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12 Tips to Help You Stick With Your Fitness Program

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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 30 minutes of exercise a day, 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 all 30 minutes at once, break exercise sessions up into 10- or 15-minute bursts.

8. Get addicted to exercise. Working out 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 part of your daily schedule.

9. Don't play the blame game. So what if you missed a week at the gym and wiped out an entire extra-cheese pizza 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. Try something more achievable. Increase your workout schedule from 2 to 3 days a week, or add 15 minutes to each workout.

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 burned.

12. Pat yourself on the back. You're not going to get ripped 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 splurge on a new pair of jeans.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on September 04, 2012
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