When it comes to exercise, and life in general, I try to be kind to myself. Maintaining a positive attitude is the majority of the fight, and yet so often, this is something so many struggle to do.
For my workouts, I don’t see them as a chore or a negative thing, I would say 90% of the time. It’s become such an ingrained habit and part of my life that it doesn’t often take a lot to get me inspired, but I still have days where I would rather do anything else. This is particularly true on tired, dark mornings, though it hasn’t been too bad thus far.
When it comes to exercise, I try to do workouts that I enjoy so that it’s easier to keep doing it. If you don’t like it, you’ll resent it, and then resent exercise altogether. All it takes is a bit of a sense of adventure and experimentation.
To keep myself motivated in those spots I need it most, and sometimes it’s just to keep myself going when I’m bored on the treadmill, I either turn up my music louder, focus on my daydreams, or mutter inspirations to myself. You’ll remember one such time I told myself to “keep running kitten.” That borders bizarre, but it was so funny, it distracted me from that hump and helped me run longer.
One of my favorite mottos that inspired me throughout my weight loss efforts, and remains one of my sayings when it comes to workouts or doing things I don’t necessarily feel excited about doing, is, “don’t be lazy.”
My Nana would always say the old, “Why put off tomorrow what you can do today.” I see my saying as an abridged version that is quick, efficient, and effective. Obviously there are moments when one does need to lay off the exercise or can take a breath and do something later, but I prefer to refer to such moments as relaxation. Unnecessary laziness is poisonous and so gays to succumb to because people are busy, busy, busy and we let things slide. It helps that I’m a bit of a control freak, so I won’t let my mind rest until my to do list is checked off.
This morning when my alarm went off, I would have been content to turn it back on for later and curl back into my blankets. I suspected that if I did, it was quite possible that my guilty conscience would have woken me up anyways and plagued my now sleepless thoughts. Totally unproductive on all fronts. Instead, I grunted, “Don’t be lazy!” And got myself up and moving. Turns out, as it does 90% of the time! it was worth those few painful moments of tearing myself away from my precious bed.
Last week, anticipating I would be away on Saturday, I switched my rest days and ended up waking up early everyday last week. I started on Thursday facing a threat of snow, so decided to conquer my workout at home. My body was not overly excited as I made my way through a body strength workout, rode the bike for a few minutes, then ended with some Yoga. I was feeling tight and sore and didn’t get enough out of my workout to the point I was wondering if it was even worth it. I tend to do better workouts at the gym or out and about for the run. As it turns out, the snow did not come anyways, but I’m happy to reserve such at home workouts for snow days.
Friday, I got to the gym raring to go and went through six sets of eight reps on the dumbbells. For these, I lift heavier weight in shorter bursts, mostly to mix things up from my other strength days. I finished up with a run/walk on the treadmill where I walked on an incline for five, ran for five; walked for four, ran for four; walked for three, ran for three; walked for two, ran for two; walked for one, ran for one; increasing my incline and speed the shorter the intervals. I finished off my sweaty workout with a few sprints at a faster speed.
As I mentioned, I was in New York City on Saturday, and though we were on the bus for a good eight hours, we also did a lot of walking. For whatever reason, my legs were still sore on Sunday, so instead of getting to the gym, I took another day off and shopped instead. I have to tell you, as much as I like shopping, it works me up into a frenzy and as I was speed walking around that mall, I worked up a sweat! Between Christmas shopping and food shopping, I fit in a ton of walking, with a walk with the dog topping it off. I also was standing the entire day, getting various chores done, like chopping up veggies for the week and making meals. Sometimes, you just need that extra day.
I was feeling rejuvenated on Monday morning and had no trouble waking up and starting off my week with a barbell strength workout. I don’t change up these moves very often, except to increase weight or mix up the order of my routine. I’m quite proud of the variety I include and observing how far I’ve come. After, I jumped on the treadmill and got in a full thirty minute run, feeling strong. I started off at a slower pace and increased the speed slightly in five minute increments that kept things from turning boring and kept my body guessing.
It would have been easy to convince myself to just do a workout at home Tuesday morning, except I reminded myself how much of a waste it had been the week before and how I would feel better once I got up and moving. It was definitely one of those, “Don’t be lazy!” days, but it worked, and I made my way through a leg heavy body strength, Plyometrics, and Yoga workout that is still leaving me sore (in a good way this time).
This morning, I met my friend Nouha not-so-bright and early for a dumbbell strength workout and a run on the treadmill. It helped knowing that Thursday is my off day and we are having some family holiday fun later tonight! Speaking of, check in tomorrow for some thoughts and reflections on my favorite holiday traditions!
And remember, when it comes to exercising and the holidays, try to maintain a regular schedule. Don’t be like those resolutioners who rely on one day a year to make changes that don’t last. The best changes are the ones inspired by yourself, not a culture craze.