I love exercising. Correction; I love the benefits of exercise. I love the energy that flows through you after a workout, I love the way that stress is minimised and clarity heightened when I exercise regularly, and I love not feeling sluggish and yukky when I'm exercising often and eating well. Now, if this is beginning to make you feel somewhat nauseous, stay with me.
I'm writing to all the girls and guys who, just like me, know that exercise is a good thing (we have been told), have even benefited from the results and yet still can't motivate ourselves to Just Do It. I thought I'd share my experience and some of the things that really do help me get off my backside and move about.
A healthy dose of competition really helps me motivate myself to exercise. Knowing that a friend, someone I can relate to, is pushing weights at the gym/diligently attending yoga classes/etc. and seeing results makes me believe I can do it to. The beautiful models, the amazing athletes, the wonderful personal trainers are all very well, but seeing someone you know, who like the rest of us, is juggling a career, a social life etc. achieve fitness really inspires me.
Positive Body Image
I've read time and time again that hating yourself won't help you get fit/tone up/lose weight - and I have to say its true. The times I feel crappy about myself all I end up doing is punishing myself for it, or comfort eating. It's totally counter-productive. When I value myself and my body, I am way more inclined to treat it well, to invest in it, and yup - that includes donning that Lycra and building up a sweat on the regular.
Last Summer I got into the best shape I've ever been in. I was exercising regularly – a mix of Pilates, yoga, VIIT and running – and eating fairly cleanly. Knowing that I can feel that good and feel that body confident helps me positively motivate myself to workout.
A Good Day
After a bad day, though it may be a good idea, the last thing I want to do is force myself to go for a run or sweat around the living room to a fitness DVD. However, when I'm running on the adrenaline of a good day, I am way more inclined to celebrate and maximise with some Pilates or a quick run - it only adds to those good endorphins! This really helps with the next one...
It's been said before but it bears repeating, getting into good habits really does help. By the end of Summer exercise had become part of my weekly routine, each session was no longer the huge battle of wills, it started to come naturally. Then Christmas happened, and January slipped by, and soon we were well into February. I have since spent March, April and May gently easing myself back into the good habits of last year, because I know it. will. work.
Working with your Lifestyle
I find it difficult to stick to a weekly schedule for anything, so prefer to fit exercise around my day to day activities. It's great to understand what works best for you - sticking to a strict schedule or fitting things in here and there.
Going Easy on Yourself
Last but possibly the most important things is that I go easy on myself. Rather than count every time I don't exercise as a failure, I count every workout I do as a victory. At the end of a week, I might have only had one victory, but it's a victory nonetheless! So much more motivating than two failures, you'll agree.
Last but Not Least
I do not, by any stretch of any imagination, have all the answers. I am still trying to understand what kind of exercise works best for me, learning a healthy attitude toward food, and as I'm convinced many of you are on the same journey, just wanted to share my experience with you.
I'm now half way through a 30 day trial at my local hot yoga studio and so far, so good. By doing things at my own pace, in my own way, I trust that sooner or later I'll achieve a level of exercise I'm happy with, and an approach to eating that is healthy and happy.
See what our very own yogi R has to say about her experience with yoga.