Posted in Get Moving

LET’S DO THIS! (Support to get you going!)

Taking the first step toward being active? Welcome to your online support system!

If you’re reading this I hope it’s because you are planning to start exercising soon, so let’s make that happen!  If you want to start moving more, and would love exercise support, let’s set a plan together.

What’s your “Why”?

I know, I know, this one’s getting pretty old.  But it’s really, really important.  You just want the roadmap to your destination.  That’s all well and good, but you don’t exactly pick random places on a map to go, you have a purpose for every place you go, don’t you?  The purpose matters.  Do you have a short-term goal or do you want your life to improve somehow?  Figuring that out may be obvious or may take a little soul-searching.  Keeping focused on reasons to exercise are a great step in getting the ball rolling.  Is it because you want to:

  • Feel more confident?
  • Be stronger?
  • Trim down?
  • Feel more energetic?
  • Reduce chronic pain?
  • Manage symptoms of an illness?
  • Reduce your risks for disease?
  • Add your other reasons in the comments!

How Do You See Yourself?  Be an Exerciser

Now that you’ve nailed down a few good reasons, let’s see more of the picture of where you are.  How do you see yourself?  Research shows that people whose self-image includes “active” are more likely to stick with it.  Don’t worry about that for now, though.  If you’re not there, it doesn’t take long for that to develop.  So which ones describe you right now?

  • Couch potato extraordinaire
  • Turtle
  • Walker
  • Energetic
  • Determined
  • Tired
  • Strong
  • Intimidated
  • INTIMIDATING!
  • Always Learning
  • Like a racehorse in the starting gate
  • Unwilling participant (oh no!)
  • Add your own in the comments!

Self-Confident?

This too can build as you progress, but let’s see where you are now.  This week, how confident are you that you will get some movement going?

  • Not gonna happen, I’m just here for the entertainment
  • It’s iffy
  • I’m pretty sure I’ll get started
  • I’ve got a plan and I’m gonna do it
  • I’m getting up and starting right now

Make a Plan

What’s your plan for today?

pexels-photo-58457
Photo by Natalie B on Pexels.com
  • Squeeze in extra steps whenever I have a moment I’m not tied to something.
  • Take a really long walk.
  • Head to a fitness class.
  • Try an exercise I’ve never done before.
  • Ride a bike.
  • Grab a friend and promise each other to team up for support.
  • Print off the weekly goal worksheet from the welcome email to keep track of my progress.
  • Share your ideas in the comments!

How about this week?  How many times will you do something active?  Download your free weekly goal worksheet and get going!

  • Share with others in the comments!

To get more exclusive subscriber-only progress support and tracking, get on my team so we can do this together!  For your “Where are you right now?” worksheet, go herefitness motivation download

Next up: We’ll start looking at your progress, talk about your struggles and accomplishments, and make an action plan to keep going!

Posted in Get Moving

Fitness Motivation Tips for When You’re Just Starting Out

It’s always hard to get moving when you’re out of shape, and what we tell ourselves will make or break us.  Increasing your fitness motivation is a mind game, and here are tips how to win it!

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning if you click on one and make a purchase, I may get a commission at no additional cost to you.

Change Your Words

For now, think “move” – not “workout”. The feel of each word is different, isn’t it? Telling yourself to move today seems like less pressure than telling yourself to work out.  Workouts seem so “all-or-nothing”, but just “moving” is something you can build on and doesn’t have the success-failure connotation to it.

Even if you promise yourself to move a few minutes every hour, you are doing better than if you were doing nothing.

Make the Right Comparisons

How do you define “success” in being active? Too often we compare what we’re capable of to some arbitrary goalpost.  We tell ourselves the thing we’re measuring ourselves against has meaning because we see so many other people using it.  Then, we go ahead and judge ourselves negatively for it.

  • I can’t run xxx distance, or speed.
  • I get winded after “only” xxx minutes.
  • I can’t crush the xxx workout in xxx days like the ads say I “should” be able to.
  • I can’t come close to xxx steps per day.
  • I’m not “fit enough” to try the xxx class.
fitness motivation tips
Photo by Robert Caston on Pexels.com
What comparisons are meaningful for you, then?

Figure that out and go from there.

