Let the London Olympics inspire your inner champion

With the London Olympics well under way, let the athletes inspire you to do more than just cheer. Get up off the couch and improve your fitness level.
Although the vast majority of us will never come close to being Olympic-caliber athletes, we can all make improvements to our fitness levels and feel better about ourselves.
Here are five tips to get you moving in the right direction and discover your inner champion:
1. Log your training – If you write down your workout activity it will serve several purposes. You’ll be able to chart your progress and you’ll feel good looking back at your results. You can also make notes on what workouts you liked or didn’t. It should also serve as a motivator because you’ll feel like a slacker if several days go by without working out and your notebook is bare. Age has no limit for logging activity – my grandma is 92 and charts how long she walks each day.
2. Set short- and long-term goals – Depending on your fitness level, these goals will be extremely different. If you’ve put off fitness for a while, then set short-term goals of just making positive strides each day. It could be to take a brisk walk, ride a bike, or do a light weight workout.
If your fitness level is good but motivation is a problem, setting goals can help. Pick a target weight you want to achieve, try to up the amount of weight you’re lifting or maybe try to ride farther on your area bike trail.
3. Seek variety – Change up your workouts to avoid getting burned out and keep things interesting. It is also healthier if you don’t always work out the muscles the same way. If you use free weights a lot, on occasion try kettle bells. Try to mix in a form of cardio you don’t usually do, such as swimming or biking.
4. Schedule time to work out – This tip seems simple, but many people don’t free up enough time for fitness and then use it as an excuse that they’re too busy. If you say you’re too busy to work out then you’re definitely too busy to get sick. Sure, there are going to be some days when it really is impossible to get a workout in, but if it’s a big enough priority you’ll do it. Cut out a few video games, or watching a reality TV show and get on the treadmill or elliptical instead. Or you could set up a TV in front of the treadmill.
5. Find a workout partner – This can be one of the toughest things to do, but if you can find a reliable workout partner it can be one of the biggest pluses possible. You can push and learn from each other and it can just flat out make working out more enjoyable. If you’re married, find some activities you can do together. The biggest key to having a workout partner is that it will be important to someone else that you get your workouts in, too. Don’t leave your buddy hanging.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com