Workout Tip #5: Get Motivated!

Motivation…whether it’s to clean our room or mow our lawn, it’s not easy and to be honest, it’s probably not the same for everyone. But, motivation has to be at the root of successful workouts. As I mentioned in a previous post, you can’t even start to exercise if you don’t get to the gym, get off the couch, etc. I know it sounds very mental and working out is supposed to be physical, but inspiration is just as important as perspiration when it comes to losing weight (my apologies to Thomas Edison).

Admittedly, I am to the point now where I am simply motivated as a matter of fact. I don’t say this to brag, but I don’t really think about it; I simply do it. But, it wasn’t always that way. Unless working out has become a life habit, motivation remains an important component. So, here are a few of my suggested motivational tips (note: I’ve not actually used all of these, but figure they’d be good). Today I’m going to discuss more short term tips and next week, I’ll write part two which will detail more long term motivational tips.

Short Term:

Visualize it– Visualize what you want to accomplish at that very moment. If your goal is to go to the gym, then don’t let yourself even consider going home to sit on the couch. Keep focused and see yourself at the gym, on the bike, etc.

Filter out the noise– Life is really busy and it’s easy to think that all the little things pulling at us are more important than working out. Remove the deadlines, the home stress, and everything else from your mind. Exercise (which helps focus anyway) should be a big priority, which means that the little things vying for our daily attentions should not lead us to avoid exercise.

Remind yourself of the immediate benefits– I overheard a guy at the YMCA say how he’s never (except when sick) left the YMCA feeling worse than when he came in. He meant that although it may have been a pain to drag himself in, he always felt better after exercising. I can completely affirm his statement. Remind yourself of the immediate, great feeling that you get when you workout.

More coming next week, so check back!

Workout Tip #4: Work Out Without Working Out

Sometimes you don’t have to “work out” to get a work out. In fact, some of the best fitness moments I can remember were times when I got lost in the fun and had a great workout to boot. I remember in high school playing pickup basketball for hours with friends. We played aggressive and rarely stopped for breaks. The sheer fun and competition were excellent and I burned more calories in those 2-3 (sometimes 4) hours than I would have in a gym. And, the experience was much more memorable.

Last week, I watched this principle in action when I went to Cedar Point with my school. I walked around a huge amusement park in hot weather, logging nearly 17.000 steps on my pedometer! I was way too tired to go to the gym afterward or even move really! Yet, I didn’t need to because it was an incredible workout and also incredible fun. I also got paid since I was technically working! Not bad.

So, find those ways to work out without really “working out.” They’ll make you fitter, healthier, and happier.

Workout Tip#3: Just Show Up

Heath Road was the point of no return. If, on my way to the YMCA, I could cross the threshold of Health Road, I knew a solid workout was in my future. Heath Road was important because a left turn followed by a quick right turn onto Wilson Mills Rd. led to my old house. So, after a full day as a high school teacher, the choice was difficult: turn onto Heath and end up on the couch or in front of the computer or keep going to the YMCA. Usually, I just went forward, but occasionally the pull of doing nothing was too much.

The point of this post? Sometimes the most important thing you can do regarding your exercise program is just show up. I’ve never gotten to the YMCA and just left. When I was there, I figured I should workout, even if it wasn’t for a terribly long time. I think that is true for most people. Just getting to the gym to work out is half the battle.

In fact, this is why I prefer to work out at the gym and not at home: because my house has a variety of uses, the gym has one. At home, I’m constantly distracted with other choices and temptations. I don’t always “show up” like I do when I go to the YMCA. There, it’s pretty much working out or nothing. At home, it’s working out or eating or the computer or the TV or the dishes or…you get the point.

To be successful at fitness, you may have to identify the “Heath Roads” in your life. What is keeping you from getting to the gym and working out?

Introducing Workout Tips

Previously, I posted my series on twenty changes that I made that made me healthier and led to my weight loss. I’ve decided that, with summer coming up, I would start to focus specifically on my workout tips. Let me give you some background.

I was a very active child, but with the advent of the Nintendo Entertainment System that all stopped. I went from active to sedentary very quickly. However, in high school I decided that being fat and slothful wasn’t the way to popularity, so I started lifting weights and joined the football team. Football and training for it kept me in good shape, but I didn’t exactly love football. So, after high school, I lost a lot of my motivation for working out.

In college I was only a short walk away from a gorgeous state of the art workout facility. Yet, I rarely used it. Classwork and other stuff kept me busy and one of my biggest regrets is being near my heaviest weights during my college years. It seems to be fairly common since the freshman 15 (pounds) is a stereotype. I had the freshman 15, the sophomore 20, etc. My senior year, I finally got motivated and lost a lot of weight and got fit and was thin throughout most of graduate school. Still, after I got into the “real world” I let myself go again and was back on the yo yo train. It’s not a pleasant ride!

In  2005, I started at my current job as a high school teacher. Although teenagers are gaining weight at dangerous levels, by and large they are thinner and fitter than the average population. You gotta love youth! This was a constant reminder of my own fitness shortcomings and also how far I’d fallen (I had been in great shape in high school and grad school). On August 6th 2007, I decided I had had enough. I was done with the yo yo dieting and tired of being the overweight guy. A switch went off in my head and I started eating healthily and working out. And, I haven’t looked back nearly two years later.

That time has been successful, but also filled with hits and misses, especially with fitness. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out what worked for me. For the next couple of weeks, I am going to share my fitness tips on this blog to help others follow in my path. I went from a soft 169 pounds to 150 pounds of almost solid muscle. I’m not saying this to brag, just to let you know that I do have some wisdom to share. Don’t look back in five years and regret that you wasted a large chunk of your life by being fat and unhealthy. Start getting fit today. Check back here to get practical tips.