When did you last enjoy your camping, hiking or backpacking adventure? As one of the adventure enthusiasts, you know, how much fitness and health is important to enjoy those adventuresome explorations. Moreover, a sound health is really the most precious gift of the Goddess of Fitness to us. But, we face a lots of adversities to maintain our fitness.
To be more focused, this post is not dedicated to the elementary school students, so, you won’t get a step by step guideline here. But, you will get an idea on how to overcome the difficulties in maintaining fitness and health from my personal experience and lifestyle.
How Do I Deal With Fitness Procrastination:
As I write this post, I’m actually reflecting on how I should be getting to the gym rather than hanging out at my apartment. Fitness procrastination affects us all and can potentially set us back in our goals. But oh, how do you fight the urge to put off your workout until later? May be these are the reasons why you haven’t gone to the gym yet. See how you can ditch the excuses and get going:
The weather is wonky:
I’m totally guilty of using this excuse, especially recently. It’s been minus a bajillion degrees outside, and my apart- ment is toasty warm. Plus, I’m wearing my fuzzy socks, and I generally don’t want to get off my butt when it’s cold.
It’s too easy to say that you’ll head out the door once the sun peeks out and it starts warming up a bit. Chances are, if it’s minus 20 degrees outside now, in a few hours, the mercury is still going to be hovering somewhere around there. It’s best to just bite the bullet and get it over with now, so you can give yourself more time to warm up in the shower later.
Right now, I need a nap. After that, I’ll get in my workout.
How many times have I said that? In all likelihood, getting in 40 winks won’t leave you with any more motivation to work out than you had before your head hit the pillow. True, if you keep your nap to an easy 30 minutes, you may indeed awake refreshed and more alert, but if you’re like me, taking a nap is just an excuse to put off the hard work I know needs to get done.
If you do end up needing the rest, commit to it fully. Often, I’ll say I’m going to take a quick nap, but I just end up lying around half- awake, watching TV, surfing the net, and so forth. In other words, I’m not really sleeping at all, so once the 30 minutes are up, I don’t feel any more rested than I did before.
Point being, if you need the rest, go all in for those 30 minutes. Shut off the lights, turn off the TV, and snooze. Set an alarm for 30 minutes though to help ensure you don’t waste your entire afternoon on the couch.
I have all day to get it done:
This ever happen to you doing a lazy Sunday? You don’t have to work or go to class, so you end up taking your sweet- ass time getting to the gym. I mean, what’s the rush? You have all day to get in that jog. Oh, how this logic has failed me so, so many times.
For one, the gym usually closes earlier during the weekends, so while you normally have until about 10 or 11PM to get in that run, you now have an earlier deadline to gett’er done. Secondly, don’t you have somewhere to be tonight? Chances are, spending your Sunday evening at the gym is not really your idea of an awesome weekend. So why leave it to the last minute? Get your workout out of the way earlier, and you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of your weekend guilt- free.
That’s not to say you need to exercise at 6 AM; hey, I’m no glutton for punishment, either. Go earlier in your day, meaning within a few hours of waking up. Whether that’s at 8, 9, or even 10 AM, aim to be heading to the gym shortly after having your morning coffee and a light snack. That way, you can still enjoy your time snuggled in bed, have breakfast, and get your workout over with sooner rather than later.
The Value of Paying it Forward, Fitness Wise:
Never underestimate the power of positivity. As they say, maintaining a positive outlook during your fitness journey is the key to staying motivated, healthy, and happy in the long run. Your journey, like life, may be filled with some ups and downs, and dealing with these challenges can be trying. However, when we’re on the up and up, that feeling that we can do anything really does push us to new heights. As such, it’s no wonder why spreading the good vibes at the gym and in your fitness life can be beneficial to everyone involved.
Why It Works:
Saying a kind word to a stranger or an acquaintance, if you’re not comfortable with cold approaches— can be a huge confidence booster, not only for the recipient but for yourself as well. When you receive a compliment, it’s clear why you’d feel good. Someone says your hard work on the treadmill is paying off, and you feel warm and smiley because your results are showing.
