Do you struggle finding motivation for the gym?
I do. My mood to engage the gym varies day by day, but I’ve found an easy method to get myself to the gym and I will share this secret strategy with you.
Two years ago, I struggled to feel good. I’d wake up at night feeling unhealthy and gross. My body often felt weak. I hadn’t been to the gym in years, and I was lacking in the physical exercise department. Whenever I talked about getting back “in shape,” people would say:
“But you’re so small already!”
But being small is not related to overall health. The biggest factor is how you feel day to day. Be honest—how do YOU feel about yourself day to day? If you don’t feel great (as I didn’t), then find the courage to get stronger and care for your body. How you feel affects your relationships, work, and daily responsibilities. Focus on feeling GOOD. Let me help motivate you.
First, let’s discuss the benefits of exercise.
1) Physical strength
Instead of exercising to lose weight, exercise to gain strength! As you get stronger, your body will appear healthier, which might include gaining weight in the form of muscle mass—so scale numbers are not everything! When you feel weak, find ways to increase body strength. Start small by walking around the block, and then work up to running a mile! Begin with light weights and progress to heavier weights. Kick off your new adventure by starting where you feel comfortable. Don’t be intimidated by the progress of others; instead, use their markers for motivation. When you start feeling stronger, you won’t want to stop your advancement!
2) Mental health
Exercising your body soothes your mind. While you build your physical self, let your mind escape society’s fiasco by tuning into another world. Whether it’s good music, an informative podcast, or just clanking gym weights, your mind can relax. We are constantly bombarded by loud noise, so exercising lets the peace and quiet to seep into your inner being. When I finish a grueling workout, my mind feels refreshed and ready for the day. Exercising is like airing out your mind—it’s needed!
3) General well-being
Have you ever heard of runner’s high? It’s the feeling of being on top of the world, a sense of general well-being during exercise. You can experience this! Exercise calms anxiety and induces happiness. Although chemical processes in the body may be controversial, I can attest to this: I feel happier on the days I work out. My overall sense of well-being increases dramatically as I exercise.
Now that you’ve read about exercise benefits, you may feel the urge to visit the gym or turn on the TV for an online exercise class. That’s great, and you should do it! Don’t feel overwhelmed by your health goals. Begin with baby steps and commend yourself along the way. Here are some great tips to take your kindled exercise desire and foster it into a roaring flame.
1) Set goals
Begin your journey by setting fitness goals. Make them simple. If your goal is losing 40 pounds, lose 5 pounds first. Oftentimes larger fitness goals can lead to exhaustion as you hit road blocks. Start small, and reward yourself often! Be your biggest cheerleader. When I began my fitness journey, my goal was simple: I wanted to feel better in my body. Goals can be that simple! I didn’t start with a weight loss or muscle mass NUMBER; I simply wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin! A goal gives you something to work towards.
2) Work hard but be forgiving
Apply diligent effort to your goal, but forgive yourself if you slip up or miss a day. When you beat yourself up, you lose motivation as enjoyment decreases. Missing a day, or a few, does not mean your goals are unachievable! It just means you need to get your butt back in gear. Try not to completely slide down the mountain and stop exercising for weeks on end because it’s difficult to start again, and oftentimes people just quit. Keep going!
3) Be realistic
Only you know how your body performs, so be realistic with your expectations. Maybe you have an underlying health issue, so you can’t run as far. That’s okay! Work around body limits and find a groove! My friend severely injured her leg a few years back, so she can’t run long distances. She found different cardio exercises that do not strain her leg. Don’t push yourself to the point of damage!
4) Start small
If you establish a big goal, it’s okay to achieve it with small steps. Maybe your goal is gym workouts five days a week. Start with twice a week; then strive for three times the following week, and progress up to five. Honestly, I used this strategy to get back to five workouts a week and it worked for me. It’s easy picturing ONE extra day at the gym as no big deal, and eventually you are cranking five days! Use this strategy for weights and other obstacles as well. Maybe you want to run a mile in 10 minutes – slowly work up to it by decreasing 10 seconds from each run, until you hit your mark!
5) Focus on FEELING GOOD
The most important thing about getting back into an exercise routine is feeling good about it. If you don’t like your routine, change it up or seek professional advice and direction. You are the most important part of your exercise equation, so find a routine that works for you physically and mentally. Your main goal is to feel GOOD.
I hope this blog helps inspire you to be your best physical self and strive to continually improve your well-being. I can attest that exercise has improved my general well-being and my goal is to hit the gym several times a week. I don’t break myself if I don’t make a weekly goal, but I’m understanding, and I try to meet it the next. At the end of the day, LOVE YOURSELF!