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Staying motivated is the first battle when starting a new exercise program. But don't let the bad days ruin the good days and follow these simple motivational tips!

Starting a healthy eating plan or workout program is the first hurdle you jump when looking to improve yourself but we have all been in that situation where you get home from work or see its raining and think oh well tomorrow will be okay. Or when your late home and the lure of a takeaway is calling instead of spending time preparing a healthy dinner is calling and you are trying hard not to give in. But you are not alone, we all face these problems and there are some simple ways to help make life a little easier to stay on track.

Nutrition based tips

Prepare your meals before hand

One of the simplest tips that I can give is to spend an hour or two on a Sunday evening preparing your meals for the next few days. Get yourself a good set of Tupperware that will keep your food air tight and will be okay in the freezer. All of your meals should have a protein and carbohydrate base so plan ahead for what you think you will want each day.

Instead of preparing sandwiches for lunch try simple options such as chicken salad or mince and pasta.

Cook all the food and put into boxes labeling what days etc you will have them. This will stop you popping out for takeaway or worrying about having to cook.

Set targets

Before you embark on a new food regime or healthy eating campaign set yourself some targets or goals that you want to stick to. A common goal is to think of calorie counting but often this can allow people to misinterpret the healthiness of some foods. Often foods that have low calories can be all fat which is obviously bad. Set yourself some goals for the amount of carbohydrate, fat and protein you can take in. There are many calculators online that can help.

Allow a cheat

No one is able to eat clean 24/7 when they are starting out. Body builders and elite athletes eat clean as part of their job but you need to think of your eating habits as a way to improve yourself.

It is not unreasonable to all you a cheat meal once a week.

Have one day a week when you are allowed to eat a meal that you really want or an evening. Such as Saturday night when you have a pizza and a movie night with friends or a loved one. Don't feel guilty, if you have eaten well and exercised all week you deserve a treat. But make sure your cheat is one meal or just an evening and doesn't turn into a whole day.

Exercise Based Tips

Design/select a program

Depending on the amount of experience you have you must design or download an exercise program before you start to workout. The biggest mistake people make is heading to the gym with no idea what they are going to do, therefore spending an hour in the gym not really doing very much and getting nowhere. Which in itself is demotivating. There are so many online programs available from various websites that will be tailored to your goals. Select one that you can do, there is no point picking a program with lots of complex movements you cannot complete as this will demotivate you as well. 

If there is exercises you cant do - research an alternative and build an individual program.

Set goals

Before embarking on a program you must set some goals so you know where you are heading. But they need to be realistic also otherwise you will fail and motivation will be gone. Unrealistic goals are ones such as lose 2 stone in a month or similar. Its about average to set a target of a pound or two a week at the start of the program. Set targets you can smash to start with to keep motivation up and then make sure to make them challenging so you have something to work to.

Get a gym buddy

The best way to stay motivated in the gym is to go with friends. The main reason is you are less likely to cancel if you have plans with a friend to go as you wont want to let them down. They can also help keep you motivated in the gym if you are working to the same program. Also, a great gym buddy is your partner - this is because it gets you off of the sofa and having fun working out together.

Join an exercise class

If you don't want to go with a friend sign up to a regular exercise class to meet people and keep you to a schedule.

Having a scheduled session means that you again are less likely to cancel and it keeps you more motivated during the session.

Many people cant afford a personal trainer to push them during a session but taking part in an exercise class such as a spin class really pushes you to work harder than you probably would alone.

The tips above are just the tip of the iceberg about keeping motivated but they are the most essential ways to try and promote a healthy body and keep on track.

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