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6. Use the buddy system. When your inner demons are ordering you to the couch instead of the treadmill, a workout partner can steer you back in the right direction. It's easier to bail out on the gym than on the friend who's waiting for you there. Studies show you'll also work out longer when you have a friend along.

7. Exercise on your time. Health experts say you need at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, plus weight training at least twice a week, but try telling that to your crazy schedule. It's a lot harder to make excuses when your workout is convenient. If you work too late to get to a gym, keep a set of weights at home. If you can't do 30 minutes at once, break exercise sessions up into 10- or 15-minute bursts.

8. Get addicted to exercise. Your workout should be just as much a habit as brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. When you make it part of your routine, you won't even have to think about it. It may take a few months, but exercise can be a regular feature in your daily schedule.

9. Don't play the blame game. So what if you missed a week at the gym and polished off a couple of ice cream pints over the weekend? That was the past. You have a chance to atone by getting back into your routine today.

10. Set realistic goals. You're not going to skim off 10 pounds in a week, so just forget about it. Aim for something that’s easier to achieve. Increase your workout schedule from 2 to 3 days a week, or exercise for 15 more minutes each time.

11. Log on. Keep a fitness journal or use an app to track your progress -- for example, how much you run, walk, or lift and the calories you burn.

12. Pat yourself on the back. You're not going to have a new body overnight. It takes weeks -- even months -- to see real changes. Even a pound of weight loss or a pound of muscle gain is reason to celebrate. Reward yourself for what you've achieved. Celebrate with friends, or spring for a new pair of jeans.

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