Fitness Tips: 4 Ways to Overcome an Obstacle
Even the most dedicated workout warriors can fall off the wagon from time to time—especially when there's a make-or-break moment on the job or an unexpected crisis at home. Here's how to keep your body a top priority, no matter which of these fitness-derailing transitions life throws your way.
InjuryA pulled hamstring or torn rotator cuff can send you to the couch for weeks—even months.
Set a goal. First, ask your doctor how long you'll be sidelined.
To avoid workout withdrawal, find out what else you can do to stay in shape and set a doable goal to achieve by the time you're all healed up. Let's say swimming gets a green light. Aim to swim the equivalent of half a mile (that's about 32 lengths of a 25-meter pool). "A goal helps you let go of your immediate disappointment and look beyond the injury," says Edmund Acevedo, Ph.D., chairman of the health and human performance department at Virginia Commonwealth University.
PromotionMoving up to a better position has certain perks, but spare time is usually not one of them.
Identify the workplace athlete. "You're more likely to maintain a fitness routine if the responsibility doesn't rest entirely on you," says Edward Etzel, Ed.D., a sport psychologist at West Virginia University. Approach the lunch-hour runner or the after-work gym fiend and find out how she makes it work. Does she keep gym clothes in her desk? Does she do short-but-intense workouts so she's finished in an hour? Adopt aspects of her routine and you'll soon have one of your own.
New BabyYeah, the bambino is a blessing, but the extra pounds can feel more like a curse.
Add gym time to your to-do list. Even if it's nowhere near the grand scale of your pre-baby regimen, check with your doctor and then make some form of exercise part of your regular schedule, alongside feedings and naps. Make yourself the priority a couple times a week. But this may be the one time you can cut yourself a little workout slack. "Women can become obsessed with dropping the baby weight and get frustrated if it doesn't happen right away," says celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson, who got Jennifer Lopez back into shape after the birth of her twins. "All that does is add stress, and we all know that doesn't help you get the body you want." And yes, until you're ready to do more, walking around the house toting a 10-pound bundle of cuteness counts.
Big MoveBetween hunting for new digs and packing up your life, your running shoes may get buried in the boxes.
Scope out your fitness options before you pack the moving van. If you join the local gym or ID new running routes prior to your move, you'll have a workout at the ready once your stuff is unpacked. "You'll create a subconscious commitment to exercise regardless of geography," says Chris Carr, Ph.D., a sport and performance psychologist at St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis.
To find running routes in your new neighborhood, go to usatf.org/routes, and to search for a fitness center in your new zip code, check out gymfinder.MensHealth.com.