As childish as this phrase may sound, more than likely, we’ve all thought it when it comes to exercising. Weight Watchers advises that we seek ways to work in “activity” we enjoy, refusing to call it exercising. But at a certain point in your weight loss journey, you might find that activities you enjoy are no longer doing the trick in getting that scale to budge. Here’s where the gym enters the equation for many of us. Or, here’s where walking outdoors gets bumped up to the less pleasant “activity” of running. (To some people running is pleasant, I hear—those people typically aren’t overweight.) So yes, we’ve established that I don’t like exercising any more than the next person. But I do it like it’s my job. And in the end, it sometimes is actually really fun. I swear.
So Weight Watchers is certainly onto something (shocker) when they say we should try to garner activity points via activities we love. But you’d be surprised at what you can grow to love, or what you might even love right off the bat. For example, I really didn’t think I’d “love” a class as hard as Step and Sculpt. But boy, was it addicting. Sho was hilarious (seriously); chose new, awesome music nearly every week; and really worked us. I sort of felt like she was my own personal drill sargeant. In a good way. Probably because she was so funny and endearing and so clearly had our best interests at heart.
I also didn’t think I would LOVE Tabata, which is interval training. Again, to my shock, I did. Olga too is funny and energetic (in a completely different way from Sho), clearly has our best interests at heart, and pushes us in a good, constructive way.
And the thing that I thought would always be absolutely miserable every step of the way is running, but with the right tunes, I’ve discovered that airy thing they call a “runner’s high.” And boy is it wonderful. I do get it from classes too, but I never thought I’d get it from running and I do. However, I did NOT love running from the get-go. At first, I really hated it. Everything somehow hurt (it goes away if you stick it out, I swear). I hated the jiggling. I was afraid I’d fall on the treadmill (knock on wood). But just start small. Start with one minute, or even 30 seconds if you must, and build up. And if you stick with it (think “indefinitely”) you’ll get there, I promise. If you need some help, check out my running playlist. It really helps get me moving. Also, I read in Shape or Self (sorry, can’t remember!) that “Sexy and I Know It” is scientifically a great song for getting one moving. Give it a whirl! Need some more tips for getting yourself going? Here are some of the things I do to which I attribute my stellar workout performance (as in, I go enough to maintain my weight and still indulge QUITE a bit in the eating department, which is 5 times a week for 75 minutes each):
- Load those iTunes. Or MP3s, CDs, or whatever you choose. Have a fast song on the radio you LOVE? Download it. And this is key:
- Only listen to your favorite fast songs at the gym/on your runs. This is probably my #1 tip. If I’m dying to listen to “Lights,” looks like I’m gonna have to go to the gym. Sorry, self. That’s the deal.
- Pack protein. The easiest thing I’ve found is (surprise!) Pure Protein bars. The Revolution ones are my favorite so far, as they taste somewhat like a Snickers. I always have one of these in my bag. I typically eat one on my way to the gym. These make it so much easier to work out because they have staying power. I know I can rely on them to get me through three classes. (I’ve repeatedly asked my gym to switch the group fitness schedule so I don’t have to act like a crazy lady, but until they comply, this is my lot on Tuesdays.)
- Make it easy on yourself. Pack clothes and sneakers early. Most women swear that cute workout clothes help them actually workout. It does make me a little more excited to do so, but for the longest time only had big old t-shirts and shorts and I still went. Then I lost weight and HAD to buy some that fit, so there was my chance to get some cute ones! Regardless, pack your clothes far in advance. I pack my gym bag in the morning and leave it in the car while I’m at work. I’d have to be pretty sick to drive home with that bright blue bag staring me in the face. A lot of times I might pack everything and forget one thing and then have to go all the way home and back to the gym (very hard!) So do yourself a favor if you drive to the gym and leave an extra set of the usual suspects in your trunk: hair tie, shorts, shirt, sports bra, SOCKS, sneakers. Why do I always forget socks?! If you have a locker, leave them there of course. OR pick a gym really close to your house and get ready there like I used to. Oh, those wonderful days. If that is your situation:
- Whatever you do, don’t sit down. Or if you must, to drink a smoothie or something, put your gym clothes on, including your sneakers, first. But if you don’t have much discipline yet (you will if you stick with it!), avoid it at all costs.
- Tell yourself, “Somewhere, someone more tired than you is working out right now.” Read (essentially) that on Pinterest. More motivation is on my “Motivate Me” board.
- Ask yourself when the last time you regretted working out was. That’s right, probably never. I even worked out with swine flu (although I didn’t know it) and I only regret it ‘cause I might have passed it on. Working out still didn’t kill me! It actually gave me enough energy to get done the few things I needed to at home. For some people, it works better to think of it the reverse way. Think of how crummy you felt the last time you DID bail. Chances are you probably wish you just went. You probably felt guilty.
- Tell yourself you’ll just do the easiest thing (to you). For me, that’s the elliptical or riding the recumbent bike and reading. (I also read on the elliptical, but only short things like magazines.) Then, wouldn’t you know, once I’m there, I end up lifting too, and get a normal, solid workout in. And usually I get that runner’s high and it’s all always worth it.
- Chase that runner’s high. If you work out hard enough, you will find it and it will be AMAZING. You will feel so good. You will feel like you can take on the world and kick its ass. You will feel unstoppable and strong, like you can do anything. Because you can. Now get moving 🙂