Let’s chat briefly about getting on an exercise program. I know with the start of a new year it is often the marker for many to either start one or if they’ve been side tracked, get back on it again.
Regardless of what camp you are in, it’s not easy to get into that disciplined routine.
We have good intentions but often those can be pushed aside because we’re tired, feel we don’t have the time, or we simply lack the initial drive to prepare ourselves to go.
Short and Sweet
When we think of getting into our chosen exercise, there is often the idea that it has to be all or nothing or an hour long session to count. This simply isn’t true. In fact, if you haven’t worked out in awhile you should aim for shorter workouts to let your body ease back into it, mentally and physically.
Where to start?
Honestly, getting into my workout clothes immediately centers me for what I’m going to do. Have certain clothes or shoes you use for your activities.
Start small. Certainly you could take 15 -20 minutes to go for a walk or run, do a bike ride or lift some weights.
Determine the best time of day. I know if I don’t get my workouts done in the morning, it won’t happen later in the day. It sets a tone for my day and gives me an immediate sense of accomplishment after my workout. For you, evening may be better. Whichever it is, find the time best for you that you can stick to.
All movement counts I’ve been guilty of thinking that because my workout was shorter that somehow it may not count as much. It crossed my mind coming in from “only” 2.25 miles yesterday morning ( in the 25 degree morning!) I reminded myself it far beat staying inside doing nothing!
Same for you. Whatever purposeful movement you choose trumps doing absolutely nothing. Start small and make it your goal to increase your time and days. Before long you will have built your own disciplined exercise regimen. 😊
I’m in the midst of reading a book ( among many other projects) right now. With so many active things to keep me moving, getting still to read is a treat.Not only am I carefully reading through the smart, intelligent writing of this book, I’m also fact gathering for the book review I will write on it. The book is titled “Give Yourself More” by Georgie Fear and K. Aleisha Fetters. ” a science backed six part plan for women to hit their weight loss goals “I had the pleasure of writing reviews for Georgie’s book “Lean Habits For Weight Loss”, both editions. Be sure to check those out in my past posts.What I love about this book so far is the sound truths women need to hear and be reminded of.You are enough. It’s ok to take up space, to be strong and powerful.It’s ok to eat food, real food that is healthy, tasty and nutritious.I’m so tired of seeing ads, sales posts, multi level marketing companies etc telling women the only way to lose weight is to go on a cleanse or fast. That they need to detox their bodies to get healthy. That they have to be miserable, hungry, live off shakes and pre-made who knows what fake foods, or denied of adequate food to lose weight. Really, how fun IS it to be at a party or out to dinner and you are sitting there watching everyone enjoy themselves while you are denying yourself the pleasure of good food? Why when you can enjoy in moderation and balance and not sabatoge your goals, really you can.Ah! I digress.I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m just so dang passionate about this topic.I was talking about exerciseA few years back, I wasn’t on the “exercise is awesome” train. Like many of you I viewed it as a painful chore to get done.Something I “had ” to do to lose weight or to validate myself in some way.Like many of you, I’d determine a day I was starting and I was going to get it done.Once for all, I’d become permanently hooked on it.Then I’d crash and burn a couple weeks into it. Sound familiar to you? I’ve seen far to many people get on social media with a similar agenda. There are so many consistent similarities I can almost see the end before it starts.Why is it like that? Thankfully, I’ve learned a whole lot about myself these past few years and what exercise means to me. I pushed through those initial weeks, then months, and moved to a whole beautiful world on the other side.I love my workouts, I miss them when they don’t happen. I love how they make me feel, mentally and physically. I love the side effects of building a strong body.There are so many wonderful benefits when you stay strong and push through your mental struggles to do it.Oh, the bookYes, I was telling you about what I was reading.The author asked ( me, you, the reader) how we viewed exercise.Did we see it as a form of punishment, something to atone for the foods we ate, something to get done to lose weight? These ideas are geared towards us becoming “less”. To be Smaller, take up less space, be less. We are critical with our bodies picking out flaws or short comings, focusing on what is “wrong” with us instead of celebrating our body for all the awesome things it can do.It was mentioned that as ( women) we’ve lost the ability to enjoy movement, something as simple as a walk in the