On the other side of things, when you give a compliment, you get to see how it makes someone feel and also share in their excitement. You made their day a little better, gave them some extra motivation to keep going the distance, and showed them that not everyone is showing them the evil eye. Good vibes breed good vibes, so paying it forward really does pay off.
Do you believe in karma? Even if you don’t, there’s something to be said about creating a positive atmosphere through sharing the fitness wealth. Frankly, I don’t want my life and the people in it to constantly be reminding me about how average I am or that I’ll never amount to anything or never achieve my goals.
The same goes for my fitness life, whether at the gym, at home, or anywhere else for that matter. Getting the will to work out is one thing, and having to do it in an environment where you’re constantly feeling judged is another. Okay, so we may not be able to eliminate or even mitigate all the negative vibes in our life, overt or otherwise, but we do have control over what we contribute to the mix.
What You Can Do:
A random compliment is always nice and hopefully not creepy, but you can also spread the fitness positivity in other ways as well. Stopping to help someone who seems to be looking for advice can be a great way of paying it forward. I’ve seen some people at the gym become a little perplexed at how to operate the machines, and I have no problem helping them out.
Tip: remember to be considerate when asking if a hand is needed. I’ve seen some people take it personally, or even get a little uppity about it (what? I know what I’m doing). Generally, if someone’s glancing around with this uncertain look on their face, it probably means they’re open to some tips; make eye contact and see if they open up.
Most people aren’t asses, but I do see how offering unsolicited advice can come across as annoying, if not condes- cending. Either way, you’ll know if someone’s looking for help. Besides, are you really going to dump on a good Samaritan?
Other than that, the simple act of acknowledgment or saying “hi” to a familiar gym face can be uplifting enough. Too often do we ride the elevator, walk down the street, or even pass people in our workplace while awkwardly avoiding eye contact or conversation. If your jogging route regularly takes you by that nice lady who’s out at 7 AM watering her plants every morning, give her a smile as you run by.
There’s no need to have conversation if you’re not comfortable with it or if you’re timing your workout, but a simple smile is a surprisingly powerful thing. By now, I’ve come to recognize more than a few faces at the gym. Though I don’t know their names or really chat with them, I like to smile or even say hi as I’m passing by. Everyone needs or looks forward to a little human contact in their lives, and something simple like a hello or a smile makes us feel connected. In turn, this can have a positive effect on our workouts; you feel good, so you’re more motivated to keep going.
How Do I Manage My Fitness Downtime:
I love TV. I love movies. I love the stories, the characters, and the juicy drama. I love unwinding after a hectic day by tuning into someone else’s imaginary life and imaginary problems. Who doesn’t? These days, TV isn’t just TV anymore; it’s jumped mediums onto the ‘net, your tablet, and even your phone.
So when it comes to R & R during the time you’re not in the gym or on the bike path, TV is typically on the menu. If you tune in as much as I do, then it’s worth to take note of ways to make yourself more than just a couch potato. Read on to see how you can make your TV time a little more abs friendly.
Where does the time go:
I’ll be the first to say that I’m a huge fan of the movie/ TV marathon. If I have the chance to watch a series of episodes or movies in sequence, you know imma do it. Unfortunately, I’ll admit, it’s not always a once- in- awhile thing. One hour of TV quickly becomes two, which, when you’re marathoning, can even faster become a whole evening’s event. In-sane.
Make it fitness-friendly: If you are at the mercy of your shows for the next few hours, you can at least multitask while you’re on your butt. Sitting on an exercise ball engages your core for balance, so see if you can move from the couch to the ball. Like the view from the La-Z-Boy?
You can still work your core without the fancy equipment. Picture pulling your bellybutton in towards your spine; hold as long as you can, then release and go again. You can also try stealing and bracing your core as though anticipating being punched in the stomach; hold this position for a minute, release, then go again. Obviously, any other types of moves that don’t interfere with your watching can also be helpful.
