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How can I get back into a workout routine?

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The question

I've been trying to make it to the gym, but my efforts keep failing. I feel lazy. What do you suggest I do to get back into the workout routine?

The answer

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Try evaluating your workout goals and making sure they are specific, realistic and sufficiently thought through.

As your question suggests, constantly feeling like you have failed at achieving your fitness goals can make you feel lazy and disheartened.

Realistic goal-setting will help you feel in charge of your fitness decisions. Achieving just one simple short-term fitness goal can have a domino effect that places you on a positive health track. Eventually, achieving those long-term will become easier.

I encourage my clients to use the SMART system of goal setting.

"S" stands for specific. For example, instead of saying, "I am going to work out," say "my goal is to be able to run 5 kilometres."

"M" stands for measurable. Decide how you will measure your success, and then chart your progress.

"A" stands for action-oriented. Create an action plan for how you will fit exercise into your busy schedule. For example, put exercise "appointments" into your work calendar.

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"R" stands for realistic. Choose realistic goals – don't set yourself up for failure.

"T" stands for timed. Set yourself a specific date that you would like to achieve your goal by. For example, sign up for a 5 km race that occurs at some future date.

Trainer's Tip

The next time you don't want to work out, try this: Tell yourself you have to work out for 10 minutes, but if after 10 minutes you are not enjoying the workout, you can stop. I often use this trick and it has never failed. Once I start my workout, I always feel better and continue. If at 10 minutes you decide to stop, at least you have done something. Some exercise is always better than no exercise.

Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at She will answer select questions, which could appear in the Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Kathleen Trotter

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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