Making Working Out Work For You
When I started this loosey-goosey "spring inspiration" series, I knew that at some time I wanted to touch upon the dreaded "workout motivation". Funny enough, type in "workout inspiration" or "motivation" into the search bar on Pinterest and every possible "failure is not an option" quote will pop up. Don't get me wrong; you know I love a good quote. But for some reason, reading a fitness inspiration quote or looking at someone else's sweaty and muscled body only depresses me. Looking at what "fitness" looks like zaps me of any energy I had for working out and I start to retreat into my excuses.
It took me awhile to recognize that my motivation truly had to come from within. It's pretty obvious that in order to change, you have to want it. The biggest factor that kept me from working out and making healthier life choices was that I didn't want to. I know that working out is good for you. I know that eating lots of vegetables and lean meats is good for your body. In a less extreme sense it's like smoking: you know how bad it is for you but you do it anyway. Anything that you want to do, like quit smoking or living a healthier lifestyle, you have to want.
I'll be honest that I don't have all the answers about being motivated to work out. My fitness journey is still that: a journey. However, here's what I've learned so far about making working out work for you:
1. Find a workout plan that you like. For years I felt that running was the only way to work out. I have made my peace with it but running will never be my best friend. Eventually I realized that there are tons of ways to work out. Now there are spin classes, crossfit, zumba, and barre to name a few. Try one, try them all. Decide what you like and don't worry if it's not the "right" kind of workout. Also, for you other budget-conscious ladies, you don't need to spend a dime on a gym membership; just check out youtube (you know I love Tone It Up!).
2. Get some fit friends. It's hard to stand out in the crowd and be the only one who's skipping the happy hour for the elliptical. I've found that it's important to have a support network that understands you need to squeeze that workout in. Nick has been fabulous but I've also loved finding some equally motivated ladies through the Tone It Up community. Healthy friends also understand those weird fitness and health questions like how exactly you use those chia seeds. The added benefit has been that it's opened my social circle. The moral of the story is every lady needs support.
3. Change your lifestyle. I have been guilty of justifying bad choices with a single thought of "Well, I did workout today." That was until I realized that it was making me really depressed to not see any changes in my body. Change has to happen in all areas of your life if you want to see change in your body. When I made a conscious decision to make healthy eating choices, take care of my mind with positive thoughts, and work out my body at the same time, the puzzle pieces all came together. Suddenly I was motivated to have it all.
4. Plan ahead. Part of my motivation to get those workouts in, even when I get home late from work or there are so many other things I would like to do, is that I know EXACTLY what I'm going to do at the gym/at home/at the track that day. I hate that saying "fail to plan, plan to fail" but there is some truth in that. If I know what I'm going to do, I just do it. Sometimes I even get excited thinking about which workout is coming up. I've become a strange person, I know.
5. Be kind to yourself. Here's the thing: nobody's perfect. Even when you try your best, plan ahead, text all the right people, and make all the right choices, you might not get that workout in. Sadly I would get anxiety worrying about not spending enough time running or pushing myself to another round of toning. I had to realize that it wasn't going to happen overnight, this whole thing is hard work, and I should be proud of myself for making this choice. In other words, love is what working out is all about.