Since the start of this year I’ve focused on getting my mental and physical health in a place where I’m happy and content, and it’s made such a difference in my life. I feel more at peace, productive, and overall in a better mood. I’ve struggled for a while to prioritize my fitness, nutrition, and mental health (kind of like those triangles that say “pick two”) but after a lot of trial and error I’m finally at a place that works.
It’s easy to feel bombarded by all of the media and advertisements focused around losing weight, or the Instagram models with insanely trim physiques. It’s a vicious cycle of making you feel inadequate…and trying to get you to spend money to feel whole. I’m a sucker for any Youtube video with a clickbait title like “How I Lost 45 Pounds in 2 Months.” The truth is, most of those videos don’t talk about the formative years leading up to those “two months” where the person lost a ridiculous amount of weight, and whether that was a healthy choice for them to make at the time.
We all want fast results. It’s exciting to think in 30 days you could look like a totally different person. But ultimately that goal is not realistic and won’t make you happy long-term. I want to set you up for success in a way that’s realistic and achievable so that you’re healthy, focused, and fulfilled while nourishing your body with the workouts it craves.
Whether it’s been years since you last worked out or a week, there is always time to start again. Instead of beating yourself up for what you should have done, take action and start doing now. Life gets in the way for all of us, and dwelling on the past only lengthens the effect it has on our minds and bodies.
HAVE CLOTHES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL INSPIRED TO GET MOVING
Having well-fitting, attractive clothes that you’re proud to go to the gym in makes a huge difference in how motivated you are to workout. Change into these clothes when you’re feeling uninspired to work out and they can help turn around your mood and give you the extra little push to do a workout. You can also treat them as a reward for sticking to a gym routine. My favorite brands are bcg, Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Adidas, Calia, and Reebok. I also like to look on Poshmark for specific items.
MAKE IT ENJOYABLE
I’ve always wanted to be a runner (for what reason, I have no idea) and so I started doing light jogs on the treadmill a few days a week. Instead of saying to myself “you have to run 3 miles at a 9 minute mile” I simply found a speed that was comfortable to me (4.0/15 minute mile) and jogged until I was tired. This changed my mindset around running as something that doesn’t have to be dreadful the whole way through, but something I could take at my own pace and enjoy.
After a couple of weeks watching some HGTV and listening to my favorite playlists, I felt a little burned out. I tried watching some of my favorite Netflix shows, but even then I found myself more distracted than before. One day, I forgot my headphones but I was determined to have a successful workout. I pulled up a book that I had downloaded on my Kindle app (Outliers by Malcom Gladwell) and increased the font size to see from a distance and read for the whole hour. It was awesome. I found reading to take my mind off of running and I felt like I was killing two birds with one stone by combining my daily workout and reading time. It was a win-win!
A mistake most people make is that when they go back to the gym, it’s an all-or-nothing mentality. Start with a few light classes or gym sessions and work your way up from there. As you see your body changing, you’ll be more motivated to challenge yourself further.
Even if you’re not feeling like working out – do something small. That might be a walk, or just going to the gym with the expectation that you may not do much. When I’m feeling lazy but I know I need to get my workout done, I tell myself anything is better than nothing. Just do something.
GIVE YOURSELF SMALL CHALLENGES
When I go to the gym and I don’t feel my best, I tell myself “Just do 30 minutes jogging. After that, it’s all up to you.” So that way if I can only make it 30 minutes, I’m not letting myself down. Anything more than 30 minutes and I’m pleased that I exceeded my expectations.
THINK ABOUT THE BENEFITS THAT AREN’T WEIGHT RELATED
Sometimes I think “I’m good with my weight, I like where I am.” I have to remind myself that working out does more than just make my pants fit better. It increases my productivity, mood, improves my sleep quality, and a ton of other amazing things. So when I skip a workout it’s like telling myself “I’m ok with lackluster creativity. Find a motivator for yourself that isn’t directly related to how you look.
I like to watch Youtube videos more than I want to admit, but one really popular area of Youtube is workout videos. You can get access to a TON of completely free workouts (I love blogilates) or videos talking about the science to working out. Abby Pollock is probably my favorite Youtuber when it comes to fitness because she combines her results with actual peer reviewed studies so that you know everything she says is well-researched and is backed by science.
COUNT CALORIES…AT LEAST FOR A LITTLE WHILE
I started counting my calories about two months ago, and I found it has been one of the most effective ways to keep me on track. I see everything as energy out vs energy in, it helps me make better food choices, and get my butt to the gym. It’s really gratifying to see my workout translate into more calories I’m able to consume, and makes me feel like I have a sense of balance. This is a pretty tedious exercise, but being mindful of what you’re actually consuming will help your relationship with food in the long-term. Now, I reach for a veggie stir-fry instead of a peanut butter sandwich because I know the veggies will have less calories and a ton more nutrients.
SIGN UP FOR CLASSES
Ultimately, this is what made me stick with yoga. If I cancelled a class too close to time, I would get charged a fee. This ensured that if I was feeling lazy I still had to go. If you have a bit of a competitive streak inside of you (I definitely do) then classes are a great way to push yourself farther by competing with others in the class.
. . .
There you have it! My tried and true tips for keeping a workout routine that will stick.
What helps you stay on track?
Thanks for stopping by!