In this modern-day status quo, we all struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and, more importantly, it is a strenuous effort to sustain the enthusiasm for fitness motivation. Given the hectic work schedules including the daunting travelling time, stressful jobs due to fierce competitions, unrealistic deadlines, horrible leaders, office politics, managing kids and home etc., perhaps the mere thought of exercise sounds almost impossible for most of the people. But are we courageous enough to challenge the status quo and do something extraordinary? Yes, we are. We can always surprise ourselves provided we have the fervent desire to achieve our goals. Here is a glimpse of how my fitness motivation gives a strong purpose to my life.
Are you one of those perpetual procrastinators who lack fitness motivation and who are always ready with brilliant excuses to avoid workout plans? Or, does the inability to meet your expectation for quick results compel you to give up?
No? Wonderful. I like you; welcome to the gang!
Yes? Okay. So are you wired to a desk job, more specifically an IT job, and suffering from one or more of the occupational hazards which deprive you of a healthy lifestyle or healthy living? Yes? Okay. And do you indulge yourself a lot into fast food or certain unhealthy quick bites? Still yes? Ouch…. It’s high time for you to stand up, test your inner mettle, and say goodbye to your tenacious lethargic attitude.
Let me be a tad candid here. Please note that I have no intention to criticise anyone, and I absolutely empathise with you as I, too, experienced the life of a workaholic. But I am a changed person now, and I am so proud of myself. I have changed my habits, behaviours, routines, and most importantly, mindset. My new growth-mindset has enlightened me with an amazing level of confidence where I look forward to challenge myself. Via this article, I would like to share some of the practices which I follow diligently to achieve my fitness motivation.
Why do we lack fitness motivation?
We take up an exercise regimen to meet a particular goal which can be to lose weight, become fit, gain muscles etc. It is good to have goals, but nothing is worth your time and effort if you do not enjoy the endeavour or if it does not make you happy. In the absence of fun, exercise becomes a daunting task or another burden, thereby attenuating the impulse behind our fitness motivation.
We all are aware of the fact that exercise plays a cardinal role in the well-being of our health. We even understand that we must involve ourselves into some kind of physical activity, or else our body, which is like a machine, will be enrobed in rust. But still our health is always our last priority; we have a plethora of excuses to not to follow an exercise routine, and we prefer to take the path of cognitive dissonance
Here are some of the defence mechanisms used by perpetual procrastinators which inhibit their fitness motivation: “I do not have time”, “I am not a morning person”, “I love my slumber”, “I will exercise from tomorrow (and tomorrow never comes)”, “I am already thin so I do not need any exercise (one of the biggest misunderstandings)”, “I do not like to exercise alone and nobody gives me company” and so on. We are educated and we know the solution (workout) to our problems (laziness, unhealthiness, over-weight), but we are just not ready to implement it, never.
Why do we yield or become submissive when it comes to a fitness routine? The biggest reason is lack of enjoyment factor. In other words, when there is no fun element which is extremely crucial to keep us motivated in any endeavour, we tend to give-up and lose our focus. We take up an exercise regimen to meet a particular goal which can be to lose weight, become fit, gain muscles etc. In all honesty, it is good to have goals, but nothing is worth your time and effort if you do not enjoy the endeavour or if it does not make you happy. In the absence of fun, exercise becomes a daunting task or another burden, and when the guilt of missing your fitness routine piles up, we finally take the drastic measure – to give up.
What motivates me?
I understand that taking out time for workout is difficult, given the hectic work schedules including the daunting travelling time, stressful jobs due to fierce competitions, unrealistic deadlines, managing kids and home etc. Perhaps the thought of exercise sounds almost impossible for most of the people. However, we have to come out of this rut and do something different. We have to challenge ourselves and bring the change. In my case, I absolutely love taking up challenges for two reasons: 1) To surprise myself and achieve my potential. 2) To experience the feeling that nothing is bigger than my strength and confidence. 3) To learn, improve, grow and inspire others.
We must introduce workout in our prosaic everyday life to make it lively and energetic. The three-word metaphor “Health is Wealth” epitomises a beautiful message because if there is no health, your wealth is practically zilch or nada. A good health can give you wealth but not necessarily vice-e-versa.
Mostly, people ask me the following questions:
How to motivate oneself to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
How to maintain fitness motivation in our daily routine?
In case we decide to go for exercise, how to begin? From where to start? How to keep the momentum going?
Going for a walk or a run on the beach is a linchpin of my happiness; it is a therapeutic endeavour for me and is something which I look forward to every morning. It is one of the most refreshing acts in my daily routine. Exercise is secondary for me; it is the happiness element which compels me to look forward to another day.
In this article, I will try to answer all the aforementioned questions and would like to share certain important things which I follow diligently to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, before I begin, I would like to mention the following disclaimer.