If you’re not keen on potential distractions during your show, use the commercials as time to get active. You don’t need to be crunching the entire show, but those 2-3 minutes can add up over the course of a few shows. Do push- ups, any kind of reps, or try jumping jacks and burpees for some quick cardio. At the least, opt to get up during the commercials, stretch, and walk around (preferably not to the fridge). Even adding some mild movement to break up the sitting definitely can’t hurt.
The couch is sooo comfy:
When it comes to catching up in style, a nice recliner or sofa will almost always do the trick. I don’t own a couch, but I do have a pretty comfy futon in my living room. I usually lie down flat and set up my lappy so that I can watch DVDs and more for hours on end. As exciting as that sounds, all that time spent lying horizontal is sweet, but can be potentially troubling to your waistline, especially if it’s not just a one time thing.
Make it fitness- friendly: These days, we can watch TV from pretty much anywhere. A smartphone, a tablet, and a laptop make boob tubing it via TV a day of the past. If you’ve got any of the above mentioned at your disposal, look to take your butt off the couch and go elsewhere.
I like hanging out at coffee shops or bookstores; hell, when I was a student, I even liked hanging out in the library or commons. WIFI is everywhere— and becoming more and more accessible without cost— so you can surf and tune in almost anywhere. Getting out of the house not only gives you a breath of fresh air, but it also puts distance between you and the fridge. When at home, you’re obviously in the comfort of your own conveniences, so it’s that much easier to just stuff your face on a whim. Pack a healthy snack, and head out to the library, or put your show on a jump stick and find a comfy spot outside to surf. Anything that makes you take physical steps to get there is a lot healthier than not moving at all.
Are You a Snooty Fitness Freak:
We’ve all experienced fitness- related judgments from our peers, coworkers, and family members at some point, but do we unconsciously cast a stone ourselves? At some point, I’m sure you’ve heard and experienced the snooty fitness freak who heckles, turns her nose up, and ultimately judges other people’s nutrition and exercise choices. Knowing what a potentially sensitive subject our weight can be, hopefully, we don’t do this ourselves. See how you can separate yourself from all the fitness know- it- alls out there and keep on keepin on:
Recognize an Advice- Seeker from a Sympathizer:
Often, women like to let off steam with other women who are in a like position. We all do it. Having a bad day at work? We bitch to other co-workers we trust or to our friends who can understand the crap we all deal with. We tend to do the same when it comes to our body and weight issues. “Ugh, I just gained five pounds!” seems to be a normal phrase uttered around the water cooler, but the reason behind doing this might not be as obvious.
For someone merely looking to commiserate and vent about their fitness related issues, it can be pretty annoying to have someone shove how tos down their throat. Solicited advice is a good thing, but for those people who aren’t looking to be told to put down the donut, the judgment felt can be strong.
It sucks that good Samaritans can get caught in the crossfire (we hear a problem and offer an earnest solution), but I usually try and avoid dishing out advice unless asked outright. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of what I do and what I’ve accomplished, but weight is, as we know, a very sensitive subject, and I get that.
Sensitive people are, well, sensitive people, so I guess there’s no changing that (Debbie Downer). The people I care about and trust are genuinely interested in me and my activities enough to ask, so in those situations, I’m proud to cue them in on my progress. I’m sure you know what I mean.
Avoid it: Still, I totally get that it can also be annoying to hear other people gripe and groan about their supposed failings when they’re doing nothing to remedy the situation. In these situations, there’s nothing telling you that you must remain a sounding board for any and everything anyone is feeling, so you totally have the right to excuse yourself from the conversation and all the venting. A simple, “I know, right?” followed by a segue or a simple “I’ve gotta get back to those calls” should suffice.
Don’t Be a Food Pusher:
Food pushing goes both ways, I hate to say it. We’ve all experienced this in some form or another, whether it’s the moms at work trying to get you to finish that last cookie, or our peers or coworkers encouraging us to join in and have a slice. It sucks, and while we know it’s not done with malicious intent, it still puts some unconscious pressure on us to potentially make bad decisions.
