As you continue to gain strength, flexibility and endurance through daily physical activity, you’ll want to think more about the important role your mind plays in getting and staying fit.
Consider some alternatives to your regular weight and cardio training such as yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi, all of which engage the mind, body and spirit at once. Include these alternative mind and body disciplines on a regular basis.
As your training progresses, “burnout” can occur. These alternatives take the focus away from weights and cardio machines. The focus is now shifted towards peaceful, relaxing thoughts, while also improving your flexibility and balance.
It is important to work your mind as well as your body, as a stronger mind will push you to new and greater heights!
Another challenge you may face at the intermediate fitness level is staying motivated about being active on a daily basis. Incorporating “fit thinking” into your life can help you get and stay excited about your healthy lifestyle.
Setting a goal, for example...'to bench press 5 more pounds by the end of next month", takes you from wishing and dreaming to taking real action toward a specific, reasonable target. The deadline will challenge you to get the most out of your physical activity program. When you reach your goal - and you will - set a new, specific goal to take you to the next level.
Record your reasons
Write down a list of all the reasons you are sticking to a “healthy living” plan along with your specific goals and the time-frame you want to achieve them in. Post it in a place you’re likely to see it every day – for example, the refrigerator door - and read it whenever you can. You’ll be reminded of all the reasons why you love being physically active and why you want to continue with your activity plan.
Keep a journal
Track your daily activity including all the exercises, tools (i.e., free weights), sets and repetitions you perform. When you see on one page how much progress you’ve been making – and how fast your body is improving – you’ll be inspired to keep going. You’ll see and feel results in your journal before you see them in the mirror.
Check out health and fitness magazines, books and websites that contain information about your favourite activities. Grab a few fitness magazines from the newsstand, then get a subscription to your favourites. Reading about fitness will keep you up on the latest techniques and remind you of the benefits of daily activity.
Don’t be a loner
Working out alongside a friend - especially another intermediate exerciser - will improve your attitude and help you stick to your program. Having another person to share all the trials and triumphs of exercise can be motivating and fun.
You and your fitness buddy will begin to rely on each other for moral support and accountability. If you do have to work out alone, don’t be afraid to ask someone (trainer, another person working out) to help you out if you need it.
Another great motivator
If you have to work out alone or even with someone else listen to music. Just think of how you feel when a great song comes on the radio. It pumps you up and picks up your energy level. Try picking music that is appropriate for the workout you are doing. For example: play more melodic, slower music for stretching, yoga or any other activity that is of a slower pace. For intense, physically demanding workouts, play music that picks up your energy level (i.e. music with a fast tempo).