Fitness & Wellness

3 Ways To Keep Yourself Motivated To Workout

3 Ways To Keep Yourself Motivated To Workout

Working out certainly takes motivation, particularly if you’re just starting and haven’t seen results yet. There are a number of motivation techniques that I’ve used on my journey to fitness, but I thought I’d share my favorite 3 ways to keep yourself motivated to workout. These are simple and don’t require a lot of time but are extremely effective in keeping you going, particularly when you’re first hitting the gym, which is often the most critical time. When you add a program of regular exercise to your life, you’re making a lifestyle change and trying to develop a new habit, which is hard.

Work out with friends.

Friendship and fun is more rewarding than cash, according to scientific studies. In fact, in one study, one group of gyms provided a reward of a gift card for up to $60 for working out, while another group provided a more social atmosphere, like our Fitbody boot camp. People stuck with the program at the fitness centers that had the more social atmosphere and had a high dropout rate at the one giving the gift card. Having fun, getting support from others and sharing your time with a group of friendly people who are supportive is far more important.

Give yourself a special reward.

If there’s something you love to do, make sure you follow up every workout with it. Maybe it’s stopping for lunch. (Don’t make that a burger and fries please!) Maybe it’s spending an hour shopping or window shopping. Whatever it is, do it right after you successfully completed your workout. You’ll build the connection in your brain that will transfer the pleasure of your other favorite thing to the workout. Before you know it, you’ll look forward to the workout.

Change your mind.

Picture yourself accomplishing your workout goal and how great it feels. Visualize the results until you can almost see each muscle rippling in your body and feeling how big your jeans are on you. That’s the happy picture you want to see, but you need to go further. You need to take one step to find out what’s stopping you. If you’re too harried to workout before work, try it at noon or on your way home. Once you find out what’s stopping you, you can make adjustments.

Make an appointment with yourself to workout. Treat it as though you have an appointment at the doctor. That’s one reason working with a personal trainer gets results. It’s an appointment you feel you need to keep.

Use an enemy as a friend. This one was one of the most creative I’d heard. One woman disliked a fellow worker and he didn’t like her. She approached him with the deal that she’d buy him lunch every time she missed a workout. She never missed once, but through the time, that discussion led to a friendship and she bought him lunch for helping her reach her goals.

Workout at the same time each day. Sticking with a schedule turns it into an important part of your day.

Make it a date. I you’re married or involved with someone, start working out together. Do something fun later.

Small Changes Equal Big Results

Small Changes Equal Big Results

You won’t change your whole life overnight. Many of the habits you have today were developed years ago, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Start by finding something you can control, such as consciously increasing your activity or switching one food for another. Just by switching out a candy bar for a mid afternoon break to an apple or orange, you can save over 100 calories a day. If you do that consistently, without changing any other habit, you’d lose a pound in just 35 days. You can improve your overall health while lowering your caloric intake when you realize small changes equal big results.

Take the stairs and park away from the building.

If you work in a tall building with an elevator, start to take the stairs. Those who work on high floors, such as the 22nd floor, may want to take the elevator to the 21st floor and then climb the stairs the rest of the way, gradually getting off the elevator earlier and earlier. Find other ways to get more exercise, such as parking at the first open space you find in a parking lot and walking further. It’s a small change, but it burns more calories and gets you fitter faster.

Learn how to make smarter choices when it comes to food.

While the apple and candy bar is one example, there are three meals a day where you can save calories. Instead of ordering a burger at your favorite fast food place, opt for a salad or better yet, pack your own healthy lunch. Switch the way you cook and avoid fried and high fat foods. Keep a stock of fresh veggies ready and instead of using sour cream for the dip, create one with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt. You can leave the cottage cheese as is or put it in the blender. Mix one cup of cottage cheese with a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice for a dip that’s a third of the calories of sour cream.

Start a program of regular exercise.

Of course, working with the help of a personal trainer provides a great exercise program that helps you achieve your goals, but for those days off, try to keep active. Take a walk, dance to music while you clean and enjoy every minute of it. You’ll not only find your work goes faster, but you’ll also be helping to burn calories and build your endurance. It may be only an extra 15 minutes of vigorous movement, but that’s 15 minutes more than you’d otherwise have.

