I am known as a bit of a “fitness enthusiast”, but it wasn’t always that way. I used to joke that if anyone saw me running, it meant that I was being chased and they should call for help.
Daily exercise just didn’t fit into my rigorous schedule of tv watching and sitting perfectly still. For the past few years, though, I have been making almost-daily trips to the gym or hitting the streets for a run or a bike ride. It took a while to get into it, but once I caught the workout bug, there was no going back.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of people who were just starting their weight loss/fitness journey. During the Q & A, one gentleman raised his hand and asked if there were days that I just didn’t feel like exercising and, if so, how I managed to find the motivation to do it.
I thought about it for a second and giggled when I realized that there is a moment before every workout that I think, “Ugh…do I have to?” The difference between the new me and the old me, however, is that I can finally say to myself, “Yes, you have to.”
There are several ways that you can get motivated to exercise. First of all, anyone who has ever hit that “runner’s high” or has felt the excitement after pushing their body to a new level knows that in itself can be a pretty strong motivator.
For the uninitiated, it’s hard to imagine that being sweaty and exhausted can actually feel good, but it can and it does. If that’s not enough for you, there are other ways to get up and off that couch.
The old saying “Do what you love, love what you do” applies not just to career aspirations, but to fitness as well. It may take you several tries, but once you find “your” activity and fall in love with it, you will find more excuses to do it than to not do it.
And, it helps to remember that it’s ok to fall out of love with something, too. I had a brief and torrid affair with step-aerobics a few years ago, but one day realized that I liked the view from atop a spin bike much better. (We’ve been together ever since.)
Sometimes, it helps to buddy-up. Having a “fitness bestie” is a great way to stay in the game. A like-minded friend, or a group of friends, can keep you accountable and push you towards your goals, just as long as you have a reciprocal agreement. If you set and achieve milestones together, you also get to celebrate them together. It’s a win-win situation. If you don’t have a partner to work-out with, consider group fitness classes, a personal trainer, or even a “virtual buddy”, in dvd or mp3 form.
Lastly, some people (myself included), are motivated by tangible things – seeing the numbers drop on the scale, or the pants loosening up, for example. If this is important to you, keep a couple of “before” pictures tucked away. When you start to lose your drive, look back at where you started.
Knowing how far you have come can often give you a little push to see how much further you can go. If you are trying to find motivation, there’s a good chance you’ll find it right inside yourself. You just have to know where to look.
Rebecca is a fitness instructor, blogger (Relish and Everything is ticketyboo! ), artist, reluctant morning person, and notorious killer-of-plants. She lives in a foliage-free home with her teenage son, Jacob.