Happy Slimdown, everyone!
What an awesome opportunity for you and everyone else who joined to get a little motivation to move more, eat better, and take a peek at what you can be doing to improve your health—we’re excited that you joined!
Each week of the challenge has a different focus around the concept of “Healthy Habits”, and for this week we’re going to be talking about Exercise. (Ooh, also, here’s your reminder to complete your 3 weekly tasks before Monday at 11:59pm—1. Log your weight (any scale) 2. Read the education about exercise 3. Take a little quiz)
For those of you who know me, know that exercise is kind of my jam. I focused my college education around exercise (degree in Exercise Science), and am a group fitness instructor at a few locations in Jefferson and Fort, and offer to help out at various schools, teacher in-services, corporations, and events—so you’ve probably seen me be-bopping around in a tank top and capris getting people (or trying to…) excited to exercise.
Now I know that exercise isn’t everyone’s jam ALL the time, and there can be times that exercise just seems terrible, and we will literally find any excuse to avoid it (hey…I’ve been there and found myself cleaning closets and junk drawers because “It HAD to be done then” haha!).
Most people know that exercise is good for them—whether they heard it from their doctor, their significant other, Dr. Oz or they read it in a magazine—but they don’t take the time to do it. Why is that? We know it is good for us for “x, y, z…” reasons, and we usually feel good after we do it…but many times we can’t find the motivation to get going or have found something that we look forward to.
Now, I’m going to spare you my soap box rambling about all the reasons why exercise is good for you, and I’m going to do a little piece on finding the motivation to exercise. Because there is no magic potion, and I don’t have one single phrase or quote that will immediately make you want to get up and move (I would not be living in cold Wisconsin if I had that power…), but rather different tips and tricks to help you find that motivation within yourself to get up and get going.
Prep/Prepare - When we feel in control of a situation, we just feel better and more "ready to go", and like we can handle anything. There's a couple different tricks I have around the prep/prepare concept, and how they can help build motivation for exercise:
Leave out your clothes or pack in your bag the night before. This eliminates that extra few minutes it takes to ruffle through laundry or your drawers, and it sets your mind that you are ready and that you are going to exercise.
Set a time/schedule it in - Treat your exercise time as an immovable appointment, and make sure you allow a little bit of time before and after your exercise "appointment" for things to come up - you don't want to be rushed or stressed!
By writing out your plan (and scheduling it ahead of time) you're giving yourself the opportunity to work in exercise around the 3904034 other things you have to accomplish, and because you know your schedule best, you know when you can make it happen. Decide what you're doing for exercise (ie: cardio, weights, a class, etc.) and make it happen!
Friend/Accountability - Two is better than one! There's something so fun about exercising with a friend/spouse/neighbor and there's a huge accountability factor that comes along with that territory. Here's a few reasons why finding an exercise buddy could help with motivation:
1. You've got someone to do it with and complain with afterwards when you're a bit sore
2. You have someone to share any sort of fear or apprehension if it's a new workout class, instructor, or starting brand new with exercise.
3. You're able to kill two birds with one stone by having a chat-session (with some of my friends, we might do a LOT of chatting) and getting the heart moving and grooving!
4. Accountability, which I already mentioned.
5. You're able to share success with one another, and help perk each other up if the going gets though.
Goals/Tracking - After awhile, it can be hard to remember why the heck you started, and a great way to show your progress and celebrate your successes is to make goals and track them.
Set a big goal for down the road (3-9 months) but also set "bite-size" goals that are going to keep you on the path to achieving your big goal. When we achieve the little goals, it helps us to feel good, feel confident and ultimately motivated.
Revisit your goals throughout the process. See where you're at with the little and big goals, and adjust your "course" for achieving those goals.
Tracking your progress allows you to see where you started from, and where you are today. Whether it's weight loss, miles, inches off waist or minutes of exercise, it can be motivating to see everything you've accomplished along the way.
Switch it up - Our body has an incredibly smart set-up when it comes to exercise, and it adapts to our muscle movements (called "muscle memory"). When our body gets used to and adapts to certain exercises and movements, it can cause our workouts to feel stagnant and boring which can lead us to lose motivation.
Change things up by adding extra minutes to your workout, intensity (hills or intervals), or weight size to keep our body guessing and changing.
Change up the scenery. If you are getting bored with walk/bike/run, change up the route to add a different sensory component (side note... when I do this by my house, I tend to find stray kittens. I think my husband holds his breath every time I say, "Hey, I'm going for a different run today!")
Step out of your comfort zone. Its so easy to do the "same old, same old" with our workouts and plan, but when we try a new fitness class or a new workout, it keeps our body "on its toes", but also allows us to maybe find something we never thought we'd enjoy!
Exercise is great for just about every body's system, and can help us in so many ways, but it can be hard to get going or to stay motivated once we start. Hopefully thse tips will help you feel energeized and ready to continue on your journey even beyond the Slimdown Challenge.
Until next time!