10-30 seconds.

Forearm-Finger Tip Stretch

  1. While standing, stretch out your arm with the palm of the hand facing the ceiling.
  2. Gently pull down the fingertips of your hand until you feel a slight stretch.
  3. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Then switch to the other hand.

Neck and Trapezius Stretch

  1. Be especially gentle with this stretch as to avoid pulling any muscles
  2. With one hand, cradle the back of your head and pull slightly towards your shoulder, hold for 10-30 seconds.
  3. Switch arms to stretch the other side of your neck.

Hamstring Stretch (Hurtler Stretch)

red woman stretching her foot on the floor

  1. Sit on the ground with both legs stretched out in front of you.
  2. Bend one leg in towards your outstretched leg.
  3. Slowly lean towards your outstretch leg. Touch your toes if possible. Hold your stretch for 10-30 seconds.

Upper Back Stretch

  1. Kneel down on a soft surface.
  2. Prostrate yourself on the ground extending your hands as far out in front of you as possible.fit woman bending over on mat doing pilates exercise at home in the living room
  3. Hold position for 10-30 seconds.

You won’t need to sacrifice hours in a week to create a daily stretching routine. Just Five minutes a day is an investment that can provide years of mobility as you grow older.

Tanner Zornes is a blog contributor for the Good Life Massage and a student at Brigham Young University. Special thanks to our own Vanessa Mabra, LMP for inspiring this post and assisting in the research. 

Know Your Practitioner, Part IV: Vanessa Mabra

Know Your Practitioner is your chance to become more familiar and comfortable with your massage practitioner. If you aren’t sure which of our talented practitioners would be best for you to come back to regularly, this is a great way to meet them and get to know who they are both personally and professionally. This is Part 4 in the series. To learn more about our other therapists, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

As of this posting, Vanessa Mabra is a more recent addition to the GLM team, but she also happens to be our most experienced therapist, having practiced massage for more than seventeen years. Her experience, skill set, and positive attitude stood out immediately as a perfect fit for GLM. In the time she’s been with us, she’s already started building a loyal clientele.

 

Tell us a little something about your personal life. Hobbies, interests, family, friends, etc.
I live on a mini-farm with goats, chickens, ducks, dogs and cats. We grow lots of

Portraits - JessPhotography (3)
Vanessa Mabra, LMP

vegetables and fruit. We make jam in the summer–strawberry and blackberry.

I have a life-long obsession with the Seahawks.

Tell us about your career in massage. How did you get started? What events lead to you working here?
I saw a small massage school in Moscow, Idaho while staying with a friend who was going to Washington State University. I walked in, met the owners, and decided to stay.

After my training, I started with chair massage for two years. I worked in a physical therapy clinic for about fourteen years, but always wanted to do more relaxation and spa work.

What’s your favorite part of this job? What gets you excited to come to work?
Well, for one thing, people are never unhappy to see me. I love to make people walk out of the clinic feeling like jelly.

Pick a superpower: flying or turning invisible. Explain your answer.
I don’t know if I could decide between those two, but I would love to have the ability to read minds. I could give the best massage ever!

We’re all about wellness here. What’s your favorite health habit? 
I stretch every muscle I can, every day. I take 10-15 minutes at night and hold every stretch.

I also drink 8 – 10 cups of water every day.

Finish this statement: I wish my clients knew …
…how much I like working with those new to massage. Although, I worked in physical therapy for so long, I really would rather just have people come for relaxation and de-stressing.

Thanks, Vanessa! This is the fourth part of a series. Watch for more profiles in this series as more practitioners join our team down the line.

Book a massage with Vanessa today!

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the official blogger and marketing director for The Good Life Massage. You can follow him on Twitter @elmanoroboto.