We recently had a great discussion on Weight Loss Motivation. Personally I find it easier to stick to my low carb diet than I do to work out consistently.
Finding motivation to exercise means finding the time to do it, while you have to eat every day anyway – so it’s just a matter of making the right food choices.
I’ll tell you what worked for me…
I joined a gym. But it wasn’t that alone that did the trick, because I’ve joined a gym in the past – and ended up paying for an entire year (under contract) and hardly ever going. Seriously, I probably only went a handful of times the first month. Have you ever done that?? Or bought exercise equipment or DVD’s that just collected dust? It’s frustrating!
Now that I’m working out consistently, I can tell you that I DO have the time. We make time for the things we really want to do – period. A big part of it is getting in the habit. And good habits are just as hard to start, and bad habits are to quit.
I learned something valuable about that recently, by the way. If you’re like me you’re constantly saying things like: I don’t have time to work out, I can’t get motivated to exercise, I can’t this, I don’t that, yada yada yada. I won’t go into the neuroscience behind it, but you probably already know that can do anything you really want to do – and you can’t do anything you keep telling yourself you can’t do. More on that in a second…
So I joined a gym. Again. What made it different this time than last? I actually GO. lol. Seriously though, what made the real difference was having a friend to exercise with. My friend Kim and I recently reconnected, and we started out meeting for breakfast or dinner and catching up. Lots of laughs, tons of fun, but also a lot of food on the table every time we met up. haha
We had known each other since we were 19, and both of us were going on 40, and we talked about really wanting to get in shape, lose the extra weight we’d picked up in our 30′s, etc. All over a table full of food, no less.
She was the one who got the bright idea to start meeting up at the gym (instead of the buffet) and I’m so glad she suggested it! I’d been trying for years to find a “workout buddy” or even just someone who wanted to go to aerobics classes together.
It’s HARD to find a good workout buddy because EVERYONE struggles with the motivation to exercise! LOL.
I kept trying, and kept trying, and it finally did happen. So even if you’re like me, there IS hope. I’m a total introvert, I’m not from this small town and don’t know many people here, and I work from home so I don’t meet people very often. (That’s a lot of can’ts!)
Fortunately Kim is an extrovert, and she’s from here and knows people. So before long, the two of us… turned into four! I think Kim already knew the other two ladies, but we all really got to know each other by seeing each other at the gym and getting to know each other there.
Here’s a recent picture of the four of us. Apologies it’s a dark photo, the lighting in there is terrible for pictures. I’m the one in the middle taking the picture:
My advice: go to a gym. You may have to try more than one to find the “atmosphere” that suits you. I’ve tried three already. And all three times I made a serious effort to say hello, be friendly, attend classes, connect with the other new people, get over my shyness long enough to suggest we come on the same days and keep each other motivated, etc.
If you really want it, you have to MAKE it happen. And don’t give it up when it doesn’t work out right away. I’ve lost many a “workout buddy” due to lack of motivation – on one end or the other. But if you do find or meet that one fun person to exercise with… it makes all the difference in the world!
Now my workout time is actually social time. We talk, laugh, catch up, goof off and generally have a good time – all while sweating and burning calories.
We motivate each other too. We were all four talking recently about how we didn’t really see results (meaning: on the scale) just working out. We only saw them when we stick to our healthy diets AND work out. Only two of us are actually “dieting” – I do low carb, and Tiffany counts calories.
Tiffany has us all taking things up a notch. We’re not just doing a full hour on the treadmill anymore – we’re doing crunches, weights, machines, etc. That’s Tiffany on the right:
“I Can’t Jog.”
Tiffany talked me into doing intermittent jogging on the treadmill one night. So we’d go between a fast walk and a jog. It wasn’t easy. I’ve always said “I can’t jog.” But not wanting to wimp out, I tried it, and found I could stand it for a short distance then go back to a fast walk. So much for the “I can’t jog” bit.
All it took was for someone to urge me to try it, and being put on the spot. Now I’m hooked! lol. I noticed you burn A LOT more calories on the treadmill jogging than you do walking fast – even at a steep incline. And I could FEEL the difference!
I was going to the gym with the girls up to five nights a week, but my schedule changed recently and I’m down to twice a week. Lately I’ve been thinking it would be great to start jogging super early in the mornings with my Great Dane. My jog equals a very slow trot for him (lol) but he loves it when I pick up the pace.
I’ve been thinking I want to start this morning jogging ritual for the last couple of weeks – ever since Tiffany got me hooked – but again, I’m struggling to find that motivation to exercise… alone. It would be really cool to find another “sunrise jogger”.
We’re so much more likely to go when someone is expecting us to show up. The accountability factor. And it’s so much more fun than just working out alone.
That said, I’m working on it, and I aim to start going with my Great Dane – ideally most mornings. He would love it, and so would I. Sometimes it’s just a matter of talking yourself into it until you finally stop thinking about it… and just GO DO IT.
In the past, I had considered hiring a Personal Trainer for this very reason. It’s definitely an option – at the very least do some research and get some prices. It would be well worth saving up for! And join a gym or go to local exercise classes, get out of your comfort zone and be sociable, meet people!, and ask friends or family – anyone you know – about exercising together.
In the meantime, look for ways you can turn your “social time” into “fitness time.” I had a friend that wanted to hang out one Saturday recently, and I suggested we go hike Burgess Falls. It was a GREAT workout and a really fun day.
I would love to hear what motivates YOU to exercise, what you love most about it, what holds you back, or what you think about the idea of making workout friends…
(And don’t say I can’t! LOL. I *finally* “got lucky” but it was after a long time of actively pursuing it, and really *wanting* it to happen!)
If you have kids, there are some great fitness games that kids of all ages really enjoy – which would be great for quality family time AND fitness. Let THEM pick the game for whatever console you have, so they’re more likely to do it with you.
I hope some of these ideas prove helpful. I cannot tell you how HAPPY I am now that I’m finally working out consistently, and how great it feels to be seeing RESULTS.