Exercise. The beast. Why is it so hard to start…and once you start why is it so hard to keep it up??
Here’s some reasons why I absolutely HATED to exercise. It was a chore and it was hard and it was loooooong and I felt like it took up 90% of my day. In reality it’s not a chore unless you think of it as that and it doesn’t have to be hard unless you engage in a workout that’s too hard for you AND it does not have to be a marathon workout!
Maybe you or someone you know (like ME) has joined a gym and the novelty of the gym made exercise exciting & cool and maybe even -GASP-FUN! Exercise fun? No way. After spending 3 hours every night for 2 weeks the novelty wore off. I was DONE with the gym. As a result of the new-gym-novelty I think I joined several gyms and continue to pay for them even though I don’t go. But at some point you DID go to the gym and took exercise seriously and you were aware that you needed this in your life for whatever reason. But you, like me, got to a point when you just didn’t go anymore. The day off from your exercise routine turned into 4 years. We all know it’s impossible to quit the gym once you sign the concrete contract. If you don’t know about this check out that Friends episode when Chandler tries to quit the gym only to have Ross join the gym and neither of them exercise. Irony? I think not.
We have it in our minds that exercise is the price to pay to look good, feel good, and get the body we want. For me and our programs, it’s about changing the perspective on exercise. Yes it’s necessary but it’s not the ONLY way to get healthy & get the body you want.
Let’s think about perspective for a minute. When you think about exercise the first thing that comes to mind is -it’s so hard to get up off your bum, put on your sneakers, and get somewhere to workout. What I have retrained my mind to think about it is that feeling when it’s over I love the adrenaline, the feeling that I did something awesome for myself, and the burst of energy that comes right after my workout beats any cup of suped-up-coffee! The other key to a good workout is not to kill yourself in the process. Challenging exercise is important but it’s very easy to over do it in our honeymoon phase to get healthy & fit. It’s important to know and understand your limitations and do something that you actually ENJOY doing. Starting off easy and not overdoing it will surely help to keep you motivated longer. You don’t need to lift 50lbs every day for two hours resulting in the inability to lift your arms to even shower yourself the next day. You don’t have to run a 7 minute mile for 10 miles your first time out resulting in a near-fatal collapse! This is NOT the sign of a good workout. Today, there’s a boat load of exercise programs from the in-home-insane workouts, to personal trainers who can customize a program for you, to group fitness classes with fun instructors and music to get you pumped up, and if all else fails there’s the classic road run. Simple and easy just you and the road ahead of you. Finding what you enjoy doing and keeping it simple at first while gradually increasing intensity is key to consistency and long term adherence to any exercise program.
When I meet a first-time client at Baby Boot Camp or personal training prospect we sit down and talk about our program and the exercise workouts we do. Our specialty is interval training which can be modified for any fitness level. I have to make sure there’s a fit between us because it’s definitely not for everyone. I know that I’m not a one-size-fits-all program and if I want my clients to stick to the program I have to make sure that they enjoy it and that they want to be there. For this reason, I always let clients test-drive our classes. So get out there and test drive a BUNCH of workouts and find something (it can be more than 1) that fits your personality, your schedule, and your style. Four gyms later I found out that I don’t like the gym even the female-only ones, the high-tech ones, or even the ones with the cutest members😉 ha ha. I hate the gym and it took a few years and several hundreds of dollars out of pocket to figure it out. I like group classes and I absolutely love to run. I plan for 2 runs and at least 2 classes a week to keep things interesting and keep up with my exercise goals.
Once the exercise novelty wears off how do you keep it going? Finding what you enjoy is key to sticking to something long term. The second most important thing is treating your exercise workouts as an essential part of your day like brushing your teeth, having dinner, showering…you get the point. If you don’t respect your workout you’re more willing to blow it off and skipping it on a regular basis. The other thing is something or someone HAS to keep you accountable to your workouts. The most successful and healthy people have become accountable for the workout programs. For me exercise is not negotiable, it’s not penciled in to my schedule it’s in PEN, it’s what I do because I NEED TO. Something is missing from my day when I miss a workout and I just don’t feel myself. I miss it like I miss my morning cup of java…it’s not pretty.
When you’re out there trying to find your ideal choice of exercise think about all the benefits of staying active like the energy, the satisfaction, the goals you want to achieve. This positive mind set will help keep you motivated throughout your exercise. Find something that will be hard to skip because either you BFF will be really disappointed if you don’t show up for that run, or your trainer will still take your money even if you don’t show up, or your instructor is so awesome and you don’t want to miss her fun attitude! Whatever it is find that thing you just can’t live without. Exercise…DO IT, LIVE IT, LOVE IT!