Over the past week – OK, the past couple of weeks – my workouts haven’t been all that great. Part of it is because I’ve been sick (again) and haven’t been getting enough rest. The other part of it? I haven’t been entirely motivated to workout. It seems like my guest blogger today – Amanda – read my mind.
Amanda is a trainer in Milwaukee who works with my cousin. My cousin raves about her and I was hoping to train with her the last time I was in Milwaukee. Her post definitely resonates with me and I hope that it does with you too. It’s nice to have friends to help motivate you.
The truth? Even though I’m a personal trainer with a full schedule of clients, I sometimes lack motivation to be active. Sure I’ve experienced the results and witnessed the same with other people. I’ve made it a part of my lifestyle. But there are still days (maybe even a week) that I don’t have the desire to exercise as a result of busyness, tiredness, laziness, etc. Do you want to know what I do to stay on track, stay moving forward, and get rid of excuses? Read on!
Make Exercise a Priority
This is number one! You can fit in anything if you plan for it. I have exercise written in my schedule. I get specific–4 mile run with hills, 15 mile bike ride, yoga class, strength training with the TRX, hike with my family. My aim is to be active everyday. Some days I only have 15 minutes to workout, so those workouts are intense and quick. Other days I have the time to go longer and I take advantage of it.
Always remember that something is better than nothing at all. For general health, consistency is more important that duration.
After I complete a planned workout I like to cross it off my calendar. But if you’re into stickers, I won’t judge.
Remember that Good Feeling
If there’s a day I’m considering nixing exercise in favor of completing more of my to-do list, I remind myself of how great I feel when I finish a workout. Those endorphins do a number on my brain and put me on top of the world. Tired muscles but an energized body are the most accomplished feeling I know.
Go to a Friend/Trainer/Class
This is the way to make a commitment to yourself and someone else. During biking season, my friend Amy and I meet up for a bike ride once a week. We both have kids in tow. We get to catch up while riding and the kids get to play at the requisite playground stop.
But you don’t have to meet up in person, there are tons of online communities to find running buddies, walking friends, or your exercise of choice.
Seeing a trainer or going to a class also provides a level of commitment. You’re less likely to skip out if someone is waiting for you. As an added bonus, you don’t have to think about what you should do for a workout. The trainer or instructor will push you harder than you would push yourself alone. And you’ll probably get some new ideas for the times you work out by yourself.
Try New Workouts
Speaking of new ideas, if your mind is interested, it will keep your body and muscles interested. Variation is important to seeing continued results.
If I’m running with the stroller with my daughter, I might run to a playground. While she plays, I’ll use the equipment to do push ups, step ups, dips, pull ups, and planks. I’ve been known to bring my bands with me too. Sometimes I’ll try running my usual route in the reverse direction. Crazy, I know.
Other days the only time I have to workout might be when I’m at home. Those days I’ll use the TRX in our basement or choose a workout I’ve pinned on Pinterest.
Maybe you’ve been interested in tennis, paddle boarding, rock climbing, or mountain biking. No time like the present to try it. If you really enjoy a new sport, now you have more reasons to exercise during the week to support it.
Read Articles and Listen to Podcasts
When I’m looking for something to get me pumped up to go out there and achieve my exercise goals, I turn to Runners World magazine, adventure/exploration books, and Another Mother Runner podcast. Surrounding myself with inspiring and positive stories never fails to get me moving. Sometimes it’s out of guilt, but in the short term that can be a great motivator too.
Just like you adopt the habits of your friends. The same goes for what you read and listen to. Find articles that play to your interests. Follow blogs or Twitter accounts of active people that inspire you. Often you’ll find they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve told myself to just get out there for 10 minutes and if you can’t go on when that time is up, then you can go home. Can you guess how many times I’ve headed for home after 10 minutes? Never.
Sometimes I’m running and I’m just not feeling the good vibes. The promise of a hot shower and maybe some recovery chocolate milk gets me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
This past winter’s icy sidewalks forced me to use the treadmill for half marathon training. I told myself I could only watch House of Cards if I was on the treadmill. For goals that take weeks to achieve, I promise myself a new workout outfit, a pedicure, or a new kitchen item I’ve been lusting over.
For your own rewards, swap out mine and insert the things you like to have after a job well done.
In the end being consistent with exercise comes down to internal motivation. No one can make you get fit. But you can play games with yourself to make it happen. Take it one workout at a time. Enlist the accountability of someone else. Keep workouts interesting with variety. Find inspiration from fitness books, magazines, and websites. And reward yourself for rewarding yourself with an active body. With a little planning and a lot of sweat, you can be as active as you hope to be. That’s no lie.
How do you stay motivated to move?
Amanda Tikalsky is an ACE certified Personal Trainer and Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist at the Wisconsin Athletic Club in Milwaukee. She earned her degree in Fitness Management from Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. In her 10 years of experience she has trained young, old, athletic, beginner, and many people in between. She is a runner, road cyclist, home cook, crafter, wife, yoga class attendee, hiker, mother of a toddler, home baker, gardener, and always up for a great adventure.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.