Smile more. Studies show that people who smile more are healthier, even if they’re faking a smile. You’ll find that you’ll feel better when you do.

Drink more water. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and sip on it frequently, even if you’re not much of a water drinker. If you guzzle coffee like there’s no tomorrow, switch to water after your first cup. You’ll be amazed at how much more energy it gives you.

Get adequate sleep. People underestimate the importance of sleep and often don’t get enough. Try to get a more if you aren’t getting at least 7-9 hours daily.

Quiet your mind and relax for a minute or two in the middle of a hectic day. Learn to take a few breaths and clear your head to function at your best and help reduce stress.

Fall In Love With Taking Care Of Yourself

Fall In Love With Taking Care Of Yourself

If you’ve become the victim of negative self-talk because of the weight you’ve gained or failure to get fit, you need to change your thinking. You need to fall in love with taking care of yourself. Negative thoughts don’t help you achieve your goals, they just make it worse. Instead of punishing yourself daily for gaining the weight, start thinking of yourself as someone that needs your support and love to help conquer the problem. Treat yourself as good as you’d treat a family member or a stranger and have the same compassion.

Some people fail to start workouts because they’re busy taking care of other’s needs.

You’ve probably thought or at least heard someone tell you, “who’s going to take care of you?” That may not have made an impact, particularly if you’re a super mom or dad who wants only the best for their family. Instead, consider this. Who is going to take care of your family if you’re out of the picture, sick, disabled or even dead? When you take care of yourself by eating healthy and working out regularly, you’ll help prevent serious conditions and stay healthier to finish the work you started.

Still not convinced you need to take time out to get healthy?

Getting healthier by making lifestyle changes takes a little time from your schedule, which can be difficult if you’re already stretched to the max. However, it does something amazing, too. It helps you work longer by giving you more stamina and often work faster. It also helps your cognitive processes so you’ll think faster too and paperwork will be done quicker. You’ll not only do better at work, you’ll also get chores at home done more quickly. The time you save not only allows you to workout, but also have time and energy for fun activities with the family.

You’ll improve work performance.

Everyone has to make a living or has a specific job or task to accomplish on a daily basis. If you’re a domestic goddess, your work will go quicker and you’ll have the “guilty pleasure” of time for yourself. If you’re employed outside the home, you’ll do better at work and may even get a promotion or raise that will make your life better. If you aren’t at the job you love, your confidence will be high enough to find one you love and probably at a higher wage. Taking care of yourself has its benefits, which you receive and those that extend to your family.

Nobody wants to be a burden in their senior years and you can reduce the chances of that happening. Studies show that for every minute you workout, you get seven extra minutes of a healthy life.

Taking care of yourself means you’ll have self-respect and that shows. Others will feel the difference and treat you with respect.

When you choose to appreciate yourself, you set into action the ability to take charge of your own life. It helps you break out of your shell and start taking chances for a better life.

Taking care of yourself helps you teach your children to take care of their own health. You become the example they follow for a healthier lifestyle.

Be Better Than You Were Yesterday

Be Better Than You Were Yesterday

You may be so out of shape that you can’t believe anything will help. Don’t despair. You can be better than you were yesterday and even better the next and the next day. Getting fit isn’t an all or nothing proposition. You don’t wake up and suddenly find yourself buff and slender. It happens one day at a time, little by little. If you set a huge goal, such as losing 100 pounds or running a marathon, you could get discouraged early in your program. That’s one reason that creating smaller goals to reach the ultimate goal is important.

Creating smaller goals that lead to the ultimate goal can boost your enthusiasm.

While nobody is discouraging having an ultimate goal, it shouldn’t be the only one you have. If your goal is to shed 100 pounds, start by focusing on losing ten percent of your body weight in a month. That’s a smaller goal that’s achievable in a short period, so you won’t get discouraged. If you want to improve your endurance, set a goal to increase the amount you can lift by ten percent or extend the amount of time you can run at top speed by ten percent. These smaller goals are easier to reach and will give you the incentive to continue.

