Even though I’m a fitness professional, I sometimes have a hard time getting motivated to do my own workouts regularly. The older I get though, the more I realize how important it is that I stay on it… Because if I could keep my 25 year old body without much work, I wouldn’t be worried at all. ; )
I’ve danced ballet since I was 8 years old. In college, I was already in excellent shape from dancing 3-8 hours per day but I knew I should probably do some cross-training to address some imbalances I had. I didn’t set foot into a gym until I was 19 years old. When I did, I had no idea what do with dumbbells or barbells and I thought all the machines looked stupid. I didn’t really want to sit down and move one body part at a time. Compared to my dance and later rock climbing training, some traditional workouts sounded boring AF. However, I knew that if I did regular strength/conditioning workouts, my performance and durability would improve, so I did it.
Flash forward to now and I’m 32 years old. I only get to dance or climb once or twice a week, my metabolism isn’t what it used to be, and I realize I need to keep up with my workouts more than ever before. I want to stay active through the decades and definitely want to maintain my weight (I refuse to waste money buying clothes I already own in a bigger size. Workout and outdoor apparel is expensive shit…).
The thing I need to do? Keep a consistent workout schedule.
The thing I want to do? Have awesome energy, strength, & a bangin’ physique without the work. ; )
The thing is, I don’t want to pay taxes, or floss my teeth, or pay bills, but I need to…
because if I don’t I’ll be totally f***ed.
So same thing goes for keeping a body that I’m proud of
and that will allow me to keep doing the things I love with lower risk of disease & injury:
I need to keep a consistent workout schedule.
We all know we need to eat healthier. We know we should exercise regularly. We KNOW these things, but it’s way easier to say we’ll do them than it is to actually want to do them.
It’s even harder to do them on a regular basis. Everybody has different lifestyles, circumstances, and things that get in our way of doing what we should. We’ve gotta find a way over/through our barriers, but first, we have to identify what our barriers are in the first place. You can’t address a problem if you don’t know what’s causing it.
So… Get out a pen and paper, or grab your phone and open up the notes app…
and get ready to get real with yourself…
Step 1: Identify Your Barriers – the things that keep you from wanting to exercise.
Here are mine:
> > Traditional workout spaces are not my jam:
I don’t like big box gyms: too much travel time back and forth, too many machines in my way, not enough space to move, and I usually don’t care for the music. I also don’t prefer working out in the basement: it was always cold down there and my last one had a hard, concrete floor. Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t total deal breakers… I still got some workouts in there, but neither of these places have me chomping at the bit to get started – and that’s the hardest part.
>> Early Morning Workouts:
I WILL NOT get up to do a 6am workout. I just won’t. I woke up at 5am or earlier almost every day of the week for over a decade training clients and teaching classes. My body doesn’t want to do it anymore. I can do it, I’ll just be half-assing it and hating every minute.
> > Constant high-intensity workouts:
I know that high intensity workouts are all the rage these days; more calorie burn, less time, much higher EPOC (after-burn), BUT if I’m thinking that I’ve got to follow some crap programming that’s going to tell me to do 100 burpees or go all-fu**ing-out for a ridiculous amount of time, I’m less likely to actually do it.
> > Working out by myself is boring:
I grew up dancing… with lots of fun people… with music and choreography. I also rock climb… with awesome people. Being alone and moving is not as much fun.
> > I don’t always want to count reps. And sometimes I’m just f***ing tired:
There are days when I don’t sleep well. There are times that I’ve done a few hard days in a row and I need to rest so my body can recuperate and recover. There are times when I just don’t want to do a “workout.” Some days I just don’t want to move that way.
So there they are. Five things that sometimes get in the way of my wanting to exercise.
Step 2: Figure out solutions to get through/over/around said barriers.
What works better for me:
> > Workout outside in good weather, or in comfy space at home during bad weather:
I mostly work out outdoors. I love the air and the sun on my skin. Currently, I’m spending the winter in Canada, and it’s way too cold for that shit here. Although we have a training room in the basement here, I actually like moving in the living room better – there’s a TRX Suspension Trainer hanging from the ceiling in there as well. Plus, it’s carpeted, it’s warmer than the basement, the tv where I’ve dvr’d the entire Fixer Upper season is there, and there are 3 windows in the room that let in lots of pretty light.
I know most people might not want fitness equipment in their living rooms because it throws off the aesthetic, but if you don’t ever workout because your equipment is in the
dungeon basement, you might as well not even have it. We’ve even had guests over to watch games/movies and they’ll even hop on the straps to do some stretching while they’re watching.
> > Mid-morning workouts instead of early ones:
I go to sleep at 10pm so I can wake up at 6:30 or 7am feeling totally refreshed. I try not to look at screens and I read a book for about 15 minutes to help me fall asleep fast. When I’m staying at my man-friend’s house, my morning consists of helping get the kids (my man-friend has two boys, ages 6 & 8) off to school by 8:00am, walking my dog for about 45 minutes, and then working out here in the house immediately afterward. I do this about 3 days per week. The other two days I usually do interval runs on the gym treadmill for about 30 minutes in the evenings while the youngest one is at swim lessons in the same building.
Reminder: This is what works for ME and my current situation. Other times I’ve got to work out in the late afternoon because of work.
> > Shorter strength and interval workouts, more often:
Consistency is the biggest thing when it comes to staying in shape. A super hardcore 2 hour workout doesn’t do you much good if you only do it every other week. I know I’m more likely to stick with a workout plan that’s 30 (ish) minutes, not miserable, and focused on movement goals I actually want to achieve. I’ll do that way more often and, in-turn, actually see results faster. I built my online TRX program based on creating more consistent movement habit. I’m currently testing out the program to see if I actually like doing it and if I’ll see the results I want. I’m a few weeks in and I’m liking it so far.
*Details to come in the next month if you’re interested…
> > I forego the “workout” for other types of movement I like:
Unless you’re a competitive athlete, you don’t always have to do a specific type of workout. It doesn’t matter if I’m sore, tired, stressed, or sad, I can walk every day. Unless we’re injured, we can always walk. It gets my body warmed up, my dog walked, and I get to listen to all my favorite podcasts. I can go at whatever pace I want if I don’t have a lot of energy and I always feel good afterwards. If I do have energy, but am not feeling a “workout” workout, I go climbing at the indoor gym or I go take a dance class. A new friend here in town just told me about an adult gymnastics class that happens once a week and we’re going tonight! Yesss
> > I go to fitness classes when I don’t have the motivation to do anything on my own:
When I’m not motivated, I let somebody else program the workout and I just follow along. Yes I’m a certified and experienced fitness professional and I can make up my own workouts, but when you do that sort of thing ALL THE TIME for your job, it’s nice to turn off that part of your mind. I love being around people, fun music, and the energy of a group. Going to a fitness class takes the stress off figuring out what to do, I’ll finish an entire hour, and I usually meet other cool people. Plus, there are all kinds of cool classes to take: dance, aerial, boxing, cycling, skiing, swimming, rowing, gymnastics, etc.
Moral of the story: Figure out a new game plan that works for YOU.
You know what’s keeping you from getting in better physical shape. Be honest with yourself. Establish what you don’t like and then address it with an active solution. Whatever you choose to do, pick a plan that allows you a little bit of movement each day. Whether it’s a workout, a class, or a walk, even just 10 minutes per day will have your body feeling better in as little as a week.
Questions? Maybe I can help: