Let’s be honest, working out is not something we all like to do all the time. Early in the morning, or after a long day at work, it’s easy to come up with a million excuses of why not to work out. Over the last three months I have really had to push myself to get some kind of workout in six days a week. Healthy eating only goes so far to shed the pounds. If you really want to speed up the process (and just feel better!) then getting physical everyday is what you need to do. If I didn’t find ways to keep pushing myself ,or actually enjoy what I was doing, there’s no way I could convince myself to get my butt out the door.
So, I have put together a list of my top five insights on working out. Hopefully they will strike a chord with you and help you to begin seeing a “workout” not as work, but as something you can fit into your life and enjoy.
#1: Find an activity that YOU like to do.
I think when a lot of people want to lose weight or just be in shape, they automatically think they need to start running. I don’t know what it is about running, but it seems like people think it’s the magic charm that will help them melt away the weight. Guess what? There are so many MORE ways to get in exercise without slogging through miles and wheezing away! If you don’t like running, jump on your bike and pedal away while you still enjoy the outdoors. Go on a walk with your family, or your dog, or your best girlfriend and chat away. Dive in the pool and swim around; you don’t even need to swim laps to get a good total body workout. Play softball, throw a Frisbee, or bump a volleyball with some friends on the weekend. The key is to find an activity that you enjoy and look forward to doing. And as an added bonus, you’ll burn those calories up, too.
#2: Mix it up.
Once you find your activity, don’t be monogamous to it. Have a little something else on the side: For instance, after being sidelined from running for so long due to my hip injury, I have really fallen in love with biking. Now, I like to bike one day and do a light run the next. I also like to throw some weight lifting in once or twice a week (I aim for two days a week, but…that doesn’t always happen). I also signed up for a boot camp class on Sunday mornings, and I learned this past week that it works LOTS of muscles I never knew I had. Keeping my workouts mixed up makes my body stronger overall, and allows me to take a break from very impactful exercising (like running) and get non-impact workouts in (biking) to keep my body healthy. Plus, I never get bored!
#3: Set a goal.
Whether it’s to be able to run a mile without stopping, signing up for a 5K run or a 10-mile bike ride event, or making it through a yoga class without falling on your butt—setting some kind of goal keeps you motivated and makes you check yourself when you want to slack off. It’s that simple.
#4: Make it social.
Sometimes, it’s hard to fit working out for even 30 minutes into the day. Including others in your workouts can make them more fun, and get in the social fix that you crave. I invite a friend along to run, walk or bike with me while we catch up. I sign up for a 5K race with a group of friends; not only do I have training partners, but I have people cheering me on when I cross the finish line. I have yet to make it to the local running club—I’ll admit it, I am kind of nervous to go by myself!—but I would think it has to be a great support community as well. And I don’t keep it all serious: I joined my co-workers on the Jockey softball team in a rec league this summer. I may have struck out 99% of the time, but I still had a lot of fun hanging out with the crew and playing around anyway.
#5: Get up early—or stick to it later.
Morning workouts. Oh boy. Not everyone’s favorite. But if you’re like me, you have a long workday and a lot to do at home even after you leave the workplace. I don’t work out every single morning, though some say it’s easier to form the habit of getting up that way. Instead, I think ahead—do I have time to workout tomorrow after work? If not, I set my alarm for 15 minutes before I actually need to be up, so I can hit snooze once and still get out of bed on time to fit in my workout and then get ready for work. If I ponder how I want to stay in bed, I think about the rest of the day and how this is my only chance to have some peace and quiet (and a good sweat session) by myself. That usually does the trick. If I do plan to work out in the evenings, I make sure I come home and put my active clothes on right away—I don’t let myself sit down, turn on the TV, return a phone call, nothing. Then I’m out the door before I can even be distracted.
I hope these insights help you out. I’d like to hear your thoughts on working out (good or bad) and what helps you stick to it / keeps you motivated / makes it fun for you. Won’t you share? :)
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 151.5 pounds
This week: 152 pounds (After my boot camp class & being sore for three days, I think it’s a gain of pure muscle!)
Goal weight: 145 pounds
P.S. The weight loss challenge at Jockey may be over (results to come next week), but I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with my ramblings, folks. Hope you enjoy!