With the cold weather on its way it's getting easier to make excuses to stay in bed instead of getting up for that morning run, walk or yoga session. Kat Stanley from RedefinedU swears by these strategies, which are best remembered as the acronym BFAST to keep yourself on track:
B is for buddies
Surround yourself with a support network of family, friends or colleagues who are keen to get fit with you. Apps such as MyFitnessPal (free to download from the App Store) can be really useful for logging fitness and nutrition, and you can even keep tabs on your buddies' progress, too! A personal trainer or coach can direct your efforts efficiently with a specific training plan to get you started.
F is for fun
Find a type of exercise that tickles your fancy. If you have always wanted to try rock climbing or Zumba, book in a regular class. Join your kids for a spot of Pokemon Go, have a date at the ice skating rink or get down to the beach. Keep your routine from getting monotonous by trying out different activities that not only burn calories but make memories at the same time.
A is for achievable
The most effective way to keep your motivation up is to break down big goals (eg yearly) into realistic, smaller chunks (eg weekly). That way you'll have a visible, measurable and time-bound target. For grand goals like completing a marathon, your goal at the end of the first week may be to get up to running for 10 minutes non-stop. If you have a big transformation goal (like losing 20kg), aim to drop 0.5kg each week. Fast forward 10 months and 20kg will have gone!
S is for schedule
The more organised and prepared you are, the greater your chances of success. Set a phone reminder to go off each day and place your exercise gear by your bed the night before. Create a playlist of your favourite tunes and get that cranking in the car on the way to your exercise session. Use a wall calendar at home to plan your weekly activity and, when you have completed the plan, tick it off. You will definitely make progress if you do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week.
T is for treat (yourself well)
Staying in the game means rewarding commitment and not getting discouraged if things don't go to plan. Allow for some flexibility. Feeling exhausted? Walk instead of jog or try a short 15-minute core workout at home. This could be three rounds of a plank, a side plank (left and right), toe taps and supermans for a minute each. Sore muscles or feeling unwell? Get a massage or try a YouTube stretch session. When you have completed your planned exercise for the week or hit your goal weight for the month, book a facial or buy something that makes you feel good. Celebrate successes and you'll stick with it.