**While writing this blog post I decided to take a little walk down memory lane and pull some Instagram posts that I have made over the years, showing the diversity of my fitness journey – click on any image to check out the post for a little fitness motivation!**
Ok let’s have some real talk here… being in quarantine is highly demotivating. I’ve heard from clients and friends alike that this season of life has left them exercising far less than they used to. I don’t write this blog post to shame those who have not been exercising and I am not putting these words on the page to brush my shoulder off. I am writing this to share some insight after a full decade of not “falling off the bandwagon.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve taken de-load weeks that only involved walking and stretching, I’ve gone on vacations that involved much less exercising than normal and I’ve had seasons where I was stronger, seasons where I was faster and seasons where I was leaner than others. That all being said, I have kept this bod moving with intentional exercise for over a decade.
It was in high school that I started intentionally “hitting the gym” and though the gym is still a happy place for me, there have been seasons that have involved much less gym and much more running outside, or shoot, how about now… many more at-home workouts. The key here is that no matter the season, I have been consistent with exercise. There has yet to be a season for me where I simply ditched exercising and woke up one day thinking darn I’ve lost all my strength and cardiovascular capacity. Here is why…
Fitness Motivation Principle #1: I move my body in ways I enjoy
This form of fitness motivation has manifested in many ways over the years. I had a group fitness junkie phase, a cardio bunny phase filled with lots of running and little lifting, a crossfit phase filled with lots of lifting and little running, and the list goes on. I am currently doing a combination of HIIT classes, running and strength training in my apartment.
The most important thing about this principle is tuning into your body and leaning into what sounds fun and energizing! If you want to dance, dance! If you want to roller blade, hit up the park! Lifting something heavy sounds good? Well… quarantine has made this hard, but don’t fear, soon you will be able to again 😉
If you actually enjoy your form of exercise you are wayyyyy more likely to be consistent with it. Also remind yourself that this will likely change with time, and that’s healthy. Just because you loved Pilates four years ago doesn’t mean you will today. No one can put you in a box as a “marathoner” or a “crossfitter” or a “yogi” – that’s all up to you! I have given myself the flexibility to lean into different seasons of fitness over the years and it has treated me so well! I encourage you do to the same.
Fitness Motivation Principle #2: I remind myself that something is better than nothing
Live into that gray space baby! This is something I talk about with clients all the time. When you live in a black and white world it is easy to fall into “all or nothing” tendencies. Little voices in your head begin to pop up saying, “If you aren’t going to be drenched in sweat for 60 minutes, why are you bothering to do anything?!” FALSE. Quiet that voice because it could not be more wrong.
Something is always better than nothing. Doing 5 pushups is better than doing no pushups. Going for a 20 minute walk is better than doing nothing at all, even if you originally planned to run 3 miles. Remind yourself that gray space is your friend – lean into it!
If we expected every work out to be perfect we would never adhere to a program because guess what… every work out isn’t perfect. We have tired days and stressed days and headache-y days and PMS-ey days. It’s all normal, but don’t let all of those things become excuses to avoid moving your body all together.
Fitness Motivation Principle #3: Being well has become a part of my identity
This is a topic of conversation in the habit-change community – when something becomes a part of your identity, actions that reinforce your identity become far easier to complete. This can work in bad ways too. For a smoker, every time they smoke a cigarette, it reinforces their identity as a smoker. For a marathoner, every run reinforces their identity as a runner. What is the script in your head leading you to do? Or not do?
As a personal trainer and wellness coach it has become a deep part of my identity to live a healthy life. That doesn’t mean I only eat broccoli and chicken and exercise for 90 minutes every day. Wellness is finding sustainable balance with your habits and knowing when to seek some fitness motivation. It is knowing that there is room for chocolate cake on occasion so that there isn’t temptation to eat the whole cake. It’s moving my body in ways that are fun so that I don’t despise exercise or use it as punishment for my food choices. It is taking care of my mental health so that I can be the best version of myself for others.
I encourage you to think about certain healthy habits in your life that support your identity. Maybe you are a nurse who deeply identifies with helping others and realize it is far harder to do your active job when you are out of shape. Maybe you are a mother who finds it to be your life’s purpose to raise little ones, but you know that getting out of breath and being immobile holds you back from playing with your children, so you stay fit for the wee ones! Whatever it is, reflect on something you already identify with, that is supported by you taking care of your health!
There are the 3 key principles to keep that bod moving! Remember that this isn’t a linear journey, but rather one filled with reflection, adjustment and constantly checking in with what you need. Move that body as a celebration of it’s capabilities!!