On the other side of the coin, it’s totally possible to push good foods on other people as well. If we’ve made a decision to have pizza, and we’re totally okay with that, then who wants someone else trying not- so- subtly to force the broccoli into the picture? Okay, okay, I know it’s being done with the best of intentions, but after one too many spinach and wheat-germ potlucks, I’m pretty sure anyone could be sick. Point being, fitness and nutrition are lifestyle choices, emphasis on that last one there. The only real way it’s going to stick is if people commit to the decision on their own, be it to eat pizza every day or not.
Avoid it: I read somewhere about other co-workers flooding the office with health and diet related e-mails and other how-tos. Ugh. As if we really have time to be reminded about the horrors of eating carbs and get yelled at by our bosses boss. Point being, let us all let work be work. There’s a reason we all (usually) only have one boss and one mom, so I’m assuming it’s best to keep the separation between church and state.
Still, I’m not saying to stop bringing the healthy foods you love to work or elsewhere. Got a potluck situation? Toting something healthy, like a platter of crudités or fruit, is still a good idea; just make sure that if you’re hosting an event, there are other food options for people who don’t share your take on eating. This way, no one will really feel cornered by other people’s choices— “good” or “bad.”
Your Fun Fitness Holiday – What’s Your Evening Look Like:
What’s better than Hump Day (crucial for fitness)? Definitely that amazing time that comes shortly after— SUNDAY! What’s your awesome evening looking like? For some inspiration on staying active while getting social, check out these fun and flirty Sunday night ideas.
Before you roll your eyes just yet, know that it certainly can’t hurt to go bang it out at the gym prior to getting ready for your big night on the town. Tip: Make plans before hitting the weights, instead of during your actual gym session. Vow to keep the Iphone in your locker.
2. Dance, Dance & Dance:
Put on your high heels and shake your bon bon. I think we all enjoy doing this in some capacity, whether a wallflower or table dancer. Dancing is great fun and it burns calories, so throw on that hot velvet dress and go boogie! Beware the drinks, though; pace yourself with a one for one ratio of water for wine to ensure that you don’t suffer a nasty hangover and the effects of all the empty calories.
3. Evening Mocha and a Stroll:
Caffeine is great for revving up your metabolism, so having a late- afternoon tea or coffee with a friend can be a great way to spend this Friday, post-work. So long as you avoid adding pie to that order, you can be sure you’re spending your time wisely. Want to burn some extra calories during your catch up? Take your coffee to-go and head out for a Fall evening stroll with your friend or date.
Sounds clichéd, but the leaves actually are beautiful around this time of year, and if it’s a date, that means you get to huddle a little closer to your honey. Frost got you down? Take it inside for some window shopping (or actual shopping, as it usually turns out for me!), or head over to Chapters for some time well spent.
4. Dinner (In) and a Movie (Out):
…Or vice-versa. If you’re looking for fun Sunday night date ideas that don’t completely obliterate your fitness resolve, look no further than the classic double bill. To avoid splitting your wallet (and your pants) wide open, save at least one part of the evening for the home. Restaurants and the movies both offer sinful and tempting indulgences, so opting for both in one evening can be tricky, both financially and nutritionally.
Prefer to watch those slasher movies on the big screen? Start off at home with a clean, well- portioned meal for you and your date. The cooking experience can be a great bonding opportunity, so don’t write this off if you don’t know how to cook. If you’re more partial to dinner out by candlelight, tune in to your Netflix account and line up a great series of old-time horror films.
At home, you’ll have more control over what you’re snacking on and how much, so grab the veggies and hummus, the fruit and cheese, or your well-portioned snackables. Remember, the best solution is often a compromise between two extremes, so see that you have fun and stay healthy tonight.
