I love exercising. No that’s not true. Love isn’t the right word for it. Before a scheduled exercise session I often think “I can’t be bothered”, “I’m too tired”, “It’s warm in bed” or “It’s been a really busy day” etc. BUT a couple of years ago when I got into exercising regularly I discovered two things: a) I always feel better after exercise then I did beforehand, and b) It’s not about motivation, it’s about habit.
Now I don’t wake up in the morning wearing full make-up, leap out of bed, slip on the latest workout gear and run out the door smiling at the beautiful sunrise. Noooo. The reality is more me wiping sleep from my eyes and falling out the door. Exercise is different for everyone so you need to find what works for you, could be the gym, boot camp, yoga, a brisk walk or full on Crossfit. Here’s what works for me:
I Exercise with Others
There’s two parts to this. Firstly I train with a group outdoors as I really like the motivation of working alongside other people. There are people who are stronger/faster than me that I strive to catch. Secondly I am committed to a particular group so if I don’t show up I’m missed.
I Exercise at Regular Times and Days
This is about habit. Exercise is part of certain days for me and those sessions are non-negotiable. Work, friends and family are scheduled around those sessions. I don’t just try to “fit” exercise in when I can. If that was the case it would never happen.
I Set Fitness Goals
When I first started group training I was about 20kg heavier than I am today. I couldn’t run half a lap of the soccer pitch where I train. So my first goal was to run half a lap, then it became three quarters, then a whole lap, then two laps etc. A couple of years ago I ran my first 10km fun run, in July I will run my first half marathon. Your goals don’t have to be huge, just half a lap was all I wanted, but when you reach a goal it feels awesome and you want to set the next one.
I Don’t Exercise to Lose Weight
Some people can lose weight through exercise but if that is your sole motivation you’ll end up disappointed (and probably heavier). I exercise as it makes me feel stronger physically and mentally. In my head I’ve worked through all sorts of difficult issues in my life whilst running. So not only does my body benefit but so too my overall wellbeing.
So love wasn’t the right word. But ‘habit’, ‘goals’ and ‘you’ll feel better afterwards’ just aren’t as catchy.
What exercise and habits work for you??