How To Keep Motivated

While working out with my fitness buddy this morning, I was thinking a lot about motivation and drive. What keeps us going, even when we don’t feel like it. And believe me, we’ve all been there, even the fitness enthusiasts. When I hear someone tell me, “I love to work out, ALL THE TIME, ALWAYS” I want to call bullshit. It’s human nature to have at least a day or two that feels lackluster and devoid of dedication. I won’t lie to you. Some mornings, the lure of my warm, comfy bed becomes a huge temptation. I don’t want to move. My body screams at me to stay put, while my brain screams at me to get up.

So, what makes me get up?

And here’s where I started to compile a list in my head, while my buddy and I were on all fours on a rubber mat, doing leg lifts while conversing about anything other than the burn we felt in our asses. She’s not feeling so hot this week, and so we’ve had to change-up our usual routine and therein we discovered my number #1.

#1 CHANGE IT UP

If you do the same work out and routine ALL THE TIME, you are going to get bored. We are human beings, and we need to be stimulated. If you walk into the gym, and your feet are dragging at the mere idea of the same old group class you’ve been doing every week, move your feet in another direction! Hop on a treadmill, try out a different class you wouldn’t normally do, or grab some weights and do some simple movements, like squats, lunges, shoulder presses and tricep dips. It doesn’t have to be some elaborate set up to get a really good work out. Today, we were on the stairclimber for 30 minutes (and that always kicks my ass, big time), followed by a brisk walk, 20 minutes on the treadmill at an elevated level (10% incline), followed by three sets of 15: lunges with a stability ball, plie squats with 35 lb. kettle bell, and the leg lifts. Doing something different is refreshing, and you won’t feel stuck in some exercise rut, which will lead you to more days curled up in bed, and not working out.

#2 FIND A BUDDY…..

Where would I be without my buddy? We motivate each other, and keep one another honest. Sure, we’ve had to cancel from time to time, but when you know someone else will be there, it helps. Find a friend. Don’t worry if you aren’t at the same level they are. Seriously- it doesn’t matter. You will help each other out, and that’s the goal here.

#3 OR BECOME YOUR OWN WORK OUT BUDDY

Aww… doesn’t that sound sweet? You become your own best buddy. There will come a day (or many days) where you won’t have someone to exercise with. Life happens, so don’t let it pass you by. Don’t let that be an excuse. You are worth it, and it’s OK to devote some time to yourself, every day. As a mother, I find myself falling into that pattern at times. I question putting my toddler in the gym daycare. And then I remind myself to GET OVER IT. There are 24 hours in the day. You can find ONE HOUR (more, or less, if need be) to have for YOU. It’s completely healthy, and you may even find that just that small amount of time will energize you and recharge you. The rest of my day can be about my boys. And really, my toddler LOVES the gym daycare! He has so much fun! If you are completely against giving yourself an hour alone, then incorporate your kids into the work out! Go for walks, ask them to join you as you do a DVD routine. You can do push ups and sit ups at a park, even. I’ve done this on multiple occasions, and we have a blast!

#4 DO WHAT YOU ENJOY

I’m bad with this one. Not personally, but with  my husband. I just assume he’ll want to do the same stuff I do, and of course I am completely wrong. I appreciate that he tries new things, though. If you are doing something you loathe, do you really think you’ll stick with it? Now, that’s not to say there won’t be times a routine calls for a movement you loathe. I hate mountain climbers and burpees, but I do them anyway when the class calls for it. I know once they are done, it’s over. However, if you are in a class you hate from start to finish, don’t go back! Do what you enjoy! Fine, test the waters from time to time and see if you’ve changed your mind, but go out there and do what you find enjoyable in the meantime. There are so many ways to work out! Running, jogging, walking, roller skating, swimming, hiking, tennis, basketball, football, soccer, biking, fitness classes, machines, the list goes on and on!  Just because everyone else says, “what? how could you not enjoy it? it’s an awesome class!” doesn’t mean it’s the right class (or work out) for YOU. And that’s what matters here. Otherwise, you won’t do it.

#5 HAVE REALISTIC GOALS

I’m not saying you won’t lost 50 lbs in a month, but I will say it won’t be done in a healthy way. However, if you want to lose 50 lbs over the course of let’s say 6 months, I can see that being an attainable goal. There are no quick fixes. I hate to break it to you, but it’s true. Eating healthy foods and exercising is the way it’s done. Giving yourself smaller goals along the way, leading up to that big goal is a great way to keep up your motivation, because you are seeing results!  A friend of mine is giving herself rewards for every 10 lbs. she loses. The first 10 lbs., a massage. When she reaches her goal weight, she plans on going on a weekend spa retreat. Setting yourself up for success (and not for failure) is such a wonderful way to get into shape.

#6 DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF

Another one I’m guilty of. Just this morning, I was telling my buddy how I feel I haven’t been active enough, which would account for the crap I have going on with my backside and thighs. Whether it’s true or not, the deeper issue is my love/hate relationship with my legs, something I’ve had since my teen years, even when I didn’t have anything there to complain about. We all have those areas on our bodies we don’t much care for. Stomachs. Legs. Love handles. Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you know you’ve been doing all you can to be healthy, that’s what matters the most. If it will make you feel better to try and shape up the areas you aren’t happy with, that fine- but don’t loathe your body. My legs aren’t what I’d like them to be right now, but they’ve helped me to run marathons and support me when I squat with weights on a barbell. They are strong, and they carry me. I bet you can find something positive about the area you’d like to change. See it as room for improvement, and be accepting of your body.

#7 RESEARCH

Check out various fitness websites (there are so many of them!). Maybe you know someone who is a runner, or someone who does a lot of gym classes. Pick their brains, and see what sort of advice they have for you. If they don’t know the answer, they most likely know someone who does. Check out your local gym, and see what they have to offer. Most offer a free personal training assessment, which would at least give you an idea of where you are at, fitness-wise. You can learn a lot through doing just a little bit of footwork, to help you in reaching your goals. There are calendars and schedules available at many websites, that will help to keep you on track.

All of these steps will help in keeping you motivated. You won’t always wake up with the work out bug attached to you, but that’s OK. Do what works for you, and when all else fails- hold onto a positive attitude.

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