evening or playing outside with our kids.Our bodies are designed and made for movement.Yet we’ve made it something to dread or a form of punishment for eating the very food our bodies need for fuel.We’ve bought into the ” no pain no gain” mentality. That we must hurt or suffer for it to matter.Not true.A personal perspective During my strength training yesterday I was thinking about how people can view exercise as punishment. I’m long past that and although often “work ” I enjoy and appreciate exercise. I love the feel of my heart beating strongly, the deep breathes from my lungs and the sweat pouring off of me.I was also thinking about progress and appreciating our bodies even if we aren’t happy with something. And I thought about how I can lift things 99% of people around me can’t do.Like my 185 dead lift, or my 110 bench press, or doing butterfly situps with a 35 lb weight plate, and renegade rows with 25lb dumbbells and so much more…. And I thought about how freaking awesome my body is, middle-aged and all, tipping more towards the 60s after my last birthday, but how much stronger and more powerful it is now than it ever has been. And that my friends, is the bomb. 😁The Joy Of Exercise I guess you could say by now I have ( mostly ) 😀 found the joy of exercise. I have found the ability to appreciate it, for how it makes me feel and not use it as a means to the end.So how do you get that? How do you walk that path that turns into consistency and is built into your daily life?* think of activities you truly enjoy and start there. Do you enjoy feeling the evening air on your face after dinner? Go for a walk around the block. The next day do it twice. Think about what you see and feel. Just enjoy the movement of being outside. *Focus on activities that you will be consistent in.*Strive for at least 30 minutes to do your activity, most days of the week.* Be positive about your body, thinking of the ways it is serving you in that activity.* What do you want to get better at? What goals can you set to do that? When I started running nothing made me want to get better at what I was doing than having an event to train for. Since I was my only competition I was always looking for ways to improve my running game.* Don’t use your activites with the idea of weight loss or for punishment for eating. Appreciate your body for all the awesome things it can do for you!* Plan in variety. The more activities you can choose from the less you will be likely to feel bored with constant repetition of the same activity. My physical activities have ranged from running to cycling, rowing, weight lifting, boxing, walking, and the elliptical. Every day I pick a different activity, or activities. Exercise is now, more than ever, important for our mental and physical well being. Love your body, appreciate it, and offer it exercise as a form of self care, not punishment.Tell me, what has been your mindset on exercise ? Punishment for eating or a tool for weight loss? Or an activity to be celebrated and enjoyed?
I was updating my Instagram account recently and after I had finished was just randomly scrolling through different accounts. I follow so many people who are strong and active. They are amazing athletes and their physical bodies are carved from the work they invest to their sport. They do big things that encourage and remind me I can keep on shooting for the stars when it comes to pursuing bigger goals.
Then there are the accounts that are almost **yawn** same old, same old, women posed into a mirror, butts popped out ( the bigger the better now days, right?), tight shirts with artificial breasts spilling out, zero body fat, lean abs, plenty of makeup…. you may have seen pages like that. Many proclaim to be fitness trainers, personal trainers etc
I’m not like, being critical here, I’m just saying my goals and efforts are aimed in a different direction. What I choose to follow reflects my pursuits.
I want to be out working hard and looking like a hot mess with no make up, sweat flying every where as I crush another workout…or it crushes me… haha
As I glanced at one of these accounts one of the captions jumped out at me. I’ve seen it before in various places…
“Contact me to help get your dream body today!”
Listen, the amount of fitness “coaches” on IG is as plentiful as flies at a summer picnic on the potato salad.
Some are most likely legit, others, well the jury might still be out.
That being said, no one will help you get your dream body but you and few will achieve it.
Ok, so why won’t they?
When I got my Charger R/T Max 2 years ago, I was a happy camper. ( I still am) Aside from looking like it can eat your lunch, I can hit it on the highway in mere seconds to head spinning speeds ( hubby loves it when I tell him that…. haha… not.)
Not to mention it has tons of other super cool features too it but this isn’t a car and road post so I won’t bore you 😉
The car I would’ve LOVED to have scooped up if ya know, the money thing wasn’t an issue, would’ve been the Charger SRT Hellcat.
Hello 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds which makes my 0-60 in 8 seem…slow….
