Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How to get motivated to Exercise!

Kelly Coffey-Meyer teaching an amazingly fun BoxFit class
(I went to her class in July -- I'm more to the back in on the left -- can't see me)

There was a period of time in my life (many years, actually) that I absolutely hated to exercise.  Then somehow I became this person who LOVED my workouts.  It became the best way to start my day. My days were not the same without my beloved workout.  So just how did I get from the sluggish & demotivated to energetic and excited about fitness?  I'd say with a great big PUSH on my part after getting a desire to have a healthy body. And by a healthy body, I don't mean weight loss.  Even though weight loss was always what made me THINK I should exercise, it was never enough to get me to actually move.  It wasn't until I seriously lacked energy while pregnant with my second baby that I started researching (the old way, in magazines and books) how to get energy.  The answer was always by doing cardiovascular exercise. Oh great.  But I did and it worked.  I joined a YMCA, took step classes and swap laps and loved it!  It turned my energy around!

A few years passed and I had extreme (well, extreme for me) lower back pains after my 3rd and 4th babies. I read some more and found that abdominal strength (they didn't call it core strength back then) would help alleviate back pain.  I was hoping they'd tell me to get a massage!  I hated ab work.  But I bought myself a Denise Austin video (Hit the Spot Abs -- yay!) and it worked.  Wow!  I  eventually branched out in all sorts of fitness arenas, but it took a spark to get me moving.

Was I able to keep that spark going?  Not always, but I came up with tricks along the way.  Here are a few of them:
  • Have a journal handy.  You don't have to write down your workouts (although that could be fun). You just need to write in it if you don't feel like exercising.  And you don't get to just write any old thing.  You have to write your excuse for not exercising. I did this several times and every time I wrote, I saw how lame my excuse was and got up and did my workout.  Nice!
  • Plan your workout the night before.  Know what time you're getting up, when you're going to work out, and exactly what you're going to do.  That last part may sound strange if you're a runner and you always run, but if you have as many workout dvds as I do and haven't been sticking to a planned rotation, it's helpful to plan it out before so your brain is ready and you know the room is clean that you need to be in, the equipment is nearby, etc.  Make it as easy as possible to get up and do.
  • Set out your workout clothes the night before -- even down to the shoes and socks.  Don't give yourself one more thing to look for or do that may distract you or take up too much time on the day of.  You can even fill up your water bottles and have them ready.
  • Before your workout, do NOT, I repeat do NOT turn on that cell phone or computer.  It will distract you like crazy and you may never get to your workout.  Pretend like it's the days of taking the phone off the hook to NOT be distracted and don't turn it on in the first place.
  • Tell your kids, hubby, or whomever that you will be unavailable to them during that time and give them the parameters of what it means to not disturb you.  (One of my sons thinks he can ask me questions while I'm trying to not kill myself with heavy weights or while flying over the step.  He needs some extra reminders). I used to put up baby gates when my kids were little so they couldn't come in if they woke up before I was finished. If you can, workout before any of them are even awake.  It's nice to have that solitary experience if you can.
  • Get to bed early enough that you will wake up refreshed!  A successful morning almost always begins with a night of getting to bed on time.  The number of hours of sleep you need may not always be 7 or 8.  I know if I wake up feeling refreshed after 6 or so, I'm better off to get up then rather than to go back to sleep and wake up like a zombie because I've had all these stressful crazy dreams.  Listen to your body and see how it feels best (and if you're eating healthy foods, you likely won't need as much sleep as before either).
  • Have a friend who you know you'll report your workout to when you finish.  It can be to a group of people on a Facebook check-in, you mom, a friend that you text . . . whomever! Just knowing that someone is waiting to hear that you did it can give you the accountability that you need.  (And you can have fun knowing that you motivated them, too!)
  • If you are able to meet up with a friend to workout together, even better!  It's much harder to wimp out on a workout when you have to be somewhere at a specific time and you know your friend is counting on you. 
One of my favorite things a fitness instructor has ever said in a workout is this:

         "Don't quit because it's hard. Keep going because it's hard." 

This was Kelly Coffey-Meyer in one of her recent 30 Minutes to Fitness workouts.  I loved that advice because we often stop doing something that's good for us because it's hard when the fact that it's hard is actually what is challenging our bodies enough to the point of it being beneficial.  So if it's a challenge for you to make time in your day for a workout or you lack the desire because you know it's going to be tough, just buckle up and push through it until it's not so terribly tough anymore.  You'll be glad you did!  I know I am. TTFN!

Me gushing with excitement with Kelly, Lori and Marcus (Lori & Marcus are in her workouts, too)

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