5. Sports and a (Faux) Milkshake:
The other day, I made the most thick, creamy, delicious shake imaginable. The best part? It was 100% kosher, fitness-wise. For a really tasty treat, mix a quarter cup plain Greek yogurt, one scoop of protein powder (your choice of flavour), and your choice of fruit (I like a combo of strawberries and a banana). Add water depending on how thick or thin you like the consistency, and you’ve got a powerhouse of nutrients and protein without any of the guilt.
Grab a partner (or a date!) and hit the court for a fun hour of fitness activity; hit the showers and continue your Friday night bonding over that post-workout recovery shake. Trust me, it’s about a million times better than ordering a root beer float, and you can still share a straw. Got any crazy plans for this evening?
Wait, Here Is Something Not Less Important:
I know Mondays have a notoriously bad rep, what with the whole ‘having to go back to work and school’ thing. But in the fitness world, the M-Bomb definitely doesn’t have to be such a pain in the butt. True, we’d all rather just crash after work today, but getting sweaty on a Monday has its particular advantages. See why you should be getting in gear today.
Fresh Starts Ahead:
I always like my fitness Mondays because it’s as though any bad choices I made last week have ceased to exist; really, I’m just starting over this week. As Monday is, for some, the first day of the week, it also marks a good opportunity to get the ball rolling. Setting the tone for the week is a good thing. If you make it to the gym on Monday, then the momentum might just carry over to the other days of the week. This, along the idea of a fresh start, is one of the great benefits of beginning the cycle anew.
The First Cut Is The Deepest:
There’s also something to be said about ripping the bandage off as well. They say that the first cut is the deepest, and this might just be true. As the saying goes:
I could say the say about how my fitness motivation fluctuates on a Monday cycle. When you’re fresh off of the weekend, it can be hard to regain your discipline and leave all the Sunday afternoon laziness behind. Still, putting off your workouts until, dare I say, midweek (gasp) can be a pretty bad move.
For one, it puts you behind the 8-Ball, especially if you’re planning to get in a handful of spinning classes during the week. For every day you take “off” at the beginning of the week, the more consecutive days you need to spend in the gym later (more on this below). The best solution is to knock one off right away and get that bandage fresh off. No matter what I end up doing on a Tuesday, if I can get sweaty the Monday before, my subsequent workouts are that much easier, simply by virtue of knowing I have one less to do.
One Today, One Less Tomorrow:
I like to think of Mondays in terms of a fitness negotiation. If I take one for the team today, I’ll be buying myself more time on the weekends, or Saturday night, when the girls and I are going out. Essentially, if the weekends are all about play, then it makes sense that the work should get done on the big ol’ Monday. If I can treat my Mondays as a wholly work-orientated day, then my workout simply falls into this line of thinking.
Plus, if I know what kind of awesome social activity I’m anticipating on the weekends (or on a Thursday or a Friday), then that gives me extra motivation to get my gymming done now, when I’m not really up to anything significant socially, as opposed to later. This is the kind of fitness psychology you can look to take with you through the week, in fact: it’s better to get your workout done now while you actually have time rather than later when you may be rushed, extremely fatigued, or socially overbooked.
It seems like there’s just so much that needs to get done on a Monday— laundry, groceries, picking up the dry cleaning, school again, and so forth. If the business world typically reopens on a Monday, this means we’ve got that much more to do. However, when it comes to working out, is it really that much of a deal to add one more appointment to your To-Do list?
For some, the longer the list of chores to get done, the more demoralized they become. Sure, if my list was fifty items long, I might be cursing up a storm as well. However, there is something to be said about getting “on a roll.” Once you start to become productive with your day, it seems like everything just falls into place.
Suddenly, you’re multitasking like mad. The dishwasher’s going as you’re preparing your snacks for the week, and you just put another load of laundry in. It’s a funny thing, but when you get started, it can be pretty hard to stop. Vow to keep that momentum going today and get to your yoga class while you’re still motivated to be productive. I can’t speak for the rest of the week after you’ve been four days deep in client files, studying, and other events that are bound to crop up as the week goes on, but on a Monday, continuing to be productive all the way to the gym can be done.