There are limited editions made each year and they also go to people who bust their butts and work for them. The people who own them have had to invest a lot to get that amazing car. They don’t have it without putting in the work for it.
You following me here?
People who have amazing bodies or maybe their “dream” body, have had to bust their butt and work for it. And they have to work hard.
Well what does that look like, the illusive dream body?
Well, that of course could vary person to person. So many women today seem to want what’s pushed on them through social media or what they see in magazines. I guess it would be a similar thing for guys too.
I mean really, when I started on my journey 8 years ago if you’d asked me I would’ve said my dream body would be strong, functional and most of all healthy. It’s still at the top of my list now, even more so.
I’m not overly hung up on having my body try and look certain ways.
Abs though… ok… well maybe those are up there… 😉
There’s just something about those lines and ripples that I kinda dig. And being that I’m getting closer and closer to my Senior citizen discount breakfast, I consider it a victory of sorts.
But that doesn’t come without work and effort. And sometimes I’m more cut depending on my training and how lean I’m getting. It’s a process I’ve learned to roll with
Really though, my goals are to keep my body strong and healthy so I can do life and do my athletic stuff for a long time. I don’t need to try and shape myself into the current “trend”. I have though, been shaped by the very activities I enjoy doing so it’s almost a side effect, my changing body composition, to what I do.
It’s ok though to have your own personal goals or perhaps “image” of what you want to strive for. In fact, it would be helpful pursuing it if you did know what you wanted.
Maybe your ultimate dream body would be losing weight and being 50 pounds less.
Perhaps you want to strive for a weight you were when you were younger ( not always the best sometimes) the weight you were when you were younger might not be as suited for you being older when 5 or 10 lbs would be more flattering
You may want to have a body with more visible muscle or maybe you want a body that can go run a 5k. Maybe you haven’t been able to run and it’s a dream of yours.
But for the illusive body of strong muscled proportions with low body fat and seemingly perfect appearance, like the Hellcat, most will not invest what’s required to make it happen to own it.
It’s that discipline thing
We aren’t given things in life, for most of us, we have to work for them. The same goes for our bodies.
When I see someone who’s really fit, and yeah they stand out, it’s hard for me to not admire them. And I don’t mean in a weird way, I admire them for what I know it took them to get there, I admire the discipline I know is a part of their life because that’s the major thing to starting towards any goal.
It takes discipline to get out the door, to the gym, to run, to cycle to intentionally go lift really heavy things. It takes discipline to go to Crossfit or those nightly classes for strength. It takes discipline to eat well and past on foods or drinks that don’t support those goals.
But we want the easy way sometimes, right?
Nothing makes me feel more sad than to see smart people commenting on weight loss posts clamoring at the latest “miracle” that will quickly help them lose weight and get their dream body. The sad fact is, all they will lose is their money and even if it did work, it certainly wouldn’t teach them the discipline and drive needed to be successful at it, and keep at it.
The bottom line is, people just don’t realize how hard it will be.
All the other factors
there are so many other things that will hinder someone from the pursuit of their “dream” body.
Procrastination. Stop putting it off till “Monday” or after a “holiday” or whatever, just start. Procrastination is the killer of dreams.
It’s hard! Understand changing your body won’t be easy and but when you get that, you’ll be in the right frame of mind.
No room for error is allowed. There will be a day you just want a cookie, or two. This is not a reason to throw in towel and go on an all out binge or think you’ve failed. . Those cookies won’t take down your hard work, but a food binge will make you feel bad physically and mentally. Eat it and move on.
You’re hungry. Eat adequate food, enough but not to much and make sure each meal has plenty of protein, that’s your friend to keep you from getting hungry.
You workout hard, but eat harder. Don’t use your workouts to justify eating more food.
You drink a lot of calories. Seriously, all those sugary drinks whether coffees or sodas, smoothies, shakes, all those calories add up and liquid calories also leave you hungry sooner. Watch your consumption of those things.
You over complicate things. Really, losing weight is a pretty straightforward process. If you want to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. If you want to gain some muscle, eat more and lift heavier weights. Don’t get caught up in all the trends… “don’t eat dairy or grains or whatever”, “don’t eat after 7″ ,”eat 6 meals a day” “eat all the fat!” etc etc. Don’t complicate the system.