  • How far did I go yesterday?
  • How hard do I have to work to get my heart rate to my optimal target zone?
  • How did I feel after moving compared to before I did it?
  • What can my body do today that it couldn’t do before?

Re-evaluate What You Think

When you think of people who are active, or of physical activity itself, what comes to mind?

Does it seem unattainable?

Do you imagine people who have killer bodies and are obsessed? Active people don’t all look alike, and most have very full lives that include regular movement built in.  They don’t all have expensive gym memberships and aren’t all training for a big race.  There are plenty of ways to integrate moving into what you’re already doing, and you can build yourself up from there.

Do you think it’s just plain unpleasant?

What are you picturing when you think of being active? Grunting while lifting weights, running hard with a grimace on your face?  Here’s something to consider:  How many four-year olds do you know that hate to run around?  We are built to move, and it’s inherently rewarding use our bodies the way they’re designed.

What did you like to do when you were small?

 

fitness motivation tips

Play tag, climb things, splash around a pool? How can you adapt those things to “grownup” versions so they’re fun?  You can also pair physical activity with something you enjoy.

  • Listen to music, an audiobook or podcast while you walk.
  • Call an old friend on the phone and move the whole time.
  • Plan fun activities while you’re moving.
  • Step or march in in place while watching your favorite tv show.

Moving your body doesn’t have to be unnatural, and especially not unpleasant!  Chances are you didn’t need to look for fitness motivation tips when you were a kid, you just wanted to play!

Monitor Your Expectations

Do you find yourself getting started with a routine then thinking “it’s not working yet”.  What does that mean for you?  Are you looking for a quick weight-loss plan? Have you read the gobs of research about exercise for reducing depression and want to be cured of it?

Just like eating, things don’t improve just because you made a change for a short time.  Weight doesn’t stay off if you go right back to eating junk, right?  Taking vitamins once or twice doesn’t give you permanent boost to your vitamin levels either, does it? Exercise works the same way.

Short-term benefits are abundant, but if you want that long-lasting result, you need to plug it into your lifestyle.  Here’s a great opportunity to focus on all the good things you get from moving your body in the here and now.  Focus on that, and you’ll WANT to keep coming back.

Knock Down Your Barriers

Often we tell ourselves we want to get moving, but the same barriers continue to rear their ugly heads:

I don’t have enough time

I will bring you back to my first strategy:  Think move, not workout.  You don’t have to set aside a huge chunk of your day to be active.  There are ways you can build it right into what you’re doing already:

fitness motivation tips

  • Walk while you talk on the phone.
  • Use the upstairs bathroom when you’re downstairs, and vice versa.
  • When at work, cut down on email and messaging, and walk to the person you want to talk to.
  • Carry one or two bags of groceries in the house at a time, and make extra trips.
  • Lift your bags of groceries a few times before you put them away.
I’m too tired to exercise

I’ve got a whole post about this one, but here are a few quick and dirty suggestions:

  • Walk a little bit here and there – don’t pressure yourself into a hefty goal.  You may find yourself perking up a little when you get going.
  • Yoga and/or stretching – you don’t have to be able to contort yourself into a pretzel to do it, you can adapt poses for your level of flexibility and strength.  It’s been shown to improve energy as well.
  • March in place – just get off the couch and march in place while you watch tv.  Remind yourself you don’t have to do much, just move.

Recognizing that starting and sticking with an exercise routine is mostly a mind game.  Reframing how you think of it all is key.  How do you think of exercise?  What’s helpful for you and what makes you go “ugh”?  Share in the comments!

Still Need Tips to Increase Your Fitness Motivation?  JOIN ME!

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Posted in Get Moving, Keep Going

Too Tired to Exercise: Try These Ideas

One of the most common reasons people don’t exercise is because they’re too tired.  Who isn’t these days? When you’re already exhausted, it seems insurmountable to get up and exert yourself.  I’ve felt that way countless times and have skipped exercise because of it more often than I’d like to admit.  Unfortunately, in case you haven’t heard, a lack of activity makes fatigue worse.  Good grief, are we doomed?  Of course not.  I’m going to share with you some ideas that can help you get over that slump, and get the energy momentum going in the right direction!

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning if you click on one and make a purchase, I may get a commission at no additional cost to you.

