I don’t know if working out ever gets easier. I don’t think there will ever come a day that I won’t have to force myself to do it, but I can tell you this, it does become routine.
I am not naturally athletic. I am the type of girl who got her endorphins from cheeseburgers, not cardio (that is totally past tense, by the way).
Wow. that was overwhelmingly motivational…
I had to say all that so that you would understand that even girls like me can do it. The girl who would take an elevator or an escalator every time. The girl who would end up watching some infommercial because I was too lazy to get up and find the remote. The girl who just opened her front door and let her dog run free to go to the bathroom (in a city with a leash law!) because she was too lazy to take the dog for a walk. Okay, I know, that last one is really bad.
What does that girl do now? Takes the stairs every time. TV? Who has time for TV? don’t you people know there is a whole world outside of your house? Goes on a daily run with her dog, and the dog has a hard time keeping up.
So everyone wants to know how to make it routine. Everyone wants to know how to love exercise. I wish I had an overwhelmingly motivational tag line to give you, but the truth is, you really do just have to force yourself to do it. Inactivity is incredibly bad for your body. Your diet is the key to weight-loss, but activity is the key to overall health. So not only do you need to work out, you also need to stay active in the rest of your awake hours. Don’t sit on your tail all day, work-out for half an hour, and then go to Starbucks and “reward” yourself with some awful baked good. You’re really not going to see many results that way. Minimal effort=minimal results.
Exercise did not become routine for me until I forced myself to workout six days a week for about 3 months. Now if I don’t work out, I lay in bed at night with incredible guilt, and guess what? I get out of bed, pop in a Jillian Michaels DVD and sweat. Then and only then, can I sleep.
So maybe you’re like me and you’re not particularly fond of exercise. The bottom line is, you have to make yourself do it. Getting started is literally the hardest step, but guess what? It gets better. You have to work out to have more energy to work out. Lucky for you, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve. Here are a few things that worked for me:
1. Do it the same time every day. Find a time that works for you every single day. Even on the weekends, because we all know routine flies out of the window on the weekends. Why do it at the same time everyday? Because if you have a regularly scheduled session, and you miss that session, you will start to feel guilty and are more likely to do it later in the day. If you have no schedule, there will be no guilt associated with interrupting your routine. Also, the earlier in the day you work out, the better. When I was in college, I had a professor who told me to get my practicing done in the morning (I did mention I’m a musician, right?). His reasoning was that the later in the day, the more interruptions you would run in to. Social outings tend to occur after noon, so be prepared for unexpected plans. Let’s be honest, we would all rather hang out with a friend, than exercise.
2. Work out Clothes. This is a cheap shot, nothing but a mind game. I love my work out clothes and I like to wear them. The more time I spend in them, the more likely I am to actually use them. It’s as simple as that. Fun fact: My dogs get really excited when I put on my running shoes, they associate them with their favorite time of day: our run.
3. Keep your work out varied. I get very bored, very easily. Boredom really throws me off track, so when my motivation is suffering, I buy a new fitness DVD. When I spend the time to research a DVD and find one that I’m sure I will love, I get really excited. When I’m really excited, I am really motivated. You don’t have to go out and buy something, you can try a new sport, run a different route, ask a friend to work out with you.
Take a challenge! these are fun and get you excited about your body changing. Like this one: 30 Day Challenge. A new work out gets me going every time. Your body can also get bored. Stuck in a rut? Has the scale stopped moving? Try something new! It will refresh you both mentally and physically.
4. Read a fitness blog! This may be a shameless plug, but seeing people who are successful, empowers you! It makes you believe you can do it too, and guess what? you can. I used to go to Pinterest and just surf through the fitness category. Every time, without fail, I would be ready to do work. A community of people who have the same goals, the same struggles, who need the same motivation, is excellent for your morale and your work ethic.
5. Let your fitness time, be your time. I like to be alone. I really like to be alone. When I’m running or sweating it out to a JM DVD, my phone is off, my computer is shut down, and I am alone. I invited my parents to go on a walk with me once, and well, I wish I hadn’t. That sounds awful, I know, but my parents stress me out, and stress does not make for a good work out. I encourage my parents to be active and they are very resistant to my advances. So I will endure the stress if they agree to be active, but I make sure that I have an additional “me time” work out. So I may be an introvert, but the important thing is to know yourself and know what works for you. Know your triggers, know your bad habits. In college I would never sign up for a class on the west side of campus, because I knew I would be too lazy to walk over there and would most likely skip the class often. That’s pretty bad, but I knew myself and did what worked for me. You may be completely opposite, being around people may motivate you and that’s great. Do what works for you.
Really want to make the most of your “me time”? Try yoga, the rewards are incredible for your body and mind.
It takes a lot of self control and a burning desire to be healthy, but it is absolutely possible for everyone.
Health and Happiness,