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By: Jerrod Tarman, Senior Fitness Specialist 

Finding exercises that keep you engaged and fit your schedule is key when it comes to sticking with your workout plan.

Chances are you know someone who is a “no pain, no-gain,” “blood, sweat, and tears,” and “leave it all at the gym” type of fitness enthusiast. Maybe you are that person. And maybe you’re not. Truth is, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is knowing what kind of workouts you do like. Having an exercise plan that incorporates your abilities, schedule and interests will not only make you more likely to work out, but will also make exercising more enjoyable.

 #1: Work with your schedule

People who come to me looking for help building an exercise plan are usually surprised when I don’t build a plan that has them in the gym for an hour, 5 times a week. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. How you divvy up those minutes is up to you. Does your schedule have time for 2 or 3 longer workouts? Or would 10-minute bursts slipped in a few times every day be easier for you to accomplish? Devoting time to work out is important, but you don’t have to sacrifice your entire schedule.

#2: Be realistic about your starting point

If you're brand new to exercise or coming back after a long break, the last thing you want to do is jump right into an advanced program. I’ve seen a lot of people do this and, more often than not, it leaves them feeling discouraged, burned out, and sometimes even injured. Don’t be afraid to start slow! Walking or doing pushups on your knees are great ways to start building your strength and endurance while simultaneously mastering good form. Over time, you’ll be able to gradually ease into the more advanced workout programs.

#3: Figure out what you like

Anything that increases your resting heartrate is considered exercise. You have 150 minutes a week to do this. Rather than making it a torture session, fill the time with activities you like. Exercise is meant to be enjoyed, to relieve stress, and to strengthen the body. I suggest trying out a variety of activities to see what you like. Try a few different group fitness classes at the gym, join a sports league, walk with a friend – the list is endless.

I challenge you to change your mindset from dreading exercise to looking forward to it. Find something that gets your heart going and puts a smile on your face.