High Intensity Isn’t Necessary

University of Georgia study found that among initially sedentary volunteers, engaging in regular, low-intensity exercises reduced fatigue by a whopping 65%, and moderate intensity exercises reduced it by 49%.  That means you don’t have to knock yourself out when you exercise, especially if you’re too tired.

Walk:

According to the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, aerobic exercises including regular fast walking, can significantly increase your energy.  The researchers reasoned that increasing oxygen flow to the brain and improving circulation are part of the improvement.  Also, low intensity exercise can leave you feeling more confident, in a better mood, and change your frame of mind – all of which can increase your energy.  Combine that with better sleep, and you are on the way to feeling a whole lot better.  exercises for when you're tired

When you’re too tired to exercise:  If you’re starting from a sedentary lifestyle, identify a short distance to do initially, and add a bit each day.  You can download my free graphic to help you start identifying short distances. If you’re already a walker, make an agreement with yourself to do an abbreviated route, a shorter time on the treadmill, or use an incline rather than run.  As you get moving you may find your energy is increasing and your motivation may rise with it.  

Do Yoga:

The act of connecting with your body not only is good for your health, but you might feel yourself perk up a little and want to do more.  In a study at the University of Waterloo, subjects participating in 25 minutes of yoga had a greater increase in energy levels and brain function, when compared to meditation alone and quiet reading.

When you’re tiredYoga experts have identified certain postures that are believed to increase energy.  By focusing on the breath, quieting the other “mental chatter” and connecting with our body, you can feel more grounded, and feel a bump in energy levels.  If you’re concerned you can’t do it because you’re not flexible, there are beginner poses you can try – adapting as necessary to your own tolerance/comfort level.

March in place:

You don’t have to go far to get a little exercise.  Just by marching in place you can burn calories, get more oxygen circulating, tone your muscles, improve your mood, and yes, feel less tired!

When you’re too tired: Since you don’t have to go anywhere, you can wear whatever you have on, and don’t need any equipment beyond a good pair of athletic shoes.  So, you just saved yourself the step of changing your clothes.  By telling yourself how simple it is, it’s harder to find excuses not to do it.  Pick a time frame and go (there’s no time like the present!)  If you feel better after you get going, you can bump it up a level by raising your knees higher or jog in place.

Declutter an area:

Ouch.  This one really doesn’t sound fun, does it?  Wait, hear me out!  If you stop and think about how you feel when you’re surrounded by clutter, then compare it to how you feel in a clear and organized space, don’t you notice a difference?  Decluttering an area that’s been bugging you has multiple benefits – you will be moving, and getting rid of stuff that’s probably dragging your energy down at the same time.  decluttering and energy

When you’re tired: Pick one category of items like junk mail, old magazines, expired food, or anything you can grab to make quick progress.  Get yourself going by committing to that one category.  As with all the other exercises I’ve mentioned, you just might feel a little more pep and end up doing more than you thought you would!

It Can Be Done

Exercising when you’re too tired is not only possible, but totally doable.  The most important thing that can make or break us in these moments is what we tell ourselves.  A quote commonly attributed to Henry Ford is “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right“.  By telling yourself “It’s doable, I don’t have to knock myself out“, you’re taking the first step in counteracting the fatigue that is such a problem for so many of us!

Too Tired to Read a Whole Blog Post, Let Alone Exercise?

Check out my exercise tips that take 30 seconds or less to read!

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve had lots of days when I’m too tired to exercise, but I’m working on it!  I have started putting reminders up to get myself moving, after, say, I’ve been sitting at the computer for too long!

JOIN ME!

SUBSCRIBE HERE to gain free access to exclusive supportive posts and free downloadable worksheets to keep track of your progress!

Posted in Get Moving

Building Exercise Momentum

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning if you click on one and make a purchase, I may get a commission at no additional cost to you.

Nothing to Something

It’s always hard to get moving when you’ve been inactive for a long time.  Going from a few steps per day to an active lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight.  It will take a little buildup over time, and it doesn’t have to be a huge chore to squeeze in more movement every day.  In 2016 I started a journey to regain the “old” me – being able to move comfortably, fitting into my clothes, and feeling (relatively) energetic.  One of the things that helped me achieve that was as simple as squeezing in extra steps whenever I had a few moments.  Let me share with you what I did to get the ball rolling again.

