From the couch to the door – the longest walk

Motivating yourself to exercise can be tough. But you’ll love yourself if you do.

Sigh. I’ll do it tomorrow. It’s cold. It’s hot. What’s wrong with lying on the couch anyway – who am I harming? But I should. It’s just…difficult. Besides there’s so much TV to catch up on. But I should…..

The inner monologue as you try to summon up the will to exercise is more exhausting than the actual exercise.

You’ve mentally set aside a certain time for exercise. And now the time has come. Only problem is, and rather a big one is that you can’t be bothered.

If you can learn how to win the battle in your head and know how to motivate yourself to exercise then you have the hard part done.

All that’s left now is to enjoy your workout.

It sounds simple but for many of us it ain’t.

It’s important to realize here that everyone has “I seriously can’t be bothered exercising” days.

Upbeat, ridiculously perky fitness instructors. Gold medal-obsessed Olympians. Triathletes. Professional sports heroes. And us common folk.

The trick is to tap into your mental bank of positive motivational tools to get that backside up and moving.

Here we go, off the couch, shoes on…

Vary your workouts

Keep it fresh and keep your body guessing. Double merit points here and plenty of options.

Change your exercises or the way you do them. For example if you usually run on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a steady pace try alternating between hard sprinting and moderate running intervals.

If you do a series of strength exercises with barbells then use dumbbells, medicine balls or kettlebells.

Instead of the usual 3 sets of 10 reps try variations like Every Minute On The Minute (so that’s what EMOM means). You do an exercise for 1 minute, rest 1 minute and repeat.

Keeping with the acronym spirit there’s also the As Many Reps As You Can (AMRAP – just rolls off the tongue).

What it sounds like – do as many reps of an exercise as possible in a given time, or as many sets.

For 10 minutes how many pushups, thrusters or gulp, burpees can you do?

Variation is a breath of fresh air.

Spoil yourself

A good way to haul yourself up and out the door is the lure of a later reward.

Really – bribing yourself? How childish and yet… how effective.  As long as you attempt that run, row, ride, circuit or class you are then fully qualified for some goodies.

Chocolate, shopping, pizza, some beers – whatever does it for you.

Preferably not all at once and preferably not every day.

But you promised!

There’s nothing like the dread of letting people down to fire up the ole motivation.

By agreeing to work out with a friend or booking a class you are now faced with either following through on your commitment or public humiliation.

And before you shrug and say, “fine, public humiliation”, think harder.

As much as you mightn’t want to go, you want to be someone dependable. Inspiring even.

You want to be the person that others look at and think, “Wow – look at them. Exhausted from work, but always giving it a crack”.

You may not be aware of it but your very presence lifts your training buddy or class members.

Trust us.

Seeing is believing

Sometimes you just have to check the mindset.

Take “should” out of the equation to start with. “Should” isn’t traditionally a fun word. You really should check yourself in for a colonoscopy one day…

Think instead about why you wanted to work out. Focus on the results that you’re looking for.

An overall stronger and fitter body? Feeling better and more energetic? Finishing a half marathon. Being able to swim for 30 minutes. Whatever it is.

Visualize yourself achieving these goals. How will you look and feel?

Watch videos of athletes who inspire you. Read articles about people who’ve achieved their goals.

Then put on your shoes head for the door….

I forgot, this is fun!

We can take exercise a tad seriously and it stops becoming fun or interesting.

In moments of self-debate just do whatever exercise you enjoy most. If the answer is “nothing” then try harder. At least walk and listen to your favorite tunes. If your answer is “but I don’t have favorite tunes” then we can’t help you.

If running on the treadmill bores you to tears then don’t do it today. Join a class, create your own circuit, run outside, whatever.

If nothing gives you more joy than running on the treadmill, then do it today.

Anything is better than nothing

Finally, just move. Do something. Walking briskly around the block for 20 minutes is literally better than doing nothing.

You can put your head on the pillow knowing you at least did something.

And let’s face it – it’s not you’re working in a coal mine.

What was all the fuss about?

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