By Lillian Abdalla, certified personal trainer 

For some, exercise is therapeutic, but for others, it is a battle.

We all know that regular exercise is vital for keeping both our physical and mental health in great shape. Even though it is tough to fit in the time to work out when you already have so many other things to do, it’s possible.

Stay constant with exercise by considering it a lifestyle change.

Have fun when you are being physically active, set a goal and stick with it. Above all, be patient with yourself and your results.

Here are five keys to make working out a lifestyle change.

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha

Lillian Abdalla

Consider it a lifestyle change

If you are starting your fitness journey, consider it a lifestyle change. Don’t look at it as a diet or as something you’re doing in order to achieve a certain look during vacation. Good results come from consistency and being dedicated to your fitness goal.

In order meet your goals, you must look at being active as something that is a part of your life at least three times per week. The gym is not the only place to work out. Find a physical activity you like and participate in it a few times each week. Whether it be Zumba, swimming, team sports, salsa dancing or power lifting, it can be whatever gets your body moving.

When I first began to consistently work out, I hit my workout goals and decided to “take a break” from exercise. I bet you know what happened next. I gained back the weight I lost.

Once I started going to the gym again, I was super sore all over again, and I had to work even harder to get back the stamina I once had.

If you are just starting out or have been exercising consistency, here’s a word of advice: Don’t stop. It’s not worth the pain to restart.

Figure out your ‘WHY’

Ask yourself why you have decided to make this lifestyle change. What is your specific motivation? Is it to just lose some weight? If that’s the reason, is that reason going to keep you driven to meet your goals?

Maybe you want to get in better shape so you can chase your children around. Maybe your reason is because you want to add a healthy habit to your daily routine.

Whatever the reason is, make sure it is compelling enough to motivate you.

Have fun

Enjoy what you are doing. Don’t go to the gym and do things you don’t like to do. I will always encourage strength training and cardio, but find ways to do it in a way that is enjoyable. If you hate running on the treadmill, then go for a run outside. If you hate the Stairmaster, then try a HIIT work out.

I make my workouts fun by wearing a cute gym outfit, taking my favorite pre-workout, and listening to my beloved rap playlist.

Figure out how you can make exercise more enjoyable. Go outside and exercise if you want a change in scenery. Join a team sport to keep you moving. Will music hype you up to smash your workout? Does the idea of hitting the sauna afterwards get ya giddy? Whatever it is, enjoy it because you’re in it for the long haul.

Set a goal and stick to it

Setting a personal goal and sticking with it can be tough. The only person who’s accountable is you, and the only person you would be failing is you. We have all struggled to stick with our goals, but now is the time to get real.

My fitness goal was to have abs. I had that goal for three years until I finally got real with myself about why I had not achieved the dinosaur of a goal. The game changer was when I decided to take my nutrition more seriously.

We all have it in us to make goals or to dream of the things we want, but not all of us go for glory. Dig deep within yourself, set your fitness goals, and create the plan to get to that goal.

Be patient

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you are not going to build your dream body in a week, or a month.

You might see some small progression toward your goals, but it will mostly be slow. Be patient and just enjoy the ride. Enjoy the journey toward your gains. You might want to lose fat and build a better booty. Well, get comfy because gains take time.

When we decide to keep our bodies in good shape, that is literally self-love. When we choose to make time in our busy schedules to workout, that means we care about our mental and physical health.

Share this post with someone who struggles with staying active.