Understand friends or family won’t always cheer you or support your efforts. Focus on you and don’t worry about the rest.
Calories matter. I’m not a calorie counter but I do understand my body has a specific amount it can operate on to support my life and activities, more than that I gain weight, less I’ll lose. Same for you. Know what you need and learn to operate in that zone.
You aren’t motivated enough. We all have our “thing” that can drive us. Find what motivates you to chase after your goals. Without motivation, you aren’t going anywhere.
You only think in short term limits. 30 days out, 60 days out. Most “plans” only make you think that far like you aren’t going to want to keep going or need direction past that. You need long term goals as well. Your body goals won’t be accomplished in a matter of weeks or a couple months. Where will you be in a year or two?
You are always comparing yourself to others or worse, Hollywood stars or your more fit friend. Stop it. You are you. You won’t look like them or be shaped like them. You have a different muscle structure and body size. Learn to appreciate every single inch of who you are. Looking at others and comparing will only make you feel bad about yourself.
Don’t let someone tell you that you look “okay”. Really. Why would anyone ever discourage someone from improving themselves by saying they look “okay”? That’s a key word for just stay as you are.
You don’t even have a solid idea of what your “dream” body is. Without some concrete ideas, you will be spinning your wheels. Have ideas of what you’d like to work towards or achieve, it will help move you to your goals and know how you need to plan.
You haven’t visualized how awesome it will feel to have your body the way you want it. Like anything that takes hard work and discipline, building your body or changing it will take a lot of work but it’s totally possible when you make a commitment to it and discipline yourself to do the things that will get you there.
That discipline word…
I enjoy helping and encouraging others on their health and fitness journeys. I’m certainly not an “expert” but I’ve learned a lot over the past few years. The biggest thing I had to remind a young woman of the other day is that right now, where she’s at, she is building the discipline of taking herself out each day for her exercise.
Discipline is crucial for her long term success.
It’s great to think you’ll always be motivated with the idea of pursuing your dream body, your goal weight or your muscled arms. The reality is you won’t, I won’t ,no one will always be motivated to get up and do the work required.
When you’ve been consistent and have built daily discipline through your fitness routines, you will fall into that when motivation is lagging.
There are days it is purely my discipline that gets me out on the road. I know that once I’m out there, I will then do what I’m there to do. Some days might be stronger or faster than others but the fact remains, I got out there. I didn’t make an excuse to not go get it done.
Our goals are often lost in our excuses of reasons why we “can’t” do something.
Know what you want and go for it.
Understand that having a different body will require work, effort, and a ton of self discipline to build it. No one will do it for you. No one will be pushing you ( unless you get a tough personal trainer) but at the end of the day it will come down to the effort you put into your eating and exercise.
Get real with your ideas and goals, determine what you need to do, don’t procrastinate and start taking steps to making it happen.
Do you have an ideal “dream” body? Do you have goals you want for yourself? How attainable do they feel to you?
Motivation. the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.
Motivation: we need it in life to accomplish anything we put our minds too. Without it we lack the ability to get anything done. Some days we are more motivated than others. Some, we don’t care if we get off the sofa all afternoon.
For instance a day like today… cool, cloudy, rainy, it screams… “Stay home and lay on the sofa all day and read!”
I didn’t… I’m actually at Starbucks writing this blog right now so at least I’ll have some level of productivity today 😉
Sometimes, let’s be honest, it’s hard to sustain a constant level of motivation.
Let’s take that over to exercise. I believe sooo many people have good intentions when it comes to doing it. They start off in the week feeling highly motivated to do their chosen activity and then as the week wears on, their motivation begins to lag.
If ONLY we could keep that at a constant level.
Motivation can be a fickle thing.
Do we need more than a “pull yourself up and drag yourself to the dreaded task motivation ?”
I think so.
In the beginning we do need a level of motivation to get going. We have our reasons to do it and that carries us for a bit.
However, at a point something new takes over, or it has to since as we all know, motivation can lag and eventually disappear.
What is that? you might be wondering as you sit there tossing down your coffee…. what is the “thing”?
Discipline :The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior.
“the practice of training” .
