Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Get out Of Bed, and Get to the Gym!

How's everyone feeling today??  Ready to get up, get dressed, set some goals, overcome some obstacles and tackle your day!??!  I haven’t worked out for two weeks, but I’ve got a really good excuse (Coughs**). This excuse involves being overworked, two sick maniac kids, the "Blah", and lots of Kleenex and orange juice, and I’m pretty sure that’s all you want to read. (This is not an excuse - I'm serious...)… I did workout last night though; my exercise being a series of high-intensity core and weight rotations, and let me tell you, the sweat was literally dripping off my face, pits and butt (not that you need to know that, but you know what I mean!).

Anyways, back to excuses… when it comes to working out, many of us make up far less legitimate excuses like not having enough time, not having clean workout clothes, being too tired, being in a bad mood etc. Here are eight practical tips you can employ that help make those excuses even less valid, so you can fit more exercise into your life: 

1. Do it first thing 
Dr. Barbara Brehm is a professor of exercise and sport studies at Smith College in Massachusetts and the author of Successful Fitness Motivation Strategies. In her book, Brehm explains that first thing in the morning you are at your lowest point of stress in the day because nothing has happened yet to put you in a bad mood. People who exercise first thing in the morning have the highest adherence rates because they haven’t had the chance to make a bunch of excuses not to.  That being said, the majority of us have kids or early morning responsibilities, so don't kick yourself if this isn't quite achievable in your routine (yet).

2. Set the alarm
On the above note, if you’re going to exercise first thing in the morning, make sure you set the alarm early enough to allow time for exercise before work. I know that when the alarm goes off, you’re going to be tempted to reset it and sleep a little longer (I did this morning and it was not cool), but realize that the extra bit of sleep you get is going to be lousy because:

a) You have to waken yourself to reset the alarm.

b) The alarm jarred you out of sleep in the first place, and it’s always hard getting back into a deep sleep after that.

c) You might feel a sense of guilt for going back to sleep instead of exercising.

So, when the alarm goes off, make a point of just heading straight to the bathroom and flicking that bright light on. Then you’ll be awake and have nothing better to do but workout. 

3. Always have your stuff ready
On days that I workout at night, I leave my gear sitting on the floor right next to my side of the bed.  Always plan for having the proper gear ready and at hand. Place your gym bag in the car or in the front foyer so you never forget it, and have your personal hygiene routine down so that you can efficiently make yourself look and smell good if you need to go to work after your workout.

4. Get Enough Sleep
Do you really need to stay up late to find out who is getting a rose on The Bachelor? If you’re tired, then you won’t want to exercise, especially if it’s an early morning workout. Instead of TV, get into a good book and take it to bed. Get horizontal and comfortable, read a few pages, then zonk out.

5. Do it with a friend
Workout partners can be very motivating because they expect you to show up. They are an external pressure that makes you accountable. If they’re expecting you to be there for a run, a class, or just to be on the elliptical next to them at the gym, then you better go, or you better come up with a great excuse. One of the many reasons to join 90Days2Life, as everyone of the ladies in this group has an accountability partner, someone there to pick them up or remind them of their commitment to themselves! 

6. Sign up for classes
Things like yoga, Pilates, and boot camp classes are awesome, many of the ladies in the group participate in Bikrams, Tantra, IDance....  and I think a big part of its value comes from the motivation factor—for a lot of people these classes are totally worth it for this reason alone. If you’ve paid for a bunch of classes and the instructor and other attendees are going to wonder about you if you’re not there, then this pushes you to go. Also, it becomes part of your schedule. It’s factored in to all the other stuff you have to do in a day and you see it there in your calendar, so it’s serving as a reminder that today is a day to exercise.

7. Get out of the house
People who exercise alone at home have the lowest adherence rates. I think this is because it’s so easy to quit. You jump on a treadmill for five minutes and there is nothing external pushing you to keep going, and there are a lot of distractions like phones, doorbells, kids, televisions, computers and refrigerators tempting you away. Conversely, if you got on a treadmill at a gym and quit after five minutes you’d feel foolish, so instead you keep going. 

8. Just get dressed
This trick will get anyone out the door to run on days that you don't really want to. On days when you're at the computer working on a deadline, or when the house could use some cleaning, or you're not feeling energetic, or a host of other garbage excuses.  Just get dressed into your gear. It takes two minutes. Then, you’re in your sweat suit, you go back to the computer or empty the dishwasher or do whatever non-running task and you feel strange. Something about having your workout clothes on makes you feel like you should be working out, instead of sending out another email or checking Facebook. Sometimes it takes an hour before you reach the turning point; but finally you'll get out the door!

One final bit of advice is to write down the excuses you use to not exercise and then work out your own strategies in advance on how to deal with it.  I wrote mine down, maybe we can share at a later date? Now get out there today, kick butt, do your REX, make it happen.. And remember, you have a goal – attain it!


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