Do you find it hard to get motivated to work out? You’re not alone. Contrary to what you may see on social media, many people feel this way. But Tony Horton wants to help you get fit and healthy for life. Read on to learn how to get fit when you’re feeling time-poor, overwhelmed, lazy, or just generally uninspired.
The Importance Of Exercise
Here’s the thing: you know it’s important to exercise. It’s not just about looking or feeling good (though those things are great motivators). It’s about giving yourself the best chance of living a long, healthy life. The American Heart Association recommends 2.5 hours of “heart-pumping” physical activity per week for optimal health.1 You can think of that as getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. But simply knowing what to do (and how often) won’t always motivate the average person. If you’re desperate to get fit and change the way you feel about exercising, then that change must start in your mind. And so, you’ll want to think about this question…
Why Do You Want To Get In Shape?
By digging into the personal reasons behind this question, you’re going to find clues into what motivates and inspires you. If your answers look something like this, you’re well on your way:
- I want to look fitter/more athletic.
- I want to lose weight.
- I’m worried about my health.
- I know that physical exercise keeps my mind centered and healthy.
However, if your answers tend to read more like this, you’re going to have to dig a little deeper in your own heart:
- My parents/girlfriend/best friend think I’m overweight.
- My fiance wants me to lose weight for our wedding.
- My doctor says I need to exercise.
- My girlfriend wants me to be her gym partner.
Here’s the difference: When you really want something and feel strongly about it, it’s easy to find ways to motivate your brain to do it.2 Because it’s your personal goal with a prize that you want. But when someone else wants you to do something for them, your brain may find it much harder to get motivated. You may even fight against it because you feel like you’re having to please someone else (or that you’re being forced).
Set Empowering (And Realistic) Fitness Goals
No matter which category you fall into above, the key is to set yourself an empowering and realistic fitness goal – one that motivates you, and you alone, and one that’s super specific. For example, saying, “I want to lose weight” is a very broad statement. First, it doesn’t do much to excite you. Second, it doesn’t set a specific weight loss goal. So, what makes a goal both empowering and realistic?
An Empowering Goal
An empowering goal can excite you. So, rather than saying, “I want to lose weight,” think about the reasons why you want to lose weight – your reasons, no one else’s. All of these reasons are examples of empowering goals:
- I want to look great for my wedding next year.
- I want to be healthy enough to see my kids/grandkids grow up.
- I want to travel to Europe and have enough energy to explore all the incredible sites.
- I want to feel good about my appearance and health, and I’m ready for a change.
- I want to fit back into my favorite jeans.
- I want to hike Machu Picchu.
A Realistic Goal
A realistic goal might help make your goal feel more achievable. It should never feel impossible. If your goal is, “I want to lose 50 pounds,” it’s just too overwhelming for your brain to latch onto. So your brain will more likely want to just give up and stay on the couch. If you really want to lose 50 pounds, you need to break it down into smaller, more actionable steps. So, you could start with – “I’d like to lose 10 pounds in the next 2 months.” That’s what’s considered a realistic goal. Once you achieve that, you can set your next 10-pound goal. So, if you put it all together, it should look something like this: I want to lose 10lbs by September so I’m one step closer to looking fantastic in my suit on my wedding day.
7 Tips For Kickstarting A New Fitness Routine
Here are seven ideas on how to exercise when you’re really not feeling it:
- Walk Every DayWalking is GREAT. It’s such an effective and easy habit. Research shows that walking may help support heart health, healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and help manage your stress levels. It also burns calories, which certainly adds up if you’re doing this every day.3Tip: Get off the bus or train a few stops early and walk the rest of the way, walk during your lunch break, or stroll around the block after dinner.
- Motivate With A Fitness AppWhen you can see your progress, you might become more motivated. There are so many fitness apps that can log your fitness progress and help keep you up to date on how you’re doing.For example, a fitness tracker can record your steps or miles walked – even if they’re in short bursts. Setting a goal each day – then seeing your progress at the end of the day – can become a fun and motivating challenge.
