As I mentioned about a week ago, I recently found the motivation to really get into gear and start exercising. Today, I want to share with you what I did after that “kick in the butt” moment to stay the course.
1. Know yourself
What are your strengths? What about your weaknesses? Let me put it this way: which parts of your personality are stopping you from 1. getting into gear and 2. staying in gear?
You want to know the truth about me? I am a procrastinator. I honestly do not know many people who are worse than me. I can also be quite compulsive and intense (*ahem* I don’t know who I get that from *ahem) which means that once I get excited about something, I’ll want to do it all. the. time. Until I don’t (either because I’m sick of it or because I’ve found something else to do), then I’ll stop. These two traits are what have been stopping me from being in better shape than I am.
On the flip side, I am also a perfectionist. This can be both good and bad, but in my case, it is good because it means that it is important for me to focus on my form when I workout. Finally, I am competitive. I hate losing. I hate failing. This too is going to help me reach my goal of becoming fitter.
2. Know you constraints
And I mean your actual ones, not the ones that come out of your I’ve-got-a-collection-of-excuses hat. For me, I don’t currently have the money to pay for a gym membership (which is fine, by the way, because there are other ways to get in shape than going to the gym). Time is also an issue. I need something that I can do regardless of if I’m working or on maternity leave, regardless of if my brother’s home or not to watch my daughter, regardless of if it’s income tax season and I’m as good as a single mom. Basically, I need something that is flexible and allows me to work out at home (see, I told you that not being able to go to the gym wasn’t really a problem).
3. Be flexible…
Say you planned to work out today. Say that during the night, your daughter was up every 1.5 h from 8:30 pm to 5:30 am when you just gave up and got her up for the day. Say that between your precious daughter, your toddler who woke up with nightmares a couple of times during the night and your snoring husband, you got maybe 4 hours of sleep during the night during which your longest bout of uninterrupted sleep was about 45 minutes. Say that you have trouble putting foot in front of the other in the morning and the idea of actually working out is enough to make you want to curl up into a ball in the corner of the room and cry. It’s OK to shorten your workout. Heck, it’s even OK to skip the day. Really. No guilt needed.
4. …But not too flexible
Plan, plan, plan. Take out a calendar and circle the days that you want to workout on. That way, if you actually did have to skip a day, you can catch up on one of your “off” days. If it’s written, you will want to do it.
5. Find something that inspires you.
For me, the winner was crossfit. What attracted me to it?
For starters, every single exercise is scalable. Can’t do a burpee (let alone 4 x 25)? Do a modified one. Don’t have time to do 5 rounds? Do only 2 or 3. Don’t have any weights, use your body weight. This has the insane advantage that a 18 year old at the top of his game and a badly out of shape 60 year old can do the same workout. Either the number of reps, the number of rounds, the amount of weight…will be different for both of them.
I also like it because the program changes all the time. I’m not going to the gym to do the same routine each and every time. Nope. Each day is different…and I’m always finding myself looking forward to the next day.
Finally, the workout of the day is short. It scarcely ever takes more time than 15 minutes. And you know what the best part it? In that 15 minutes you feel like you just spent 75 of them at the gym (or I do in any event).
6. Set some smart goals
No seriously, make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Also, make sure you have some short and long-term goals. For instance, my general goal is to become fitter. My four SMART goals are:
- By the end of the month (T), make sure to have trained (S) on average (A, R) three times a week (M).
- Improve in at least one domain per training session when I restart the training cycle. (More about this in my next post)
- Be able to run 5km or 30 minutes without stopping by the end of July 2015.
- Compete in a 5km race in September 2015 (I’ve already signed up for this so I can’t back out now 😉 ).
Notice there is nothing in there about weight? That is because I realized that setting a weight goal was too discouraging for me. I’ve done it before and I hated getting up on the scale each week. I’m concentrating on eating right (without weighing or measuring my portions) and being active at least three times per week. If the weight changes, then good. But I’m not tracking it at all.
7. Go for it!
Go, go, go! You can do it!
Care to share your fitness journey? What do you like to do to stay active? What is keeping you from being as active or as fit as you’d like?