Exercise Motivation

Tips For Staying Focused On Exercise

I’ve been asked before, “What do you when you’re in an exercise slump?” I have to be honest with you (and I promise I’m not saying this to sound snobby or better than thou) but I don’t really have slumps. There’s times when life is crazy busy and I don’t get to work out quite as much, but that’s referring to exercising two or three times a week instead of five. I don’t have long breaks from exercise.

How is that possible?

We all have our daily tasks, and each are given their placement of priority – whether we write it down or not. If there’s a time crunch or a lot to get done, we know which will be handled before others. Often times I believe “exercise” is put on the “If I can get to it” list for a lot of folks. I understand that. I’ve had to do that. If my child needs to go to the doctor, or we’re almost out of essential groceries, obviously that needs to be handled first. Exercise can wait. But it’s the how long does it have to wait that becomes the problem.

To me, exercise isn’t an added chore, it’s a mental and physical necessity. If I don’t get a bare minimum of exercise in a week, I am one cranky person. I am stressed. I feel gross. It’s just not good. So for me, it’s high on my priority list. I need to fit it in so other aspects of my life can be successful. I can’t exactly be a good mom and wife if I’m cranky and feeling gross, now can I?

So we’ve established that exercise should actually make the list of daily priorities instead of being an extracurricular that would be nice to get to, but how do we stay focused once it’s on the list? Consider these tips and ideas:

  1. Think about your current mood and how exercise can fit with it. If I am super busy and having to make a lot of decisions, I don’t like to lift weights. I don’t want to have to count reps. I don’t want to come up with exercises and ensure I hit key target areas. I want to hit the open road, just me and my music, and zone out while I’m running. But then there are (rare) days when running is the last damn thing I want to do. I don’t have the patience for it. I don’t want to deal with monotony. I need to lift to keep my mind off of something stressing me out. Figure out what you’re in the mood for, and choose that exercise. Otherwise, if you start out not in the mood, you’re going to have a hard time getting into the mood, and giving up is right around the corner.
  2. Figure out what you like about exercise. Exercise should be a happy experience. If you focus on the pain, or disappointment you may feel if you don’t lift enough/run fast enough/swim enough/squat enough, then it won’t be so happy. Do you like exercising with other people? Do you like working out in the morning or the evening? Do you like having a pre-planned workout all setup for you? What about exercising makes you happy you’re doing it? Figure that out and write it into your daily planner, and then it switches from being a chore, to a happy task.
  3. Always have a goal or a mission. I have run in a lot of races. I’ve done a couple full marathons, several half marathons, a couple Spartan Races, and various other events. In November I’ll be doing my first duathlon (biking and running). These events keep me in check. I know I have a race coming up and if I don’t prepare properly, that day will kick my butt in a very bad way, so I have to run/bike/lift/hate life while doing burpees. What’s your goal? Is it just, “I need to work out” because if so, that’s not a long-lasting goal. What are you trying to get out of your exercise today, tomorrow, next week, next month? Do you want to get rid of saggy arms or inner thigh fat? Don’t worry about someone else’s goal, make your own. That will give you a mission for going to the gym and hopefully keep you going so you can reach your goal.
  4. Remember that exercise can be your “thing”. So many times in our lives we are focused on doing things that help other people – meetings to please clients, playground adventures to please kids, delicious dinners to please spouses. But how often is just you doing something that makes you happy? I often have to bring my kids along to the gym with me while they play in a little kid area, that’s in the same room as me……………. They have been yelled at many times as I have listed off all the things I have done for them that day and, “I. Just. Want. To. Exercise.” so they need to shoosh and get along. But when I do get to exercise without them, I enjoy my break from the kids/spouse/friends. It’s MY thing. It’s MY time. It’s all about ME and I like it.

Tell me — What keeps you focused? What takes your focus away?

Stay active, friends!

Exercise Motivation

Why We Should Support Our Fitness Friends

I believe one of the absolute best foundations a person can live by is to be a supporter, not a competitor. I’m not saying participating in competitions is bad – that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m a huge believer in participating in races, going for your dreams, trying to the best you, you can be. What I’m talking about is more comparing yourself to others in a competitive manner.

So you exercised five days a week, gave up pantry snacks, and your friend lost weight but you didn’t. That’s frustrating, I know. It doesn’t feel fair, does it? But what’s the alternative – she gain weight? She become sad? Is that what you actually want for your friend, for the sake of keeping things “fair”? No! For your own sanity, your friendship, and for you to be the person that shines a positive light on others, congratulate her. Tell her your proud of her, and keep doing you, boo.

Since becoming a mother, I have noticed how excited a child is when they see him/herself in the mirror. You ever notice that? A toddler is all smiles and excitement! Simply pure joy to see their face, their outfit, their crazy post-nap hair. If we all looked out ourselves in the mirror with the same excitement of a child, we’d be a much happier world. But so many people will look in the mirror and start pointing out the negatives. They start comparing their hair/face/make-up/body/attire to someone else, or to some standard. Again – comparing and competing only does harm to ourselves.

A gym should be an encouraging, happy place. Personally I never pay attention to other people at a gym – It’s “me” time – and I firmly believe the perception that people are being judged while there is just something people have made up in their heads from being self-conscious and uncomfortable in that setting. Yes, I am certain judgments have happened, but screw those people. They are likely few and far. If you’re severely overweight, don’t think someone at the gym is judging you negatively for being there. You’re there! You’re trying! If you’re walking on the treadmill and the person next to you is running and slinging sweat everywhere (I hate when that happens) it’s okay. You don’t have to run. Tell them they’ve done a good job – even the pros need an encouraging, positive word now and then.

Don’t compare. Be supportive. And if you want to wear a princess dress while doing TRX, put on that tiara and do your thing girl.