- Get A Fitness DirectorFor some people, having some kind of coach and fitness program in their life is what keeps them motivated. Training one-on-one with someone means that it’s very much noticed if you don’t show up. And having a scheduled time to meet means that you can’t keep pushing your exercise back during the day.Though this isn’t the cheapest option, the money spent on an exercise program may also be a great motivator to show up.
- Design A Home Gym
A potentially less expensive option to a fitness center is to make your own gym at home in the living room. Sure, some people go all out and spend a lot of money to do this, but you don’t need a stationary bike or home elliptical machine to meet your goals.Some more cost-effective equipment includes things like a jump rope, yoga mat, a pair of hand weights, resistance bands, and an exercise ball.
These are all perfect accessories for tip number five.
- Find Free Classes Online – From YouTube to Instagram, you can find a whole host of free classes online. Try out a few different things, get to know the trainers, and then stick to the training blogs (or vlogs) that you love. If you start to look forward to a dance class instead of a HIIT weights class, then that’s great. Even if it’s only a free trial, you’ll at least get to see what you like.
- Walk The Dog – This isn’t an invitation to adopt a pup without any real thought on the matter. But if you’ve always dreamed of being a dog owner, this can be a great decision to help enhance your fitness results. Or, you can simply offer to walk your friends or neighbors pooches.Dogs need to be walked every day, and it’s a great way to ensure that you get that 30 minutes of daily exercise as well. This can potentially boost your fitness levels without you even noticing.
- Make It Social – Fitness training is always more fun if it feels like a social event. Organize a group of friends (or even one friend) to meet up a few times per week and either walk, jog, or do an exercise class together. You could even play tennis, basketball, or kick a ball around. These activities work all the major muscle groups and burn calories.A friend can make a great accountability partner for getting into good shape. It’s so much harder to let down a close friend.
5 Simple Tips For Fitness Success
Need a few bonus tips to help you toward better fitness? Try to embrace these tips, and you’ll be sure to notice the impact.
- Always carry a water bottle with you in your backpack, handbag, or car. And try to consistently take a sip from it all day long.
- Have a meal plan. This doesn’t need to be fancy, but planning your menu might help to break those not-so-great eating patterns.4 Plan for the week (or several days ahead) for what you’ll eat for your main meals of the day. These meals should be based around plenty of green veggies, whole grains, and other unprocessed, clean foods.
- Carry your own snacks. Speaking of food prep, the best way to avoid snacking on the wrong things is to carry your own healthy snacks everywhere you go. Think pieces of fruit, nuts, veggie sticks and hummus, boiled eggs, yogurt, roasted chickpeas, apple slices with almond butter, a cheese stick, or edamame.
- Ditch the junk food. It’s sometimes best to just ditch the junk food cold turkey. If it’s not around your home or office, you won’t be tempted during an afternoon slump.Remember: fewer calories in and more calories out (via exercise) equals change.5 Junk food can cost you a lot of calories.
- Small changes, consistently, do add up. Keep going. If you have a day where you can only fit in a 10-minute walk, it’s better than nothing. Or try to walk around your entire office floor five times throughout the day for 6 minutes. Walk while you’re on a call. Take the stairs every morning. All these little changes to your everyday life do make a difference in your overall fitness.
Fitness Goals For A Healthy Lifestyle
Now that you know how to get fit in ways that motivate, you may no longer be that person who “hates exercise.” However, you should always consult a doctor before beginning any kind of new exercise program. If you have health issues, you can also speak to an exercise physiologist who can help develop specific fitness and exercise programs for you. Likewise, if you decide you’d like to go a big leap further and take up something more serious – like triathlon training or a marathon – a sports nutritionist can help. They can advise on how to best support this big expenditure of energy nutritionally by including things like protein powders that may help build muscle mass (bulk powders.) Heres to you and your health!
1.https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults 2.https://au.reachout.com/articles/tips-for-getting-and-staying-motivated 3.https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/walking-your-steps-to-health 4.https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/28/health/no-diet-healthy-eating-weight-loss-drayer/index.html 5.https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/weight-loss-fewer-calories-in-more-calories-out