I absolutely love fitness apps that offer workout programs you can do from home. In fact, I’ve become a bit of an app addict!
Because of fitness apps, I was able to get into the best shape of my life, without needing to set foot in a gym.
I find that a lot of people get hung up on which fitness app they should try. I’ve tried a number of them over the past couple years and you know what? Most of them are pretty darn good.
And although I do have my favorites, there’s something I’ve learned that’s more important than the fitness app.
It’s your mindset and attitude towards exercise.
Because no matter how great the fitness program is, you need to do the work. I have encountered a lot of people who said a program didn’t really work for them, but more often it’s because they gave up shortly after starting.
So in order to get results with any fitness program or app, you need to actually make it through the program. But when your life is busy and motivation is questionable, you might be wondering exactly how to stick to a fitness plan long enough to see results.
Here are the strategies I use to keep going when the going gets tough… (and sweaty!)
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Write out your goals before you begin the program
Before you even tug on your trainers or roll out your exercise mat, take a minute to get real with yourself about why you want to do this. Be specific about what you hope to get out of the app or program. Don’t just talk about the number on the scale either.
What will succeeding with the program mean for you?
Do you want to feel more comfortable in your clothes? Have more energy? Feel more confident? What will that achievement feel like?
Looking ahead to your success will help you stay grounded. It gives you a reason to keep going when workouts get tough and you feel like throwing in the towel.
Don’t be afraid to change the schedule if you need to
Most fitness programs come with a preplanned schedule, but I always look at these as more of a guideline than something that’s set in stone. Sure, it’d be great if you could follow it to a T.
But let’s be realistic, you have a life.
Now, that’s not to say you have an excuse not to make time for exercise. But if you hate working out on Mondays, don’t work out on Mondays. (I don’t!)
And if you miss a workout, that doesn’t mean you need to start over. Just keep going.
If you miss a couple of workouts, that doesn’t mean you immediately lost all the progress you made. Redo the week and keep going!
Modify the moves when you need to
Many fitness apps will offer modifications for various exercises, but not always. That doesn’t mean you can’t modify the moves! You can look up online modifications for any exercise you’re struggling with.
For example, one move I really struggled with is the spider plank with a pushup (or “spiderman pushups”. I’ve seen a few different names for this move.)
It’s a tough one, my friend. And the program called for 30 of these bad boys in a row. I could do about 3 with half-decent form and then I physically couldn’t do a 4th rep.
The program offers no modifications for this particular move, so I just looked it up online and quickly found an alternative to do when I get too fatigued to do the full version.
So I’ll say it again. It’s okay to modify. It doesn’t mean you’re failing. It’s the opposite. Modifying allows you to keep going and build strength.
Focus on form over reps
This was one I struggled with for a long time when I was first running through the Bodyboss Method. (An excellent program, and one I keep coming back to over and over again!) If you’re not familiar, Bodyboss workouts consist of three, 7-8 minute circuits in which you’re supposed to complete a certain number of reps for each exercise within that time frame.
The struggle that I (and many people) had is that it is incredibly challenging to get in all the reps before the timer is up.
I used to go over time to get all my reps in, but according to professionals, HIIT sessions should be kept short.
So when I can’t keep up, I simply decrease the number of reps I do, focus on form, and keep my workout duration the same.
Join the community (if there is one)
Don’t underestimate the value of community support! It’s so much easier to keep going when you can talk about your struggles and victories with other people who are using the same fitness app, who can share their own tips on how to stick to a fitness plan.
Most (though not all) fitness programs will have some kind of Facebook community. Just do a quick search and you should be able to find a group to join fairly easily.
Fitness app junkie that I am, I have been a member of several of these groups and I have yet to find one that wasn’t teeming with supportive people who cheer each other and offer encouragement to those who are struggling. Community is a beautiful thing!
Track your progress
Most good fitness apps do provide tools for tracking your progress, but even if the one you’re using doesn’t, you can easily DIY with a simple spreadsheet.
Yes, keep track of your weight, but make sure you are tracking non-scale specific metrics too. For example:
- Taking your arm, leg, waist, and hip measurements every month
- Taking progress photos each month
- Tracking calories burned (I love FitBit or the Apple Watch for this)
- Tracking macronutrients (I use Cronometer for this)
These other metrics are important because the number on the scale doesn’t give you the complete story.
Many people starting out on their fitness journeys get discouraged because they don’t see a weight change in the beginning, not realizing that muscle is denser than fat.
This means that, if you are replacing fat with muscle, you may not see a big change in weight – yet if you get out the measuring tape you will see you’ve lost inches!
The progress photos are also fantastic because as they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words. (I didn’t take a proper before photo and I wish I had!)
Tracking each milestone in your fitness journey will help keep you motivated to continue.
Bottom Line: Keep going and don’t give up
Knowing how to stick to a fitness plan starts with your mindset. You won’t be perfect, and you don’t need to be.
But you do need to do your best.
It may be someone else’s fitness program, but they’re your workouts. So many people get caught up in trying to do everything exactly to the letter, and honestly, its a recipe for discouragement.
It’s not the end of the world if you change the schedule, miss the odd workout, modify moves, or do fewer reps. The Fitness App Police will not descend upon you and haul you off to the isle of app rule-breakers. You will still be making progress towards your fitness goals.
As long as you are showing up and sweating on a regular basis, you are going to make progress.
If you need more help with motivation, check out my Ultimate Guide to Fitness Motivation for more tips and ideas!