Monday, February 25, 2013

How To Get Motivated to Exercise


Pick up any health magazine around January and you are bound to find an article on how to get motivated to exercise. It will have suggestions like; find a friend to workout with, sign up a gym or buy new workout clothes. Which are all great suggestions (especially the new workout clothes idea!!) but how motivating are they really?

I guess we are all different and motivated by different things. Personally, I know I could very well sign up for a new gym and then never go, bail on my enlisted buddy and let those workout clothes stay non sweaty forever. Just because I am a personal trainer doesn't mean that getting my butt to the gym is any easier than it is for anyone else! I like to be completely honest with my clients and when they say, “But it’s hard to make the time to workout” I respond by saying, “Yeah I know.” So what’s the solution?

I started by asking all my regular clients what makes them workout everyday or when they don’t feel like it? The answer was all surprisingly the same, “I don’t know I just go”. Not exactly the ah ha moment I was looking for. I spend 90% of my time in a gym training people so the “just go” theory didn’t really work for me…I am already there!

So if you are like me and you are looking for some new motivation….SIGN UP FOR A RACE! Any race it really doesn’t matter. Well I take that back. Make sure it is a race that pushes you just beyond what you think you could finish. Make sure it’s a race that when you push the complete button on the race entry form it kind of makes you feel nervous.

In December I signed up for a sprint length triathlon. Which when people asked what my “strong sport” was, I could only laugh and think Err none really but I did gymnastics when I was little does that count?  I knew I could ride my bike 12 miles, and felt fairly confident, that even though I dislike running, I could finish 3 miles and the swim well I was just not think about that. Over all though, I wasn't really that concerned. As I mentioned in a previous blog, my brother in law Adam, said over dinner one night, “If you really want to challenge yourself you should do the OC Tri”. Now the OC Tri, at a mile swim, 26 mile bike ride and 6 mile run, definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone. So my exercise motivation began.

Since I have committed to this race I have swam when there was ice on my windshield, ran in the rain and biked in the Santa Ana winds. I have gotten up when I didn't feel like, squeeze in a workout between clients and am currently trying to figure out how to keep up with my workouts while on vacation in Hawaii next month.

There are three things I attribute to my new found motivation:

Finishing: Once you sign up for a race go ahead and tell everyone you know about it. Heck, write a blog about it! I 100% guarantee you that all those people will be asking you about how your training is going, when your race is and how you feel? If that is not a motivation to workout hard and finish than I don’t know what is!

My Garmin: As silly as it sounds it keeps me accountable. It keeps me from lying. There are times when I think do I really need to do all those laps, ride that fast, get my heart rate up that high? Yet I know that once I download it into Training Peaks it is going to display and relay to my coach  exactly what did (or what didn't)  happen!

My Mental Cheer-leading Squad: Despite all the factors above some days are just tough. Like yesterday riding into the wind down the Santa Ana wind tunnel I mean River Trail. I was in the lowest gear possible, my legs were burning, I am getting no where, and it’s hard to breathe and so on. I’m 10 minutes in to a two hour ride. This is where I bring in my mental cheer-leading squad. Often times the squad is just my sister in my mind telling me I got this, or to ride faster, or push. Other times I imagine all the people I love at this finish line cheering me on. Yesterday though all my own negative selves came out to the side lines. Though I have a lot of positive people in my life I have a lot of self doubt in my head. So I let those faceless Annas come out to the side line and they stood silent. They didn't cheer. They weren't happy. In fact, they couldn't believe that I didn’t just turn around and give up. I pushed faster and harder than I thought I could. Before I knew it I was an hour in to a two hour ride and I felt great. My legs had stopped burning. I could breathe just fine and I thought, “Wow that is so amazing. My body can do exactly what I tell it to!”

Don’t take my word for it though. Find out for yourself. Sign up for a race. Push yourself. Challenge yourself. I bet you won’t regret it. I am so confident that you will be motivated that if you sign up for a race and are not motivated, I will pay your race fee.









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