Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tricks of the trade: finding the motivation to exercise

No matter the reason, sometimes you just aren't in the mood for moving and sweating. Whenever this happens to you, try these strategies for working up to the desire to hit the gym:

Remind Yourself of Your Goals - Start thinking about why you started exercising in the first place and what the end results will be. Do you want to lose a certain amount of weight? Get more toned? Have more energy? A quick reminder of why exercise is important to you can be just the motivation that you need to seek out another set of reps.

Plan on Reducing Your Workout – If you feel that you won’t have the energy to do your complete routine, tell yourself that you will just do half of the work out. If you usually jog four miles, plan on just doing two. If you are weight-training that day, focus on just doing the compound exercises while leaving out the isolation exercises. Once you get going, you might discover that you actually have the energy to do your full workout.

Don’t Go Next Time - Give yourself permission to skip the next work out but not this one. If the next work out rolls around and you still don’t feel like going, you actually might be doing yourself some good by skipping it. Feeling consistently turned off by exercise is usually a sign of overtraining, and giving your body more time to rest can actually help you reach your fitness goals faster.

The trickiest part of any exercise plan is motivation. You can know all of the exercises and the proper techniques, but if you aren't inspired enough to get to the gym, it won’t do you much good. Figure out what motivates you most, and make sure that you use that motivation to hold yourself accountable for regular physical activity. I'm not opposed to an occasional self-bribe either. It goes something like this, "If I workout at least 4 times this week, I'm going to treat myself to a spa pedicure next Friday after work." Just make sure that your rewards are not food-based, and you'll be good to go.

For similar articles about natural health and fitness, click here.

Posted to Ode by Amber O’Neal. Reprinted 4/29/09 from the Sustainlane website:

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