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Staying Motivated When You Begin An Exercise Program

Some of the most common reasons people cite for beginning an exercise program is that they want to lose weight or gain muscle or tone. They begin exercising full of enthusiasm with these goals in mind but slowly find that enthusiasm and motivation dropping. Getting motivated can be challenging, and continuing the level of initial enthusiasm can be even more challenging.

The main motivator is to remember WHY you want to work out in the first place: to improve your health, feel better and look better. Be patient with your workout routine and your desire to see results. Your body didn’t get into its present state in a couple of weeks and it will take more than a couple of weeks to change the current shape of your body.

Routine is Important

Its helpful if you make it a habit. Working out is similar to brushing your teeth–it’s essential to your good health and if you make it part of your daily routine it will become a natural habit. Determine and maintain a consistent routine. If you set aside Monday, Wednesday and Friday as your days to work out, then try to stick to that schedule and don’t cancel your workout.  Enjoy the process of getting fit; feeling stronger and watching your body take shape.

Give it Time

Some people get frustrated and give up if they don’t see external changes in their bodies immediately. Don’t let that happen to you. Keep in mind that change doesn’t come overnight, and when it comes to losing weight or toning up your muscles, small changes occur with every step you run and every dumbbell you lift. It’s all worth it.

Step By Step

Every time you walk to work instead of taking the bus, you’re strengthening your heart. Each time you work out or mow the lawn or take the stairs instead of the elevator, you’re taking a step toward a healthier life.

Your Efforts Pay Off Eventually

Even if you don’t see external changes immediately, know that your efforts are improving your body on the inside. The outside will come with your continued work. So keep at it. It takes approximately six weeks to see a physical change from a regular exercise program.

Visualize Your Goal

Thinking about fitting into that special dress or looking fit for that school reunion can be great motivators. Picture in your mind what you will look like and how good you will feel. In fact, research has documented that you have to have a goal you can visualize before you can handle the trials and tribulations of a new fitness routine-but keep in mind that exercise is critical to your heart and cardiovascular system and not just your ego.

Do It Because It’s Good For You

Exercise should be a priority in your life because not only do you look and feel better, it essentially affects the quality of your life. Get motivated by focusing on the benefits of exercise:

  1. Helps you lose weight.
  2. Tones muscle.
  3. Improves your posture.
  4. Helps you look and feel better.
  5. Strengthens your bones and muscles.
  6. Helps lower blood pressure and susceptibility to diabetes, arthritis and heart disease.
  7. Helps reduce stress and increase energy.
  8. Improves your quality of sleep.
  9. Increases your stamina.
  10. Improves your immunity to minor illnesses.

Need Help?

And if you find yourself still feeling like your motivation, is waning, consider contacting a qualified personal trainer to help. The guidance of a personal trainer can help you stick to your routine. If you’re considering hiring a personal trainer, make sure that trainer is certified, and try to speak to current and former clients of the trainer.

The time to improve your health is right now! Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week. Start right now. Go for a walk. Turn on some music and dance. If you can take that first step, then you can be on your way to working out and getting into shape. An investment in your health today will pay rewarding dividends in your future.

 

 

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Deliberate Practice to Reach Your Fitness and Health Goals

Written by: Callie Parry, Intern

The long standing rule has been that it takes an accumulation of 10,000 hours to be considered a master in something. In the premise of change, those 5 big zeros are daunting and discouraging. If only there was a way to cut down those hours even to just 1,000.

Recent findings have countered this statement by suggesting that quality trumps quantity. Those zeros can be cut back by focusing more on about how we are practicing rather than how long we are practicing. The type of practice I am speaking of is that of deliberate practice. Deliberate practice can be applied to all facets of life but is especially helpful in health and fitness related goals. Deliberate practice is utilizing mindfulness to ensure that workouts are all they can possibly be. It is a process-focused approach rather than outcome-focused. When individuals focus merely on the results they want they find themselves often getting discouraged because the results don’t come right away. By shifting ones attention to the method, progress is more quickly observed leaving people with a better sense of accomplishment. Practicing with intent and focus is not necessarily easy, it takes concentrated effort and commitment to work.

There are lots of ways to become more deliberate in one’s practice, but I would like to specifically touch on the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness seems to be the new craze these days and it may be for good reason. Do not fret. I am not speaking of meditating for a half an hour every morning, although that is never a bad idea. I’m thinking more of being mindful and present in your daily health and fitness efforts. First, mindfulness comes from utilizing the breath. Taking deep breaths in and out during exercise and simply throughout the day will keep one capable of focusing on the moment.

After establishing breath, take time to engage all the senses. For example, when performing a weight training session notice the feeling of the weights in your hands and the contraction of your muscles. Pay close attention to your form and address any unwanted aches or pains. Staying present in the body is just as important as the breath and will help you get more out of your physical exertion.

The most effective way to stay mindful and present is to remove distractions. Those who practice deliberately hit the gym or the trail with the intention to do work. Their workout is more important than gossiping with their workout buddy or the movie on the screen. I’m not saying that working out with a partner or watching something while you workout is bad, but make sure that those aspects are not distracting you from the work you are aiming to perform.

Lastly, the best way to engage in deliberate practice and reap its rewards is to refrain from any trace of negativity in the dialogue that runs through your head. Letting negative thoughts about yourself and your journey only leads to discouragement and hinders your ability to put forth that hard work.

Now that you know how to step up your workout game, give it a try. Breathe, engage your senses, remove distractions and ward off negativity. Be deliberate in your practice no matter what it may be and you will be encouraged by the progress in the process.

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Motivation Waning? One Possible Reason

One minute you feel motivated, the next not so much. You want to, you don’t want to. Do you ever hear yourself say:

• I want to be in good shape and I don’t like to exercise.

• I want to lose weight and I don’t want to stop eating my favorite foods.

If you can relate to these thoughts you may be feeling ambivalent or unsure about making changes. Ambivalence is a normal part of preparing for change. These ambivalent statements signal conflicting beliefs, desires and behaviors. Acknowledging and working with these conflicts make change more likely. If you can resolve ambivalence you can dramatically increase your success with making a positive change.

To assist you in moving from ambivalence to determination I have compiled some questions for you to consider. Find a quiet moment and take your time with this. Ask yourself these questions and explore your answers without judgment.

What worries you about your current situation?

What do you see as problematic about your _____(weight, health, fitness)?

How would you like your life to be two years from now?

Why would you like to make a change?

What do you feel like you need?

How ready are you to make this change?

What are the three best reasons for you to do it?

What encourages you that you can change if you want to?

How important is it for you to make this change and why?

How might you go about it in order to succeed?

What would you be willing to try (intention) or what do you think you might do?

So what do you think you’ll do?

 

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