Motivation Tips for the Fitness Minded
Getting Out (Even If You Can’t Get It Up)--
My relationship with exercise tends to put more stress on me than any other relationship in my life. But before I explore that, I should make it clear: Yes you, and all of us, have some (twisted as it may be) relationship with exercise. Mine is particularly stressful because though I know this relationship is good for me, I’m just not quite willing to put the time and effort in that exercise deserves. And exercise has been there for me through the years…I remember when I came back from traveling and needed to get rid of approximately eight pounds worth of pies I’d eaten in Auckland. Exercise was there then. When I needed to de-stress after hours of cramming for freshman year G.E. requirement classes I could give a hoot about. Exercise was there too. When I was just generally feeling like a “fat man,” a term of endearment my boyfriend calls my 120 pound frame, well… exercise held me in its loving embrace.
If only I could find it, that drive, that want, that something that pulls all those joggers out of bed at 6 a.m. to do their tired looking commute around my block…then and only then can exercise and I truly form a more perfect union. Until then we’ll continue to have this half assed booty call relationship. (That generally does stem from me looking at a very protruding booty.) Motivation is the key to any good relationship, and until we can learn to utilize motivational mechanisms to get us out the door and into the gentle arms of the elliptical, then we can never hope to achieve whatever fitness goals we have.
1. Moment of TruthSometimes I find that I only feel like I want to work out maybe 15 minutes total during the day. So, I made a pact with myself. I will only go to the gym when I FEEL like it…but I MUST go when I do. So when this sense of desire comes on, drop what you’re doing and full speed sprint to the 24 Hour. This may be hard during work, but think about it, even if you hold down a full time job or are taking a full load, that’s only about 40 hours a week. There’s got to be one minute somewhere in there that you’re not at a place of work, worship, or whatever that you can get off your rump and work out. So when that moment comes on by, go bye with it. Pick up your Nikes and head for the door.
2. Change it UpFitness funks happen. A lot of times we don’t know why, but that’s the same with relationships. Sometimes you’ve just lost that lovin’ feeling, and baby, it‘s time to switch it up. You’d trade in a boring nightly dinner for a picnic in the park with the guy or gal of your choosing if you wanted to spice things up relationship wise. So do your relationship with exercise a favor and follow suit. If you’ve been doing kickboxing once a week for the past year, find something new. Try a Pilates class instead. Been glued to the bike? Take the dog out and rollerblade already. There’s only one way to find out if your lack of want to work out is caused by your routine and that’s to ditch it. But don’t worry, because unlike in real relationships, your yoga mat is just as willing to take you back if you should stray.
3. The Gym-Buddy Principle- Version 2.0Everyone has heard of the gym buddy system. But there are a few different takes on this age old strategy that might work well for some. For starters, it’s not really beneficial to gym-go with your best friend…if she’s just like you, (and duh, she’s your best friend, so she is), when you don’t want to go to the gym, she’s probably very likely to want to indulge your dreams of Ben and Jerry as well. But, if you have a TRUE gym buddy, not just a friend, the chances are you’ll feel obligated to go.
So try this-get fixed up. Have a friend partner you up with another friend. You’ll feel compelled not to make your friend look bad and actually go. Sometimes local gyms will have bulletin boards advertising the same kind of deal. Or, do this online. Findgymbuddies.com is a site I just discovered where you can search for compatible gym partners in your area. True, bringing someone else into a dysfunctional relationship is not always the best strategy, but for gym-ish woes, I think you’ve found a loop hole.
4. Get on someone else’s schedule.No matter how hard I try, sometimes I just can’t do what I need to do with all the free time I have. So, going along the lines of the last tip, I rely on someone else. But, instead of having that person go to the gym and provide squat support, I simply “report” to them, before or after gym-ing.
The trick is this…to keep myself in check, I started having a friend pick me up on their way home from work. I simply bike over to the gym, do a simple workout, and then, to keep me accountable, I have a friend, who gets off at five religiously, simply come snag me on the way. It’s not just a “promise to be there” thing, it’s also a type of reward. Many times we get coffee, yogurt, or a quick bite on the way back. I look forward to this and so it keeps me coming back. (The trade off is I have to walk my friend’s yappy mutt on Saturdays when she goes to class.)