Exercise. Some people love it, some people hate it (with a passion). Regardless of your personal feelings toward it, everyone needs to be doing it. Physical activity is vital to not only our health, but our overall wellbeing and quality of life. It enables us to have more energy, feel better, and God willing, live longer. In order to take care of the bodies that God has given us, we have to make exercising a priority in our lives. The most difficult aspect of exercising for a lot of us is just getting started, making and committing to the decision that this is the day you’re going to start exercising. If you’ve been wanting to start working out again, but are having a hard time getting motivated, I have some tips and strategies that I think will make the process a lot easier for you.
1. Set Realistic Goals
If you’re new to exercising, or coming back after an injury or a busy season of life, you don’t want to place unrealistic goals on you or your workout schedule. A lot of people set themselves up for failure when they start off with the goal of exercising 6-7 days a week for at least an hour. Although this may be a good goal to have for the future, this is just too much to stick with in the beginning of a new routine. Instead, start by setting small attainable goals, like working out 2-3 times a week or going for a 30 minute walk every other night after dinner. At the end of the week, you’ll feel good knowing that you were able to accomplish the goals you set for yourself. The following week you may even feel motivated to add an extra workout, or increase the time of an existing workout, since you were able to accomplish last week’s goals so easily.
2. Forget The Number On The Scale
When you start exercising you’re going to lose some weight, but eventually you’ll hit a weight loss plateau, which will make losing weight more difficult. Don’t get discouraged if the number on the scale doesn’t shrink. Working out helps us lose fat, but also causes us to gain muscle, which can keep the number on the scale in a fixed position for a while. I rarely use my scale to analyze my progress. Instead, I focus on how my body is changing and how much better I’m feeling (more energy, increased stamina). Progress takes time and isn’t always accurately measured by the number on a bathroom scale.
3. Track Your Daily Fitness
Get a dry erase white board or a journal to track the length and type of workouts you’re doing throughout the week. By writing it all out, you’ll be able to keep track of your progress and how many consecutive weeks you’ve been active. Seeing where you started, and where you are after a month or two will motivate and challenge you to see where you can get in another two months. This was a game changer in my fitness.
4. Find A Workout Buddy
Find someone who will keep you accountable and who you’ll enjoy spending time with. By looking forward to catching up with a friend, you’ll be less likely to skip your workout for that day.
5. Buy Some New Workout Clothes
Get something you feel cute and good in! Feeling good in your workout gear boosts your confidence and motivation, which will lead to a more effective workout.
By listening to worship music, your favorite Christian podcast (I listen to Pastor’s Perspective on KWAVE), or sermons from your favorite pastor while you exercise you can build both your faith and your muscles! If you’re a runner, listen to praise music that talks about running (Jesus Loves Me by Chris Tomlin, Carry My Soul by Phil Wickham, or My Revival by Lauren Daigle), it will motivate you to push yourself as hard as you can. Sometimes when I listen to these songs, I imagine I’m running toward Jesus, which helps me to forget how tired my legs are or how heavy I’m breathing. Try this the next time you go for a run, it works!
7. Find What Your Body Likes/Try Something New
Some people like lifting heavy weights while others like Pilates, it just depends on what type of body you want and what works best for the body you have. The only way you’re going to find your workout groove (or soul mate) is by trying everything that interests you. By changing your workout routine periodically, you can also prevent falling into a workout rut and losing interest in your workouts. Take a dance class, go on a hike, swap workout DVDs with one of your friends, or find a new workout on YouTube. Here’s one of my favorite workouts and one you can do today and write down in your fitness journal:
Wasn’t that workout amazing? It’s one of my all time favorites! I can’t believe how much your arms can burn from such light weights! I’d love to hear some of the things you do to stay active and motivated, leave me a comment and let me know.