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Break out of your exercise rut

Three personal trainers share their tips for getting back on the exercise bandwagon

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Admit it – your gym membership card is collecting dust and you’ve long abandoned your resolution to get fit by swimsuit season. The excuses come easy: work, family, your favourite TV show. Climb out of your rut with these tips from three personal trainers.

Excuses-be-gone
If it’s been a while since you’ve done any regular exercise, the best way to get back into it is to just start moving, says the Edmonton-based personal trainer Shara Vigeant. “Get more active with small changes: walking more, taking the stairs, parking farther away, gardening, biking, rollerblading, cleaning – small changes in everyday activity can result in big changes.” Sitting on a stability ball at your desk is another small change that’ll motivate regular exercise, suggests the Halifax-based personal trainer Cia Tweel. “Take a break from your busy-ness every 30 minutes or so to move your body. It’ll help you get in the habit,” she says.

The fit date
Find a fitness buddy – or a “fit date” – to support and motivate yourself, whether she’s a friend, sister or co-worker, says Deb Leblanc, a personal trainer in Salt Spring Island, B.C. “Let’s face it, working out is hard,” she says. “When you’re struggling to reestablish a fitness routine, going it alone makes it far too easy to cancel on yourself.” Sign up for a class at your gym or commit to regular jogs– and hold each other accountable for missing a date. “Your buddy will drag your little butt out of the house, and vice versa,” says Leblanc.

Seek extra help
If your friends are too easy on you, consider hiring a personal trainer, even if it’s just for a session or two every couple of weeks. Making a regular commitment to a professional trainer will help you get back into a routine, and the trainer will help you find time to work out despite a busy schedule, while pushing your fitness limits and providing encouragement. “Many of my clients see me two or three times a week for a butt-kicking session, and then I assign them homework to do on their own,” says Vigeant. Another way to afford a personal trainer on a budget is to sign up with a buddy and split the cost, suggests Leblanc.

Equip your home
All you need to get a great workout at home is a stability ball, dumbbells and some resistance tubing, says Vigeant. No commuting to the gym, and no excuses. “If you have time to watch TV, you have time to add fitness into your life.” Use Chatelaine.com’s At-home exercise guide to create a workout that you can do from the comfort of your living room.

Just do it
Visualize a time when you were happy with your fitness level – what did you look like, how did you feel? How do you feel now? Now visualize yourself in the future if you stay on your current track, suggests Tweel. Do you like what you see? If not, it’s never too late to take better care of yourself and commit to a regular fitness routine. Maybe even in time for that two-piece.