First Steps

Go take a few steps.  Really, do it now, I’ll wait.

How did that feel?  Not too bad, I hope.  I just took a few too, just to be in on this with you.  Now, look around your home and take note of the layout.  Do you have stairs?  Any hallways?  Is the main living area closed off or can you make a loop around from one room to another and end up back in the same place?

Our house has has two floors, and the downstairs provides me with a “loop” that takes 23 steps to complete.  Not huge, but it’s measurable.  I did that loop for a few minutes here and there, and it added up to miles over time.

walking in circlesMy husband made fun of me, saying I was “orbiting” the bathroom (there’s a powder room in the center of my little loop).  Don’t laugh (ok, I guess it’s a little weird) –  it really helped!  I could orbit that bathroom several times while I was heating up something in the microwave, waiting for someone to call me back, anytime I had a few minutes that weren’t tied to some other task.  While it wasn’t instantly life-transforming, for at least those few minutes at a time, I felt in control of my life and like I was accomplishing something.  My energy level even popped up a little.  If you charted my energy level through the day, you would see a “blip” every time I took my short walk.

Exercise Momentum Will Build

Getting back to my former, more active self took less time than I expected.  As I picked up more steps, I felt a lift, and wanted to find other ways to move too.  I made a point to use the upstairs bathroom when I was downstairs, and vice versa.  I broke out the old step aerobics step, and started doing 30 minutes of stepping in front of the tv.  When the weather was nice, I mapped out a 1.8 mile route in the neighborhood.  That walk took me about 35 minutes at first, and I gradually found myself getting home faster and faster, eventually having enough time to do it twice in a day.  The more I moved, the easier it got, and the more I wanted to move.  It was the blessed upward spiral of energy and I was feeling great!  Group fitness classes were next, and before I knew it my cardio endurance was building.  I started noticing I could get off the floor with no hands and my balance was improving.

Overall, within two months I started really noticing a difference in how my body felt and I started seeing myself as “active” again.  In hindsight, I’m not sure how confident I was that I could feel that way again.  Seeing each small chunk of time as an opportunity to get “a little bit” of movement in brought about an inner change that I don’t think I had experienced before quite like it.

exercise rewards

Notice I’ve said “movement” rather than focus on “workouts” or “running” or “exercising”.  What’s the difference?  Scale.  I didn’t see “moving” as insurmountable, and before I knew it the little bits of “movement” were in reality, “exercise” or “workouts”.  Talk about rewarding!

What can you do today to move more than you did yesterday?

SUBSCRIBE HERE to gain access to exclusive free supportive posts and a free downloadable worksheet to keep track of your progress!  Join me!

Posted in Keep Going

Staying Motivated: This is what happens when I slack off

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning if you click on one and make a purchase, I may get a commission at no additional cost to you.

It’s Not Pretty

Staying motivated to be active is a hard thing, I admit it.  Completely.  There are things I need to do regularly to keep my head in the game.  One is remind myself of all the reasons I like being active.  When I get going and am tempted to give in to excuses, I have to flip it.  I also need to remind myself of what happens when I stop.

Fatigue slams me

Who isn’t tired these days? Seriously. We cram our lives with activity and stress.  Adding fatigue when not exercisingexercise seems like ONE MORE THING to do.  No wonder so many of us aren’t doing it.  I will admit, for some of us, fatigue will always be there, but we can lift it a little.  The first thing that happens when I stop moving every day, is that brain fog sets in, heavier than usual.  The vicious cycle begins – too tired to exercise – more fatigue, and so on. This doesn’t have to happen.  Research shows that exercise does lift it some, but you have to make yourself move for that to happen.

My Mood Isn’t so Light

I don’t consider myself to be overly depressed, but I definitely notice the difference when I’m exercising.  I feel significantly better.  Turns out, research backs that up too.  When I stop, I am seriously grumpy – add fatigue and, well, my poor family.

Oh the Aches and Pains

I spend way too much time at the computer, and wow, that causes some funky neck and shoulder pain.   Inactivity also lets other aches and pains kick in more too.  When I’m active, it’s not too bad, if I have it at all.

