Motivation to exercise is like any other motivation. To stick with anything in life the desire has to come from within. You must find the reason that is true to you and remind yourself why you’re doing it everyday. Your motivation to eat right and exercise can simply be to look good. Even better than that, motivation for strength and health.
They say that when you do something for 30 days it becomes a habit. The best advice I can give is to make mini goals. I find that goals are a great motivator. Don’t you just get a good feeling after you clean your home? Doesn’t it feel great when you finish a school project early? I would suggest you feed off of that mechanism, there’s a built-in reward system in all of us. You are guaranteed to feel better after accomplishing something as opposed to putting it off.
To make something last you must make it entertaining to you. I usually don’t recommend people go for a run, I recommend you go out there and play. Do what you enjoy, for me it’s riding a bike, going for a swim, and shooting some hoops. As children most of us were exercising most of the time without thinking of it as exercise, we just did it. Not up for play? Go out for an hour walk. Walks are great for epiphanies!
Studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle puts you at risk of developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. The body is meant to be active! When left alone it deteriorates itself, pretty crazy. All of this can be avoided though by caring for yourself.
What if I mess up?
Messing up is totally normal! Even the most fittest people out there slip up, the difference is that they make up for it or keep slip ups to a minimum. I did my first weight cut from 205 to 173, but it wasn’t until I stopped using a slip up as an excuse to keep eating terribly. I remember throwing my diet out the window whenever I gave in to the temptation of ice cream. We all have cravings, its cool. Moderation is key.
Do I have to be strict?
You see, the misconception is that to get in shape you have to only eat chicken salads and drink a special tea. Wow, there’s so much crap out there. There have been cases of people losing weight on junk food alone, this however is not recommended.
Like I mentioned in part one of this series, weight loss or weight gain is totally dependent on calories consumed v energy expended. Go ahead and have your beer, your pizza, and your ice cream too! You don’t want to have your whole diet consisting of junk food alone though as they are low in essential nutrients.
You’ll never attain a great physique eating just junk food, there’s a give and take with everything. The bulk of your diet should consist of whole foods. This means fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, and unprocessed meat.
Key to staying motivated
Fortunately for me, I enjoy the challenge of physical activity. I’m motivated purely by becoming a better version of myself. I don’t need anyone to drag me to the gym, I love it. You can get there too by setting goals, as I previously mentioned.
Instead of just saying that you want to lose weight, specify exactly how much. If you want to get stronger, specify how much stronger (example: ‘I want to bench 225 lbs for five reps’). Set concrete goals. I recommend picking something small. Even if the overall goal is to lose 50 pounds, make your mini goal 5 pounds. Once you hit that small goal why stop!? The best way to achieve a large goal is to break it up into manageable parts, don’t get overwhelmed.
Set a small concrete goal, attain it and get that motivation. Winning feels good.
The power of winning
Here’s a quick story.. After a severe accident that I experienced in 2014, I woke up from an induced coma with all of the muscle mass that I had gained over the years completely gone. Nothing was left. I couldn’t recognize myself. I couldn’t do anything- walk, feed myself, sit up, wipe myself, nothing.
It was a weird feeling to not be able to do things I had been doing all of my life, especially walking. Walking was the big one. I was used to being so active. I had to use a walker for over a week because I was too weak and couldn’t keep my balance.
My mind was set on walking!
When I was finally able to take those first few steps on my own, that was all the motivation I needed. All I wanted to do was walk down and back the hospital hallway.. With that determination and motivation I picked up my head, picked my chest up, and little by little I began to walk up and down the hallway alone. In under two weeks I was able to regain all the abilities I had lost, admittedly a little shaky, but regained nonetheless.
Sometimes all we need is a small win.
Putting it all together
Hope this three part series gave you a good idea of how to get started. We were able to touch on diet, exercise, and staying motivated. No one is perfect and you don’t have to be. There is rarely a straight line to success, so expect some obstacles and forgive yourself. I’m a firm believer that victory tastes sweeter when it’s earned. So go out there, fall, and get back up. You’ll be better off because of it.
Here’s a wrap up of the series
- Find your motivation.
- Set small-concrete-attainable goals for diet and exercise.
- Hold yourself accountable and track your calories using a free fitness app.
- Get moving by doing something fun. Include strength training.
- Treat yourself in a conscious fashion.
- Keep track of your progress using a body weight scale.
- Forgive yourself and move on.
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I am not a healthcare professional. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet or exercise program. This is for educational purposes only, I am speaking from my own experience and from what I have learned through my own research.
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