I exercise a lot. A LOT. It’s my job to teach aerobics and train about 6 hours a day. I love it…95% of the time. I know that there are people that despise exercise and I doubt that those people will ever read this “healthy living” blog, but I also know that even gym rats have days when the couch is much more inviting than the treadmill. I am different from an average person since it is my job to be at the gym, but some days I struggle to push myself to the max. I could easily walk around the room and yell drills to my members on days that I am feeling off, but that’s unheard of for me. If I’m dressed in my signature gym attire (Nike shorts, cap, and Brooks shoes) then I’m going to be giving the class 100% effort. In no particular order, here are my top motivators to either start a workout or push myself through a tough move….
1) Take a group exercise class and secretly compete against the other participants. I love it when members young than me take my classes and I “beat” them. This secret competition can be in lifting more weights or cardio endurance.
2) Chant mantras….my personal favorite is “you never regret a workout”.
3) Play mind games with yourself. Promise yourself that you will run for 20 minutes and return home if you are miserable….that never happens once you get started. Also, try to think of something fun you’ll do after a sweat session. If I know I am having brunch with friends or a shopping trip with my husband post-gym I am more likely to hurry up and get the work done.
4) Save your favorite book or TV show for your cardio session. Of course, this means you have to have access to watch/read when you are working out. I rarely get to watch my favorite shows (Bachelor, Biggest Loser) at night, so I watch them early the next morning via my iPad on the treadmill. There have been plenty of day when those shows are only reason I want to get on that machine at 4:30am.
5) Switch it up!! Whether this is music, routines, locations, etc. Changes in your routine keep you engaged, prevent burn out, prevent repetition/over use injuries, and challenge your body. Oh, perfect time for another mantra….a challenged body is a changing body!
6) Look at past picture of yourself. These pics can be hideous (heavy weight) or amazing (a current goal weight). I have both types. I know what I look like with and sans a strict diet/exercise routine. If my abs are starting to “disappear” looking at past pictures when i “had” abs always gets me back on track. Do not look at picture of other people! Your body will never look just like theirs. You want to know why?! You aren’t them!! Your body’s composition will respond to diet/exercise changes completely different than someone else.
7) Buy an amazing pair of jeans (or whatever) that fit you perfectly. The moment you slip off your routine you will notice it in those jeans and you will want to change your body to that previous form. This may be extreme for some, but it works for me. If I’ve spent several hundreds of dollars on jeans and they start to get tight you better bet I’m reevaluating my routine and doing some extra squats and miles.
8) Have a goal/plan. If you are just working out to work out then you aren’t going to be pushing you body to its max and that means you are cheating yourself out of great fitness and health. I try to always have a vacation (bikini!) or adventure race (PR) on the horizon.
9) Appreciate your health. Even if you aren’t in the mood to go full out at the gym or on a run try to do some form of activity simply because you can! Reflecting on past injuries and the longing I felt to run during those days/weeks will get me out the door on tough days.
10) Get a hyper dog! Ha! Again, not realistic for some people, but my dog’s energy requires me to get active with him. He will drive me crazy at night if he has not been exercised during the day. Our runs are truly the highlight of his life and a fun bonding time for us.
So, in typical blogger fashion I’ll pose a question for my invisible reader(s). How do you motivate yourself to exercise?