Thursday, 23 January 2014

How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

 I like to exercise! All throughout my life I have indulged in some or the other kind of workouts. Its known and proven very well that exercising is good, nothing new in that. If you want to lose weight, exercise! If you want to get fit, exercise, if you have health issues, exercise! If you are stressed or depressed, exercise! Phew!!! The list is ongoing. However, I must confess that from the time I have become a mother, I was seeing all sorts of excuses to start with my workout and diet routines. I thought I will not find time with my little one, so let her be at least 6 months old and I will find some free time then came her 8 months and then her ten months. During this waiting time, while I was browsing the web I saw this particular pic. It was an eye opener and thought I will never get my free time for exercising, I need to find some. So I pulled out all my motivation and started with my diet and exercise regimes. Today I have become pretty consistent with these routines. This was not easy, but then followed few motivational methods (some mine and some from the web) which got me back on track.

A few weeks ago I picked up a book in my dad’s library whose cover page said “want to lose weight then read this”. I thought by just mere reading a book, will I lose weight? Well NO. This particular book was trying to build up your motivation levels to stick to your weight loss regimes.

Since I suspect that most of you also suffer gathering up the motivation to exercise and diet, I thought I would share some of the thighs that I have learned during this ‘getting back on track’ journey.

So here they are now:

Set a realistic goal and reward yourself
This is a very important step in your journey. Try not setting a goal that you will never achieve as you will only be disappointed and discouraged. Set small goals which will still push you to move forward and then reward yourself when you achieve these. For instance, you aimed and achieved to run for 20 minutes for 2 weeks in a row, you might want to buy a dress for yourself. Also remember you might want to stick to rewards that aren't food. 

Start at home.
I tried this myself and it worked for me. Before hitting the gym or any other exercise classes, I would recommend that you start doing some amount of Cardio or stretching at home. This will help you to feel not out of the league when you reach any gym or exercise classes. Then try to go to the gym at least 2 times in a week. This will also help you to start at your own pace and not getting discouraged seeing others.

Maintain a balanced diet
Before you even start on a diet to lose weight I would say try and do your exercises regularly first. Once you have got into the routine of exercising regularly, then start planning your diet. Planning your diet doesn’t mean you starve yourself. It is very easy to quit when you starve or crave for food. Instead, I would say plan a diet where you’re able to maintain a balanced diet. In my experience during dieting, I have noticed that I crave for foods that are lacking in my diet plan. For instance, if I crave for sweets then I realize that my diet plan is lacking the right amount of sugars/carbohydrates. And the same applies with fried foods or greasy foods. Remember, for a human body to work efficiently fats and carbohydrates are equally important as your proteins and vitamins. This craving will definitely kill your motivation to move forward. However, you need to have the right forms of fats and carbs, not the junk.  You decide, do you want the junk food you have craved for an hour or the body you have craved for a lifetime.

Find a role model to look up to
A person who is fit and healthy must have achieved this by following some routines. Try to follow their advice. Have their images stuck to fridge or background of your phone so that these can act as constant reminders of your goals. For me it was me, myself before my pregnancy. This was also realistic to me as I dint have any goals to ramp walk for anybody J.

Find your preferred method of exercising
It is important to establish which forms of workouts are suitable for you and also which ones you enjoy. Every form of exercise may not be suitable for you in some or the other way. If you know which form of work outs fits you then try to make it fun by adding some variety like change the place of your workout. Now for those who don’t have any preferred form, then try different methods every single week. Like trying treadmill for a week, then cross trainer then Pilates then yoga and then some dance classes and so on. Whichever you enjoyed the most stick to that. If you enjoyed all of them then keep juggling between all to keep the variety stuff up. This will not only add spice to your workouts but also use variety of muscle groups each time. My preferred method of exercising is doing some Cardio (on the treadmill / cross trainer) and Pilates. These keep me fit, healthy and most importantly, I enjoy these so I stick to them.

Get a buddy
You are most likely to get up and go to the gym if you know you have a friend coming over to pick you or waiting for you at the gym. This buddy can also keep accountable for your actions and push you a little outside your comfort zone, which is very important in increasing your fitness levels. For me, as a mother, finding a buddy was not easy. So I chose a person who was a mother herself. Although we both were not exercising together, instead we took turns to babysit our kids J. So she is still my buddy.

Make no excuses

                                             Getty Images
We often get an excuse to ourselves and hang around it and also are ready with it if anybody asks us a reason for our poor fitness or physical structure.  Often these excuses tend to make self-explanations to ourselves and stop what we are doing. So here are some top excuses and tiny tips to overcome. 

I don’t have time to work out – Seriously! You are busy I get it however you do find some time to go out with your family/kids or watch your favourite television show, right? Similarly, make some time and way to make health a priority. Include your workouts in your schedule like any other appointments or squeeze it on weekends. The bottom line is you must make time.
I have tried to lose weight before, but I just can’t do it – Now come on, if it is important to you, you will find a way not an excuse. The hardest thing about exercising is to start doing it. Once you are exercising regularly, trust me the hardest thing will be to stop.
I have too many business dinners and social gatherings. I can’t control even if I want to. Aha! This one, most of our favourite. Now if you are worried that you will offend people when they bring or offer you some food which is not suitable then you could just simply say no thank you or even better you yourself offer to bring them something.
Travel a lot and can’t get into a routine – I know this one is hard. But I am sure you can still do something if not everything of your regimes. Try to carry your own snacks if possible. Check in to hotels with gym services. Do some simple exercises in your hotel room. Also when you order food, order with high care, like foods that are grilled or baked, steamed veggies and so on.  
My friends /family eat poorly and it makes it difficult for me to eat healthy – I think you need to take responsibility on your own. Tell them what are your health priorities and goals. Ask them to help you in achieving them. Also, if they are eating and exercising poorly you should be the one to enlighten them ask them to follow your path. If not, then ask them not to push you on wrong path either.

Have patience with yourself
It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Give it the full 12 weeks. DON’T QUIT

Now, over to you, dear readers.  Do you have anything that motivates you to exercise?