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Monday, July 8, 2013

10 Tricks to Stay Motivated to Workout

Hi Friends! Every Monday I have a hard time staying motivated to continue to workout.  I do OK at getting up, but it seems that I get tired easier than on other days.  I find myself wanting to "throw in the towel" a lot earlier than on other days.  I call them "Motivating Mondays" not because they are motivating, but because I find that I need more motivation!  (In hindsight, I think that they should be called MORE MOTIVATING MONDAYS....or like, Triple M! )

ANYWAY, today was no different.  My workout started out great with a wonderful 5 minute warmup on the treadmill.  Good, right?  After the warm-up, I pumped up the music and the speed and "took off" at a WHOPPING 14.5 minute mile!  This may not seem like a lot to you, but lets remember that I am not at my healthiest self ....yet.  I jogged to the beat of "Queen" and was feeling pretty good.  As time passed, I started to feel my breathing get faster and heavier and my legs felt like I had a small child wrapped up around each of them.  Glancing at the time I was SURE that I had been jogging for 10 minutes and that I could start walking.......nope.  It had only been TWO minutes!  WHAT THE..... *%&Y$^#* !!!  Once again, I found myself falling back on some "tricks" that I have used to get me through my workout goal without feeling like I was going to die, or at least throw up.

It occurred to me that my tricks might help you, my vast and many readers! (Let me believe that people read this.  It helps.) So, I hope that you can put these to good use.

1. Wake Up BEFORE you Work out.  Now, you might be thinking "DUH!!" but really, those that roll out of bed and go straight into exercising don't have as much energy to sustain the workout and also have not created a firm breathing pattern for the day.  You are still stuck in dream mode.  Your eyes feel heavy, your body feels heavy, and things are just not as clear.  Give yourself a good 30-60 minutes of being awake and moving around before you attempt your workout.  (This was my problem today.  I woke, brushed my teeth, got dressed and worked out. My body wasn't awake and it showed.) The point is that, according to WebMD, working out when you have the most energy will yield the best results.

2. Pre-Workout Snack.  Although it is a popular belief that you burn more calories on an empty stomach, it doesn't really seem to be the case. A study whose results were published in 2000 in the "International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism" looked at eight women who each completed two exercise trials with a space of several days between. They completed the trials three and six hours after eating a meal; researchers found the time that elapsed before exhaustion to be 0.75 minutes shorter for the six-hour trials than the three-hour. The study concluded that exercise performance is improved by consuming a low-fat, low-protein, high-carbohydrate meal three hours before exercise, and that athletes should not exercise on an empty stomach. I personally find that eating a green smoothie before my workout gives me the energy to maintain the workout and adds the protein that I need to reduce the possibility of sore muscles.  NOTE: Notice that I said SNACK, don't exercise on a full stomach either.... you get sick. That is all.

3. Enjoy the Great Outdoors.  I can't say enough how much fresh air and sunshine helps with your health.  HOWEVER, exercising outdoors also means that you can't give up as easily.  Usually, you have to get back to where you started. As long as you don't OVER estimate your fitness abilities.  This can be really beneficial. Map a mile or two and off you go!

4. Break up your workout!  I do this ALL THE TIME!  I will do the treadmill for about 15 minutes, then stop and lift weights or do some crunches or leg lifts.  Then, I'll hop back on the tread mill for another 15 minutes.  I promise, you are going to be happier working out in 20 minute intervals than you will pushing yourself to get in 30 minutes all at once, then giving up. This does take more time out of the day, but can be worth it.  Sometimes, I will even workout for 20 minutes, then go and make breakfast or clean something, then go back and workout for another 20, then write the blog, then go back for another 20.  Of course, I don't start teaching voice lessons until the afternoon, so I have time on some days to get away with this.

5. Be Consistent.  Even if you are working out for 20 minutes, do it every day! Plan your "rest days" to be a light workout such as yoga or even just stretching.  But DO SOMETHING every day.

6. Be Happy.  Choosing an activity that you enjoy will help motivate you to actually DO it.  I walk/jog on the treadmill because it's mindless.  I don't have to count how many reps I did, or learn some crazy routine.  It's just me and my thoughts.  I enjoy that the most.

7. Be a Better You. Everyone has their reasons why they don't DO what it takes to be healthy.  But the fact is, that we all ALSO have the reasons TO be healthy.  Use those things that make you different to inspire and motivate you.  Dig deep and come up with your "WHY" statement.  "WHY do you workout each day, WHY do you eat clean, WHY do you keep a journal, etc."  My WHY can be found here. I find that this helps to "psych" me up as well.  It's sort of like a little pep talk.  It works!

8. Maintain a Good Intensity Level.  If you are pushing too hard during your workout, you will want to give up faster.  There is an equation to measure your heart rate and such, but I suck at math and can never figure it out.  Luckily, there is a dummy proof test for people like me. It's the TALK TEST!  (Thank you Mayo Clinic) You should be able to recite "The Pledge of Allegiance" just like you did in elementary school.  Now, obviously, if you are aiming for your 3rd Olympic Medal, this might not be the best way to measure your intensity, BUT for the average person, this will work just fine. Even though the talk test is subjective, being able to talk comfortably and therefore breathe comfortably indicates low to moderate intensity (The latest American College of Sports Medicine exercise recommendations say that aiming for 30 minutes a day of simple, moderate-intensity exercise is the way to go to improve general health.) If the words don’t flow as easily (where a breath is required after every word), the workout crosses over into the vigorous range. And on the flip side, if singing show tunes is involved, the workout may be too easy, and the heart isn’t working hard enough.

9.Stay Hydrated.  Look, no one likes a dry, sticky mouth.  AND, if you are drinking your water the way that you should be, this really won't be a problem.  This really isn't rocket science. DON'T chew gum while working out!  You can choke. Done.

10. Use social accountability!  Ha!  Really, this is my favorite.  Read a blog or follow a facebook page!  (I know of a good one! ;)) The key to this step is to find something that is at your level.  THIS blog won't do you much good if you are a marathon runner.  BUT, it is perfect for those that are in the same boat that I am. Find a group with similar lifestyles and goals as you have and become involved.  Take it from the person that never understood blogs and thought that "support groups" were cheesy.  Getting over that issue is one of the best things that I ever did.  I would not still be on this journey if it weren't for this blog and the THR Facebook group!

There you go!  These are the tips that I have found the most helpful.  Give them a try. 

Did I miss something?? Do you have tips of your own? "Weigh in!" The comments section awaits! 

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