Do you have love/hate relationship with exercise?
by Angie Miller
Here’s 10 Tips to Get You Motivated
If I challenged you to list five things you love about exercise and five things you hate, which would struggle with more?
In my past life, my younger years you could say, I had a plethora of things I didn’t like about exercise, but in my life today you’d be hard pressed to keep me away from my workouts. I depend on them for my sanity, self-preservation, sense of routine, and mostly because they provide me much needed mental space, (it’s the broomstick to the brain analogy I like to use, because exercise always clears my head). That said, there are many people out there who dread exercise as much as a root canal, who struggle to find a type of exercise they enjoy let alone one that will become part of their daily routine. If you’re one of those people, statistically you’re in the majority not the minority.
So how do we master motivation? How do we find that internal spark that gets us out of bed in the morning and into a pair of tennis shoes? I’m glad you asked, because I don’t think it’s as complicated as it seems.
Ten Tips to Get You Motivated:
- Make it something you enjoy! The bottom line is that motivation comes naturally when we enjoy something. The key is to find something you enjoy, even if it means thinking outside of the box. Exercise is any form of structured movement, and structured movement could be as simple as walking through your neighborhood after work, or it could be structured activity that is broken in smaller increments for those who are time pressed. An example would be: 10 minutes of your favorite cardio DVD to get you energized before work, 10 minutes of a strength training DVD in the afternoon to get you pumped up for your evening activities, and 10 minutes of yoga before you go to bed. Anything that gets your body moving will boost your metabolism. You can’t go wrong.
- Options are not an option! Variety is key when it comes to exercise. If you do the same thing day after day eventually you suffer burn out and you don’t see results. Worse yet, you go through the motions and that’s anything but exciting. Change up your workouts to keep your body guessing and your mind active.
- Timing is key! There’s no right time to work out, just the time that’s right for you. That said, you have to find that magic time that fits into your schedule. Once you do, write out your game plan for the week, or month if possible, and stick to it. If you try to “fit in exercise,” chances are it won’t happen, but if you schedule it, it’s a pretty sure bet that it will become part of your routine. We all thrive off of routine.
- It has to be convenient. Chances are, if the gym is 30 minutes away it doesn’t matter if your favorite instructor is there, or your best friend works out there, it’s not convenient and our lives are too busy and demanding to expect that we will sacrifice time, energy, and cost of travel. Set up your living room or bedroom for your workouts, or find a gym nearby.
- Value is vital. If exercise is going to become an integral part of your life, it has to hold personal value. In other words, you have to believe it’s worth it and that you’re worth the time it takes. There are few situations where I will allow something to disrupt my exercise routine because exercise is my lifeline. I’ve lost too many people in my life to preventable disease and I know all too well that exercise is my most powerful defense. That beats burly biceps any day.
- Ask a friend to join you. We’re social creatures, and we enjoy things that we can do and share with others. Friends are also great at keeping us accountable and giving us that extra push. Whether you share a workout in your basement, or at the gym, it’s not only an activity to get you both healthy; it’s an excuse to spend time together.
- Tackle your goals. Before you begin, start by setting one or two SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented. Example: I want to perform 30 minutes of light resistance training three days per week, at a moderate intensity. The more specific the goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. No goal is too small, but big, overwhelming goals can be discouraging.
- Invest in good workout wear. A new pair of supportive shoes and a cute outfit or two is not only motivating; it’s worth it. If we’re comfortable and we feel good about what we’re wearing, we’re more likely to want to look forward to exercise.
- Own your barriers. Know what gets in your way… work, time, fatigue, etc. Write out your barriers, those things that pull you away and challenge your motivation. Then write out ways you will overcome those barriers. We all have barriers, but if we plan ahead and strategize how we’re going to deal with them, that’s more than half the battle.
- Never let someone make you feel guilty. I’ve been told countless times, “I wish I had time to workout.” This is generally a statement by someone who doesn’t value exercise; therefore they don’t make the time. We all have the same number of hours in a day and if we value something we make time for it, bottom line. You don’t need to feel guilty for taking care of yourself, so you can better care for others. Kudos, for striving to be your best.
Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com