By nature I love to exercise and workout, but like anyone there are those days that I just really, really don't want to. Here's the deal with me though: I rely on exercise and physical activity to make me feel happy and snap me out of any funk I get into. It may sound weird, but without regular workout sessions I start to feel down, lose energy, and feel listless and somewhat depressed. I need to move my body in order to feel good, so I know that on those days when all I want to do is stay in bed and lounge around, are the days I most need to get up and go!
The other night I was in the middle of a writing project. I already had my pajamas on, and I suddenly realized that because of Hank's band practice, I wouldn't be able to get to the gym the following day. That night was my only chance to get a good workout in, and if I didn't go then I probably wouldn't be able to go until the day after next. Ugh. So I sat there for awhile thinking about it, so comfy in our big downy blankets, surrounded by pillows and sipping some tea- so relaxed, my hair up, listening to the easy listening station on Pandora (okay I made that last part up). But really, I just wasn't in the mood.
Guess what though? I went. I gave myself my usual pep talk, the talk that almost always gets me out of my lazy mood and into my motivation zone, laced up my sneakers and headed out the door. I knew that I'd be happier going than not going, and on my way to the gym I thought about how I should share a bit of my little pep talks here with all of you. If you're anything like me, any bit of motivation is always a good thing.
So here's a little of it:
First of all, I run the whole picture through in my mind. I think about how comfortable I am. How easy it would be to just lay in bed, stay on the couch, whatever. I think about how nice it is to just watch television or play online. But then I think about the next day and how disappointed in myself I'd be that I didn't take advantage of my time and just go. I think about going. I imagine myself lacing up my shoes, heading out the door, walking into the gym. I picture myself doing cardio, zoning out for a good hour, listening to good music. Lifting weights, doing ab exercises. And then finally, I visualize myself leaving the gym. Walking out those doors after a hard workout, feeling on top of the world because I accomplished something. I'm sure you know that feeling. If you workout first thing in the morning (my personal preference) you are so ready to start your day and it totally sets you up for success. I picture that in my mind, and most often than not knowing how I will feel afterward totally inspires me to head to the gym or out for run or walk.
I also try to think of the gym as a treat. And to me, it is. I love being home with Hank and Henry whenever possible, but having a couple hours to myself to listen to music and just be is the best. I always come home so recharged and ready to be a better wife and Mom. Plus, no one wants a cranky lady filling up the house with her negativity, and if I don't get some exercise time in you can bet that's exactly what happens. Sometimes when I'm in the laziest of lazy moods I'll tell myself that I'll just go for 20 minutes. And at the end of the 20 minutes I promise myself that I can get right off of the machine and head home, and get back to whatever I was doing. I don't think there's every been a time I've only stayed for twenty minutes and then left, because whenever I get myself going I don't usually want to stop.
Most of all though I really try and think of time spent exercising- be it outside on a walk, at the gym, or even in front of the television via workout video- as me time. And we all need me time. I think it's so important to not view it as punishment or something to dread, but as something to look forward to, because you know how great you'll feel about yourself when you're done. And like I said above, play that whole picture through your mind- remember how fantastic you will feel when you're done, and focus on that. After you take that first step out of the door it gets a whole lot easier.
Some quick things that help me stay motivated:
1. Work out first thing in the morning. I love getting my exercise in and over with before most people are even awake, and this way nothing can get in the way of it, including my tired self at the end of the day. And because I need to go at 5am in order to be home before Hank and Henry wake up, I sleep in my workout clothes (sports bra and all), and keep my shoes right next to the bed. When my alarm goes off at 4:45am I have that "nooooo" moment, but then I realize I'm already dressed and my shoes are right there. It's too easy not to go. And once your shoes are on, you're good.
2. Break it up throughout the day. It can be hard to get a solid hour or two to workout if you work long hours or are someone who has a family to take care of or friends to spend time with. Plus, gym memberships can be expensive and it's not for everyone. Try taking a 20 minutes walk at lunch, and then doing some exercises to a video for 20 minutes in the evening. Be open-minded and fit it in wherever you can. If that means doing crunches, squats and jumping jacks during commercial breaks for The Bachelor, then by all means, do it!
3. Just go on a walk. I think about this a lot. Sometimes I'll find myself not wanting like going to the gym because I don't want to see anyone I know or I just plain don't feel like it. In a mood like that, DVDs probably sound totally unappealing and I couldn't imagine doing that silly Tae Bo workout again. Those are the days I lace up my sneakers, put Henry in his stroller, and walk for an hour or so. It feels so good to get outside and it always clears my head to get some fresh air. Stop making excuses of why you don't want to do this or that, and just go on a walk. It's the easiest thing, and it's something that always makes me feel better when I'm done.
4. Have a motivation buddy. My Mom is mine. Whenever I don't feel like working out I call her and more than likely whine about how I feel so "blah" and don't feel like going to the gym. Every time she says something along the lines of "but think about how great you'll feel when you're done! I say go. Seriously." And it pushes me right out the door. Make a deal with a friend that you will call or text them when you're feeling unmotivated, and have them motivate you! Do the same for them. And I'd give you my Mom's number, but I don't think she'd like that very much. ;)
5. This site. Some of it is silly and a few of the photos they use are a little intense for me, but I love it all the same. Awesome, awesome site for fitness motivation and it's as simple as a few clicks to get in the right frame of mind.
Do you have anything that helps you stay motivated? I'd love to add it to my bag of tricks so feel free to share below. Happy exercising! xoxo