Generally, when I go on vacation I manage to squeeze in some workouts no matter where I am, since even the smallest amount of exercise makes me feel better about the inevitable vacation indulgence. But on a recent vacation that involved being on the road for serious amounts of time between stops, I haven't had an official workout in nearly two weeks! On top of that, this particular vacation included late-night Doritos snacking, meet-and-greets over highly caloric mixed drinks, and visiting my favorite (but not necessarily diet-friendly) restaurants.
Now that vacation is over, I'd like to get back into the swing of things, especially because I worked so hard to look and feel great before I left for my trip. But I'm having a hard time feeling motivated — I know my first workout is going to be a rough one — both mentally and physically — and I'm dreading it. To self-motivate, I've gathered a few of my favorite motivational tips below, so check them out! And please let me know if you have any tips of your own. I'm all ears!
Get motivated when you keep reading
Here are highlights:
- Find something you enjoy. Bottom line, they say, if you don't like what you're doing, you won't stick with it. If you're not sure what you like, explore: Take a dance class, learn to Rollerblade or swim, or hike in some nearby mountains. Try them all. Keep experimenting until you find the thing that moves you, mentally and physically.
- Be a morning exerciser. Statistics show that people are more likely to stick with a fitness program if they exercise first thing in the morning, says exercise physiologist Kelli Calabrese. There's less of a chance to make excuses, and you get it over with before your day begins.
- Schedule your workout. "Write it in your planner just like a meeting or appointment," says Calabrese. Schedule a whole month in advance, writing the day and time of your workout. "And if you have to cancel one, reschedule it immediately."
- Chart your progress. Start by getting a fitness assessment when you first begin a program. (If you're not a gym member, do it on your own. Write down your weight, measurements, and BMI, then record how long you're able to exercise on the first day.) In three months, you'll see how much progress you made.
- Abandon the all-or-nothing approach. So you don't have an hour? How about 30 minutes? It's certainly better than nothing, and if you work smart, you can really reap benefits from a 30-minute workout, says exercise physiologist Nicole Gunning. And recognize you're fallible. You'll fall off the wagon a time or two. Don't beat yourself up. Just get back into your routine and stop procrastinating.
The other day I worked out with my sister-in-law, who is a personal trainer and very, very fit. I was nervous that she'd intimidate me, but instead, I was totally motivated by her drive and skills. Ordinarily I may not push myself because I have no point of reference when I am working out alone, but working out with a super-fit friend motivated me to workout just a little harder than I normally would.
I know that it could seem intimidating to get a fit buddy as a workout partner, but as long as your fit workout partner is a nice person, working out alongside her will challenge you to push your own limits (run a little faster, lift a little heavier weight, etc.).
You don't have to go as far as enlisting a personal trainer, but what about your friend who goes to the gym every other day? Or what about your brother who is a marathon runner? Maybe your husband could even be a fit buddy for you.
Then one day you could be the fit buddy that someone else needs to help them along in their own workout endeavors.
I am always looking for inspiration and I found it recently in one fit and fast mom - Ceci St. Geme. Here's some interesting numbers on St. Geme:
17:30 - Her average 5k time, these days
6 - Number of kids she has - ages range from 8 to 19
44 - Her age
6 - Number of times she has appeared on the cover of Runner's World
Here's what she had to say in a recent interview with the folks at Runner's World:
"I run a 5-K, and I'm home by 10 a.m. A marathon and its training takes so much more time and energy."
"There's always the guilt factor when you take time for yourself, whether it's for running or photography or whatever. I definitely worry about dropping the ball with one of the kids, but I'd worry about that even if I didn't run. I'm more prone to think, I run, which makes me happy--and a happy mom equals happy kids."
"Cross-training doesn't really work for me. Running is really the only thing that prepares me for racing."
(on having had au pairs, baby-sitters, and housekeepers at various times)
"I realize I'm extremely lucky to be in the position I am," she says. "With six kids, I'd be doing laundry and cleaning all day if I didn't have some help."
So, my treat to myself this Mother's Day is going to be a nice long run. Just me, my iPod and the road. After I have digested my breakfast eaten in bed, of course!