Don’t expect perfection, just improvement.

Sure, you might start out with great resolve and stick with the program faithfully, at least for a while. One night, you eat not one but two bowls of ice cream or even a half of cake. That’s a huge break from the healthy eating you had in mind to shed weight, but it doesn’t mean you should just quit! It’s a small step back and may even help you shed pounds. Yes! Sometimes a cheat day prevents your body from going into starvation mode and actually makes weight loss easier. Jump back on the wagon no matter what happens and continue to strive for those goals.

Your health care professional can help you see the improvement.

If you want more reassurance that you’re getting healthier, get a checkup before you start your program. It serves two purposes. The first is to insure you’re healthy enough to undergo a program of regular exercise and secondly, to get a benchmark before you start. After just a month or so of exercising, have your numbers checked again. Your blood pressure should be lower, cholesterol better and sugar levels improved. The difference may not be huge, but enough to see the difference regular exercise and healthy eating makes.

Notice how much your mood improves. Not only does exercising burn off hormones from stress, it also stimulates the production of hormones that make you feel great.

You’ll see the difference in your complexion. Regular exercising and healthy eating clears your complexion and gives you a youthful glow.

You’ll notice an increase in your cognitive abilities. Exercising helps you think clearer and creates new neural paths in the brain.

Noticing and appreciating the small improvements helps you stay on the straight and narrow. It boosts your morale and makes the effort you take far more worthwhile.

Mind, Body And Soul

Mind, Body And Soul

mind-body-soul-1The mind, body and soul are all interconnected. When you’re out of sorts, with your mind facing stresses, it taxes your soul and can often make your body ill. If you’re ill, it’s adds stress to the soul and mind. When you live a full life, the connection of all three makes you unstoppable, but when one is vulnerable or not fit, the whole system is vulnerable. You are as strong as your weakest link. In some cases, that link is physical, which lowers the energy level and can make things look hopeless.

Working out builds all three.

When you workout, you know you’re building your body, but did you also know you’re helping your mind and soul at the same time? It’s true. As you workout, the hormones from stress that can cause anxiety and depression burn off. In their place, ones that leave you feeling content are created. That builds the soul and makes it healthier. You’re also helping to build new neural paths in the brain. Scientific studies show that exercise helps improve cognitive thinking, which is why they are using it for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.

You have to believe to achieve.

If you believe you’ll succeed at losing weight, it makes the task easier. When you take the factor of belief away from the equation, it removes more than the incentive, it removes all hope. People who believe they’ll fail at any task will fail. It’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy. You probably experience it every day. If you’re confident the day will go well, it often does. However, if the day starts with a disaster, it tends to go downhill. That’s one reason we focus so much on motivating you.

Your achievement in fitness transfers to other areas of your life.

When you believe you’re capable of accomplishing anything you put your mind to doing, you can, if you’re willing to put in all the work it takes to accomplish the task. That’s one reason success at a fitness plan can be so important. It helps you to see just how strong and powerful you can be when you stay focused on a goal. It lets you know that anything is possible.

You’ll build strength when you workout. That feeling of strength is a real confidence booster. Many people age faster because they feel weak and old. A program of regular exercise can change that and give them a new lease on life.

You’ll look years younger and feel great. Not only is exercise good for your body and health, it also helps your skin and body look younger, sending oxygen and nutrient rich blood to all cells in the body.

You’ll have more energy than you ever thought possible. The body is amazing. The harder you work it, the more energy it has.

You’ll feel different about yourself. Not only does exercise give you confidence, the changes in your body will make you feel proud to be the person you are.

Stay Positive

Stay Positive

positiveI had a client that spent ten years helping to take care of her elderly mother who lost her vision. While it was time consuming and sad, she noted that it was also a wonderful time. “My mother and I became friends. We talked a lot during the time I spent with her and she was more than just my mom, she was a good friend. We wouldn’t have had that time together had she been healthy, since we both would have gone our separate ways, meeting occasionally to talk.” That attitude switched what might have been a burdensome experience to a pleasant one, which is what staying positive is all about.