Two For Tuesdays – Fitness Through Til Hump Day:
We’ve just discussed how to power through your Mondays and start the week off with a bang. But what about the morning after? Let it be known that, for me, Tuesdays can actually be even more trying than Mondays. A fantastic bout of productivity, both in the office and in the gym, can be a hard act to follow up, so fitness-wise, your Tuesdays can be tricky. I’ve put together some quick tips that help me, as well as you, stay on track as the week progresses, so see how you can make it Two for Tuesday this week at the gym.
1. Two and Two Alike:
Fancy things seem to happen in twos— two- by- two on the Ark, dosados at the hoedown, two for tea, two if by sea (okay, maybe not that last one), and so forth. Tuesday’s the second day of the week, so follow suit and pair up for your Tuesday gym session. Gymming in pairs means you’ll have double the motivation and double the willpower for pushing through all those tough sets. In addition, going two-by-two on the treadmill can mean going head-to-head to the finish line; a workout buddy can spark your healthy competitive spirit, which, in the end, means more motivation to meet your goals— and beyond.
2. A New Day Means New Expectations:
Tuesday will always be following the shadow of Monday’s child. As such, it can be hard to avoid placing the same fitness expectations on your Tuesday workouts as you did the day before. The second day back to school or the office also means that it’s the second day into frey; you’re likely to be facing the same stress, work hiccups, writer’s block, and study bombs that return week after week.
Knowing this, you can’t reasonably expect to hit the gym with the same levels of enthusiasm that come with your Monday (if you are still motivated, then hats off to you!). When I set my fitness goals for my Tuesday, I don’t necessarily look to beat my times and reps of the day before; rather, I go into the gym understanding that so long as I leave satisfied with my workout, I’ll be happy. This is typically the same strategy I use for my weekend workouts. Getting to the gym is hard enough (especially when I could reasonably be sleeping in), so whatever I get done in there, so long as I’m happily sweating after, is fine by me.
3. Full of Grace, Y’all:
As the old rhyme goes, Tuesday’s child is full of grace, so why not spice up your week by trying some cardio dance? Adding some variety to your workouts early on in the week means you’ll be less blasé about the whole fitness exercise thing come Hump Day. At my gym, there are many varieties of cardio- style dance, boxing, and other music- accompanied activities.
For those of you who are less inclined to strap on your dance shoes, getting sweaty through sports is another great idea. I just recently tried squash, and let me tell you, I was sweating just as much as I would during a typical run on the treadmill. Newbies naturally tend to suck at whatever new activity they’re trying, so this usually means there’s a lot more running after the ball/birdie/other sports object. Whatever the case may be, trying something new this Tuesday will make going two-for-two seem like a walk in the park (which, incidentally, is a great idea for this evening).
4. Two For the Price of One:
KFC has Toonie Tuesdays, the movies usually do cheapie Tuesdays, and so it goes without saying that good things tend to come around the day after Monday. In the business world, I’ve seen a lot of sales and half- priced deals showing up around Tuesday, so what does this mean for our sessions in the sweatbox?
See if you can cut the work in half by performing supersets or incorporating interval training into your gym plan today. Instead of coasting on the treadmill for your usual 30-40 minutes, ramp things up in order to get the most bang for your buck. Alternate between sprinting and jogging throughout your session, and you’ll find that you’ll be that much more worked out in about half the time. Similarly, instead of easing through your weight routine, opt to run through a quick circuit instead, going from move to move to move with little or no rest in between. Not only will you shave minutes off your total time spent in the gym, your muscles will get that much more of a workout in the process.
5. Tuesday Is Hump Day Minus-One:
Okay, so this one’s pretty obvious, but the fact that you have one less day to get through this week should be reason enough to keep going. Depending on how many workouts you’re aiming for, you could be nearly halfway done. Power through today, and you’ll have reached the Hump, which we all know carries its own share of celebrations. To finish on a high point, this is definitely reason enough for me to get going today.