Disciple begins to be the next step when motivation has moved you out the door.
Discipline is what takes over and moves you out of bed into your workout clothes. It reminds you that you will NOT be happy with yourself if you come up with some lame excuse to not get it done. It is the thing that becomes wired in you to help you accomplish new goals.
I often get asked how I stay so “motivated” but the honest truth is, motivation is not what drives me anymore. It’s pure discipline that’s been hard wired in me now.
Discipline is what makes me structure exercise as a part of my morning routine, makes me put on workout gear first thing when I get up, and already have planned my athletic adventures for the day.
Discipline moves me outside when the weather is less than ideal or I don’t “feel” like it. ( I always feel like it once I get going) Discipline reminds me of my goals and it also reminds me of how awesome I’ll feel when I finish.
Discipline can see ahead and not just the day I’m in. It knows that what I do today, makes me stronger for tomorrow.
Discipline says that goals are not reached by sitting back and doing nothing, or not making it a priority. Discipline doesn’t allow excuses to come in and justify not doing it.
Motivation, can be a much more fickle beast but it’s the first step towards a more disciplined life.
Remember the difference…
Motivation has a “general desire”
Discipline is “the practice of training”.
Motivation is great to get you moving, but always aim towards a lifestyle of discipline in your endeavors.
Do you see a difference in motivation and discipline? Have you learned the difference in your life?
Yesterday my son tagged me in a funny video that he knew would make me laugh.
It was a woman who was over weight attempting to ” eat her veggies”. Actually, it was one brussel sprout, cut in half, on a plate.
I should mention, it was also steamed. One steamed brussel sprout.
She attempts to eat it, and finally gives up sobbing and crying that she can’t.
Ok, well I’m pretty sure it was all staged for entertainment purposes, but it did get me thinking.
Crazy things get me thinking….
So many behaviors in our lives are “learned” behaviors, or things we’ve trained ourselves to do.
Think about it… we’ve trained ourselves to get up at the same time, prepare for our days in most likely similar ways, how we dress and how are days are structured are all things we’ve trained ourselves to do. How and what and when we eat all fall in ways we have trained ourselves.
We’ve trained ourselves to eat healthy foods, or we haven’t. We’ve trained ourselves to eat healthy balanced meals, or we’ve trained ourselves to go through the local fast food place.
Habits… but none the less…. we’ve trained ourselves into these behaviors…good or bad.
I began to take that idea further by looking at it in the ways of how we eat and drink.
When someone tells me they “don’t like vegetables” or they “don’t eat them” or “they just can’t find time to exercise” or ” they’re to busy to workout” or they “need” soda, or they have to go through a drive thru because they are “starving” and the list can go on…
Those are definitely areas in someone’s life that have to been “trained”, they need to have a new discipline built in to them.
It made me think about things like this that people have trained themselves to do…
driving through a fast food place for “a snack”, buying a coke and candy bar in the gas station, stopping for a donut with the morning coffee, eating foods that are out in the break room at work, having treats at home that aren’t healthy, reaching for seconds at dinner long after your appetite is satisfied, bringing home a 6 pack to drink while you watch tv, sleeping in instead of getting up earlier to give your body the exercise it deserves….
All of these things and more are things people have taught themselves to do… learned behaviors….
Meaning, you can also train yourself in new ways as well.
Often someone has good intentions but you know what? It can be hard to retrain those not so good habits with better ones. It does require a level of discipline and real desire to make it happen. Sometimes you are working against a lifetime of trained habits.
You have to train yourself to replace not so healthy foods with healthier ones. No, it’s not easy. Your body is accustomed to how you’ve been feeding it. I can tell you, as you begin to eat healthier foods, your tastes will change and you will begin to find those once so “desirable” foods and drinks will have less pull on you. Some things will actually start to taste different to you and it makes it easier to not eat them.
If you begin to train your body that it needs to get up a bit earlier in the morning to get purposeful exercise done before you start your day, in time, it will become your new normal. If evening is better for you, you will begin to carve out time for yourself at the end of the day. Making small, purposeful steps will begin training you for a more active lifestyle.
Retraining yourself to build new disciplines and habits isn’t easy, but with consistency and daily forward movement you can and will be successful 🙂