Exercising is in style. Being healthy; it’s trendy.
To me it’s kind of like skinny jeans. I think they look cute on the rail thin models in magazines and on TV, but I just can’t seem to find the perfect pair, because every one looks too tight, or gaps in the waist, or makes my muscular thighs look like tree trunks. I quickly remove them from my body and place them back on the shelf, because I wouldn’t be caught dead in public with them on. It would be too much to bare…literally. We’ve all been there…please tell me you know what I’m sayin’.
I think it’s often the same with exercise. We see our girlfriends (and guy friends) hitting the gym, running races, going to Crossfit, doing yoga and loving their lifestyle and how they feel and WE WANT THAT. At least we tell ourselves that we do. We tell our friends and family that we are going to start Monday. We are going to join the gym, we are kicking sugar to the curb, we are going to hire a personal trainer…and on, and on. But we lack one thing, the knowledge of how to cross the bridge from where we are at right now, to where we want to be.
So how do we get there? How do we arrive at a place where exercise is part of our daily routine that we love and look forward to?
I am an athlete. Well, I was. Competing as a gymnast for 7 years and playing high school basketball I feel like exercise and working out is in my genes. I’ve literally been lifting weights and doing conditioning since I was 10. So, I’ll be brutally honest, sometimes it is very hard for me to understand why someone wouldn’t like working out…especially after they tried it. Ha…I know that sounds ridiculous, but I’ve come to realize that I am in the minority. Working out is hard…and I know many of your don’t love it, or even like it.
However, I sincerely believe than anyone, yes even you, can learn to love exercise.
People have asked me, how do I start? “Whenever I try to start exercising I just can’t stick with it.”
Well…here’s my advice:
1.) GOALS – Do you have some? What are they? What are you doing to meet them?
To make exercise part of your lifestyle you have to set some goals for yourself. They don’t have to be anything crazy, just goals. In fact, the best kind of goals are the ones that you believe that you can achieve, so be realistic.
Some starter ideas of goals would be:
– exercise for 20 minutes/3x week
– walk for 30 min every other day
– get up from my desk every hour and do 20 pushups
– strength training 1-2xs per week
You get the idea.
Ideas to help you meet those goals:
– schedule them in your daily planner and be specific, days, times, places
– schedule childcare for the times you have planned to exercise
– call a friend and schedule your exercise times with her/him
– buy a cute new workout outfit that you will WANT to wear (whatever it takes)
Write your goals down in a notebook, be specific, and include how you plan to meet those goals. Then do it!
2.) BUILD A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Tell everyone you know and care about that you are exercising. Tell them to keep you accountable by asking you how your workout went on Wednesday. Better yet, text or call your best friend or better half the workout that you did for that day, or if you took a rest day. If they don’t get a text, they’ll be asking you, plus if you know you have to send that text or make that call you’ll want to follow through with your workout. 🙂
Also, tell your closest friends that you’ll need their encouragement, and you may be surprised they may even want to join you!
Personally I love working out with my hubby. He is my greatest compliment giver (not just because he’s bias) but because he’s objective, smart, and he motivates me to work harder. And I like to think I motivate him too. We make a good team. 🙂
3.) DO EXERCISE THAT YOU ENJOY
This one is SO important. You must find something that you like doing, otherwise you will not be excited to go and spend time doing it…especially if it requires hard work, sweat, and sore muscles. So ask yourself, what do I enjoy? Do I like the outdoors? Maybe try running, walking, hiking, or a local outdoor bootcamp class. Do I like dancing? Zumba or some kind of aerobic dance class might be your cup of tea. Do you enjoy the comeraderie of other people working out with you? You might consider joining a gym and trying some of their group exercise classes, joining a Crossfit box, or trying out your local running club. There are literally tons of options out there!
And trust me, if you look forward to your fitness activities every week, you will be out there making exercise a habit & a priority.
4.) REMIND YOURSELF IT’s OKAY TO TAKE TIME FOR “YOU”
I have met so many women who say they feel guilty when they exercise. They feel they should be doing something else with their time because so many people around them have needs that they must fill. You know what, that might be true, but you have needs to, and I haven’t met one woman ever who didn’t need some “me time.” Especially you Mommas out there.
Can I just tell you that when you take time for yourself to exercise, you will feel better physically, and mentally. You will sleep better at night, and you will have more energy and love to give than if you were burning the candle at both ends for everyone else 24/7. Try it for a week, just take 20 minutes every day to move your body. We all need to start somewhere. Tell your hubby to take the kids, or your Mom, just so you can do something healthy for yourself, and in the long run for your whole family.
5.) DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP
Once you begin your exercise program, whatever it may be, try your best to stay consistent, and don’t beat yourself up when you miss a scheduled workout, or something comes up and you just can’t fit exercise into your day. I used to get so stressed out about missing a workout, and feel guilty, which then led to feeling guilty about what I ate, etc. It was a vicious cycle that was completely unmerited, and ridiculous.
With time, and age I have realized that IT IS OK to listen to your body, and rest. And sometimes interruptions are unpreventable, living in a relationship centered culture I have truly learned that. And the reality is tomorrow comes sooner than you realize, so get back on your horse and start again. Missing one workout in the long run will not effect your exercise routine or fitness level, it is a tiny brush stroke in the bigger picture. The important thing is that you are consistent most of the time, which is making day by day decisions to move and be healthy.
6.) DO IT!
The absolute best advice I can give you is to just get out there and get moving! Seriously. Don’t wait until January 1st to start your journey towards your fitness goals. Start now, and make goals for today, tomorrow, and the day after that. Make long term goals, find a fitness buddy, and find what you love to do. No one is standing in your way except yourself.
What is the hardest part about exercising for you? What changes do you need to make to love your fitness life?
Get out there and work it!