A lot of people talk to me about fitness, and what I usually here is a lack of time and a lack of motivation. So, I thought I would talk about what keeps me motivated. Contrary to popular belief, I don't always feel like working out and I don't always love it! I'm just as busy as everyone else, and I could find at least 10 reasons a day as to why I can't workout. Some days I drag myself down to my gym and cuss while doing it. This is what I do to keep myself on track......
- Don't have an all or nothing mindset.
Everyone that I know who has this mentality, yo-yo's with their diet and fitness. One day when you see them, they have gained 20 pounds, eating anything and everything, and are not working out at all. Six months later, they could have lost 50 pounds on a super strict diet, and are working out like a beast 6 days a week! First of all, this wrecks your metabolism.....WRECKS IT! Second of all, no one can maintain a diet of 1000 calories with no carbs, no sugar, no fat, no taste, etc., and no one can maintain a grueling workout schedule for a long period of time either. It's just not realistic. Instead, find what works for you, what will positively change your diet and fitness habits, but not be so restricting that it turns your life upside down. That way it is sustainable long term. You can get healthy and fit, and STAY healthy and fit. No more yo-yoing between a Rocky or couch potato mentality! This only leads to feelings of disappointment and failure.
- Spend time with healthy like minded people, or stay in constant contact with a fitness community online.
I wish I had friends or family members who shared my lifestyle, but I don't, not even one. My family has the Rocky or couch potato mentality that I talked about earlier. So, for many years I have been on my own. On my own when the people around me are eating things that I wish I could eat, and on my own when they are laying on the couch watching tv, wanting me to watch it with them, but I can't because I have to workout. So, what helps me feel like I have some sort of support with like minded people, are online blogs and social media. Jamie Eason Middleton is very active online and with social media, so following her keeps me feeling like I am in touch with a fitness friend. She does lots of Periscopes, which are live chats, where she answers questions, gives advice, and talks about her fitness routine. I have actually been able to talk with her through social media myself. Seeking out information and learning about other people's journey's helps me stay on track and feel like I'm not alone in my endeavors, because doing it alone can be very isolating.
- When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Make plans and prepare for your workouts and meals. Print a workout from a fitness blog, plan your gym time and/or classes. Know what you are going to do before you go to the gym. That way you are utilizing every minute there and not getting stuck with "what should I do next?" You know what I am talking about.....you have seen those people who just walk around the gym with no focus, and you wonder to yourself - What are they doing? Why are they here? They are just wasting time! Your time spent away from your family is precious. Make it count! I am doing an online program now, so everything is wrote out for my daily routines, but before I start, I always go online to look over the exercises to make sure that I am performing them correctly.
Meal planning.....I hate it, but it makes my life so much easier! I figure on average I spend about 8 hours a week doing this. I go through my cookbooks and online resources to make a menu for the week, from that I make my grocery list, I do my shopping, I prep as much as I can in advance, and do my best to have home cooked meals Sunday through Thursday. I also make enough to have leftovers, so we have lunches. If I get all this done in a week, I have no anxiety about what to eat. I'm not grabbing crap food, because I am so hungry that I will eat anything. It just makes my life easier and eases my stress.
- Do what you love.
For a period of 10 years I tortured myself. TORTURED!! Every spring, I would start running. I hated it. Every. Single, Second. I did it because I like a challenge, and it was the most challenging for me. I heard runners talk about how it clears their mind, how they get a feeling of euphoria. It NEVER happened for me! I have a nonstop, always thinking brain. Once I got my breathing down, it just left nothing to focus on other than my racing thoughts, which just made it miserable and boring for me. So, I finally decided to just stop the nonsense. Why am I torturing myself?? There are lots of other forms of exercise that are extremely challenging that don't make me crazy! I love weight training and always have. I have so much to focus on and think about that it really calms my mind, because it takes all of my attention. I don't even want to be talked to, because I am focusing. I do other forms of exercise of course, but no more torturing myself!
- Let music help motivate you.
Music is a passion of mine, but even if it isn't a passion of yours, you have to recognize how much music can affect your mood. Music can take you to another place in time or give you the energy to get up and move! I have many playlists that I made, and others that I follow on spotify that really keep me moving and motivated throughout my workouts. Great music makes your workouts so much more enjoyable and makes the time pass that much quicker.
- Have available resources.
Have blogs, health books,fitness professionals, and other resources that you can go to for reliable information. Sign up for health and fitness newsletters, and know what healthy or fitness focused events are going on in your community. Lots of parks have fitness classes, hikes, canoeing, kayaking, etc. Many churches, libraries, and schools have health fairs where you can get free screenings and valuable information. Maybe you will even meet a new fitness friend!
- Have a goal.
"I want to lose weight," isn't the type of goal I am talking about. Be specific. Have a definitely goal in mind and work to meet those goals. Maybe you are training for an event or maybe you want to fit into a pair of old jeans. Every goal is important no matter the reason. Train according to your goal, and evaluate your progress every few weeks.
- Take pictures.
People measure progress in many ways, but I think taking pictures really shows how far our progress has come. Seven pounds of weight loss may not seem like a lot, but depending on your body type and training, it can make a very big difference. Being that change is slow, you may not recognize how much it has affected your body. Taking pictures along the way really puts things into perspective.
- Realize that you will have setbacks.
In the past year, I have had two setbacks. One was huge and one was more minor, but they were set backs that I had to work to come back from. Last year at the end of October, I got really sick. I would feel horrible for a few weeks, then think I was getting better only to get even sicker. I had been to the doctor 3 times, went to 2 different doctors, had two different diagnosis, and been put on three different antibiotics. The last was so strong that they gave it to anthrax patients! My sickness lasted for 4 months! I was at the point where my doctor was saying "if this doesn't work, you are going to have to see a specialist." I was feeling absolutely miserable, unable to care for my family, let alone myself. I could not workout, and was pretty much in bed the entire time, so of course I gained weight and lost all of my fitness. The last antibiotic didn't work, but I ended up using home remedies to cure myself (that's a whole other story), but by the time I was well enough to workout, I was so angry! I had gained weight, lost every single ounce of muscle that I had, and had absolutely no endurance. My first few weeks back in the gym were misery........ absolute misery, but I kept pushing through it. It wasn't the first time that I had had a major setback, and it won't be my last.
My last setback was just in June. I was making great progress from having to start over in February, when I got an injury called turf toe. It is an injury that many football players get where your toe gets hyperextended. Mine happened over a period of time by wearing shoes that weren't supportive enough for some of my exercises. I have NEVER injured myself working out, and again I was so angry that a stinking pair of shoes got me out of commission!! My foot was swollen and bruised, hurt to the touch, hurt to walk, and had me out of the gym for 2 solid weeks. Once I could put my weight on it, I started working out, but making modifications to work around the injury. I can tell you this for sure, you will have setbacks! We all do. Just don't live in a setback. As soon as you can, get back to your healthy lifestyle and fight like hell to get back to where you were!
- Keep visual aids around you everyday.
Because I don't have any fitness friends or family, keeping images of those I look up to, who live a healthy life, keeps me on track. I have pictures in my gym and on my phone as constant reminders. I mean how many times a day do we look at our phones?? Anytime I can see a visual image of my goals or have a reminder to help me make good choices, I'll take it! I have hundreds of images a day that try to do the opposite. I mean can you go a block without seeing at least 4 or 5 fast food, pizza, or donut places??