Staying positive and fitness.

When people first start a fitness program and fail, they either are extremely positive and upbeat the first week and gradually get more pessimistic as time proceeds or negative right from the start. That’s because real results don’t show overnight. Sure, you’ll feel far better after just a few weeks, but you might not see the difference in your body. People who go into exercising don’t have unrealistic expectations, but they believe it will work and before you know it, it does.

The parable of two towns is a good example of getting what you expect.

A traveler passed a farmer on his way from one town to another. He asked the farmer what the people were like in the next town. The farmer asked him a question before answering. “What were the people like in the last town you visited?” The traveler responded, “They were lovely people with open hearts who shared freely.” The farmer responded, “They are that way in the next town.” A second traveler passed the farmer and asked the same thing. Again the farmer questioned back, “What were the people like in the last town you visited?” The traveler responded, “Horrible people. They were dishonest and unfriendly.” The farmer responded, “They are that way in the next town.” You can see that each person was treated as he expected others to treat him and the farmer knew it. The man who stayed positive got positive results. If you believe you’ll get fitness results, you will

You still have to put in the effort. Even though you have a positive frame of mind, you still have to do the work to get the results. Positive thinking isn’t magic, but a way to enjoy life more.

Once you start your workout regimen, you’ll notice that you feel fantastic after each workout. That’s because exercise burns off the hormones created by stress and replaces them with ones that make you feel great.

The longer you workout, the easier it is to stay positive. Exercise improves your posture so you’ll even look more positive.

As you see results, it’s easy to believe. However, the toughest part is still in the initial phase, when your resolve and positive attitude are all that keeps you going.

Check Your Mindset

Check Your Mindset

New Mindset New ResultsEverything in life has to do with our mindset. How we think about something makes us look forward to it or drag our feet when we have to do it. Think about going to the dentist. You wouldn’t dread the dentist if you only went in for a few minutes, got a good report and maybe got your teeth polished. If you had painful dental work before, you’d dread every visit and put it off as long as possible. If you’re having trouble losing weight, check your mindset first.

Is food your reward or consolation?

If you’ve worked hard or had a major success, do you have a specific food you turn to when you celebrate. If it’s celery or carrots, I’d be surprised, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Some people have comfort foods and most of the time they aren’t ones that make you thin. They range from mashed potatoes to a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Your attitude toward food makes a huge difference in the success or failure of weight loss. It’s time to find some new rewards and a better way to console yourself.

Finding good tasting recipes that are good for you helps.

It’s amazing, but most people eat the same food consistently, more out of habit than anything. Breaking a burger and fry habit is tough. Not because you like it, but because you’re used to the food. That’s why people should find the tastiest foods that are healthy and make small substitutions as they go, such as wild rice instead of white rice, which saves some calories. Before you know it, your tastes will change and you won’t miss those fries at all. (Most of the time people quit eating those foods and crave them, only to find they don’t like them anymore when they do eat them again.)

Think about each movement when you exercise.

The body is a glorious instrument. When you think about all the amazing things it can do, you really start to appreciate it. While you’re doing exercise, think about each movement and how amazing it is that so many different muscles work together to accomplish it. I have one client who loves exercise, not because of the exercise itself, but how it feels so good to control the muscles and what it does for her. She confessed to me that at night when she’s alone, she turns on fast music and dances by herself for hours. She dances for the pure sense of freedom it brings.

You’ll be moving longer and stronger the more you exercise. Not only does exercise help your heart, it helps your balance and flexibility. The more you workout, the longer you’ll be able to workout and to do everyday tasks too.

You’ll build more energy the more you workout. If the feeling and enjoyment of movement isn’t your primary goal. Think about how great it is to be able to do more without tiring. You’ll notice a difference quickly.

Burn off those hormones created by stress. Doctors may prescribe anti-anxiety pills, but exercise can help even more. The best part is that the only side effect is a healthier and better looking body.

You’ll sleep better at night. A good night’s sleep not only helps you face the world refreshed and boosts your attitude, it also is good for the heart and helps you resist sweets for an energy boost.