 

My Healthy Eating Starts Going Out the Window

You would think I’d be more concerned with how I’m eating when I’m NOT burning extra calories.  But no, my resolve to eat well also slips (it takes a little longer for this one to start, but it happens).  Not good.  You know what they say, eat like crap and you feel like crap.  Add another vicious cycle to the mix now.

STAYING MOTIVATED

exercise feel like a champWhat’s the point of telling you all this?  I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, I want to share the obvious relationship between how I feel and how much I’m moving.  I can’t deny it.  Ideally, I’d keep all these things in mind before I relapse into couch potato mode.  The good news is, each time I get back into the groove it gets just a little easier.  I can tell I’m a little less winded early on than I would have been years ago, since my relapse is usually limited to months, not years.  I can also go a little farther than I expected, and that’s awesome!  Each day, adding a bit more activity will knock these symptoms down and I can feel like a champ again.

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Posted in Keep Going

Exercise Alphabet Soup – Making sense of all those names

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning if you click on one and make a purchase, I may get a commission at no additional cost to you.

Fitness Trends Have Some Weird Names

Lately you can’t scroll through Pinterest without seeing pins about fitness trends like “TRX” and “PiYo” and HIIT.  Do you find yourself thinking “I don’t even know what that means” – then figure it’s not for you?  When your friends who workout say how awesome “Tabata” was this morning, do you just nod along smiling, as if you know what on God’s green earth they’re talking about?  I confess, I have had those reactions.  I come to you today to translate and explain a little bit about them.  This way you can decide if you want to try any of them – and  actually mean it when you nod along with your friends.

If you’ve been inactive, before you try any of these, definitely check with your physician.  The American College of Sports Medicine has also developed a questionnaire to help you determine your readiness for physical activity that you can share with your doctor.

Here are some of the fitness trends I’ve seen the most over the last several years.  It’s by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a good sense of what’s out there.

It’s not just a bunch of letters

HIIT – Stands for High Intensity Interval Training.  It consists of short bursts of really intense training (sprinting, fast cycling) followed by less intense periods (jogging, less intense cycling).  The intensity is based on your target maximum heart rate.  It’s usually done in groups, and depending on the protocol, intervals can range from about 20-30 seconds intense training alternating with 15-20 seconds recovery training.  Workouts typically last no more than 30 minutes, about three times a week.  Research has shown that people who start out as inactive improve heart health and mood after ten weeks of training.  Since it’s based on your heart rate, you start out working as hard as you need to reach your target.  No two people will do the exact same intensity, so it really is for any fitness level.

fitness trend trx
Airmen from the 18th Force Support Squadron perform a Total Body Resistance Exercise (TRX) chest during their physical training workout at Kadena Air Base, June 14. TRX Suspension Training is an innovative fitness training regimen that consists of body-weight based equipment and specified exercise programs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jarvie Wallace)

TRX – Stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise.  This uses body weight for resistance and a suspension trainer (TRX is the name of the brand of these) for stabilizing your body so you can focus on the muscles you want.  For an idea of what it looks like in action, this video  is helpful.  Studies have shown it can improve body composition and reduce cardiovascular risk, but the American Council on Exercise cautions against it if you don’t have sufficient core strength to start with.

PiYo – Stands for Pilates and Yoga Squished into one.  Some people call it “cardio yoga”.  It’s not a workout you can just go and do, it’s actually part of the Beachbody brand and consists of videos you purchase through them.  The workout has you moving continuously for cardio endurance, plus has you doing strengthening exercises using your own body weight.  They combine it with yoga moves to increase flexibility.  It’s marketed as great for beginners, but this review says it’s a little advanced if you’re just getting moving.

P90X – Stands for Power 90 Extreme.  It’s not a workout per se, it’s actually a 90-day plan  including really intense workouts and diet.  It’s marketed as a program that will whip you into shape and targets people who want to be a workout beast.  It claims to use something called muscle confusion, changing the muscles you use often, but this reviewer says that’s hogwash.  If you’re reading my blog, you may be looking for something  less intense for now.  You can always strive for something this hard-core, though!

Come back later for my explanation of the ones you can pronounce but don’t know what they mean!

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