“I am neither a fitness expert nor a nutritionist; I have no legal qualification in this genre; hence, I am not here to write about harsh training regimen, health & fitness plans or certain crash diets. Just like most of you, I am an ordinary person – someone who is destined to do something extraordinary, passionate to grow, dedicated to achieve the goals, working towards self-improvement, never scared from the challenges as they bring a plethora of opportunities, and, lastly, trying to understand the deeper meaning of life. However, one aspect which sets me apart from the league, and I am not tooting my own horn, is that I am a hard-core fitness enthusiast, and I will be sharing my experiences and certain best practices which I follow to motivate myself to maintain a fitness regimen.”
You may enhance your fitness motivation via following ways:
1. Instead of a particular exercise, do what makes you happy.
Ninety-nine percent of the times, people ask this question from me: “As a beginner, which exercise should I do?” Or “Which is the best exercise to lose weight?”
And I give them a very simple answer: start with something which makes you happy (Read more on why happiness is a privilege in our modern life); for example, if you like to walk then start your routine with a normal walk for 30 minutes. Walking is considered to be the one of the best ways to maintain your existing weight, but you will have to keep a check on your calorie count for obvious reasons. If you are burning 1800 calories via walking but consuming 2500 calories in a day then you need some rigorous training program, otherwise, even after a workout, you will gain weight eventually. In a different scenario, if the thought of a workout is mentally draining for you, be a part of some sport. My husband does not like to exercise much, but he loves to play cricket, and he is ever-ready for it.
I always believe in doing something which gives you internal bliss, and it can be partying, travelling, or being a couch potato, but there has to be a balance. In the similar manner, incorporate a physical workout which you enjoy and look forward to. Many times, or I should say all the time, we expect quick results; hence, we perform certain workouts which we do not enjoy. As a result, it becomes stressful, and we give up. Therefore, the enjoyment factor is very important to maintain our enthusiasm levels, or else exercise will become another burden. Always remember the cascading effect – if you enjoy whatever you do, the enormous motivation to do that endeavour will surprise you.
The ultimate goal of every endeavour is Happiness. It is fundamental for our survival and growth; we need it for our well being. Hence, take up something which makes you uber happy.
My experience: One of the things which motivates me to wake up early is working-out with my husband. I absolutely look forward to this time where we talk and discuss so much along with our run. I do not follow any particular exercise regimen; however, I love running on the beach and meeting wonderful people over there. In case I do not feel like running due to low energy, I prefer walk, but I make sure to maintain my exercise routine which is to workout five times a week, at least. However, as my husband is not a morning person, it is a battle for me every morning to wake him up, but once he is up and ready, he too looks forward to our time together.
2. Keep your alarm clock really far and make sure you have to take 10 steps to switch it off.
I know this sounds crazy, but it works like a charm. Every morning at 5:00 AM, my alarm plays Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” or “Bad”, and, trust me, it is fun to wake up to these highly energised and groovy numbers. I start humming the song in my slumber with my eyes closed, and I wait for it to get over. Once the song starts again, I get irritated, and I quickly jump from my bed to switch it off. I never use the snooze button because 5-10 minutes of extra sleep hardly makes a difference. Or, sometimes, I configure my alarm to play annoying songs so that I wake up instantly without any delay.
There is another thing I do to wake up early in the morning. I cannot walk barefoot as it irks me immensely; hence, I make sure that when I get out from my bed to switch off the alarm, I take another ten steps to locate my footwears. I know you are smiling at this moment. Well, no harm in being thoughtful in these matters because these hacks do make a lot of difference sometimes.
By the time I am done with the above manoeuvres, I am widely awake, and I start getting ready for my run. But this does not mean that you need to sacrifice your slumber. Absolutely not. Like exercise, sleep is very important too, and we need to have minimum six hours of good night sleep.
3. Look for a good company and workout with like-minded people.
As I have mentioned before, I enjoy working-out with my husband, and I look forward to our time together. Similarly, you can take along any of your good friend, or, in the best case scenario, workout with your spouse, just like me. We humans are hard-wired to make connections, and a majority of us aspire to connect with the like-minded people. In a similar manner, find someone who would inspire you and would like to workout with you as it will further provide you the fitness motivation to meet, connect, and have fun with that person every morning.
Join fitness groups on your social networking handles and follow the hard-core fitness enthusiasts. They, too, will motivate you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
For me, working out with my husband is another source of happiness and fun; it is a great way to spend quality time with each other. Hence, look for a company as it might help you in looking forward to a fitness routine.
My experience: Five years ago, when I was not into this fitness aspect, one of my friends used to share her gym update on Facebook every day. Initially, I did not bother, but eventually this status started motivating me, and it was because of this regular update, I told my husband one day that let’s do something. I was so inspired by my friend’s status update that I, too, decided to bring the “health-freak” element into our lives, and there is no looking back since then.
Surprisingly, there was a cascading effect. I also started sharing my gym status every day, and through the support of my wonderful friends, I was able to create a group – Live Learn Inspire – to motivate others and share the inspirational content.
When I go for run in the morning, I look forward to meet my wonderful friends along with their lovely companions – pet dogs. I am an uber pet lover, and it gives me immense happiness to play with those dogs on the beach every day. We all enjoy our morning time together, and we all inspire each other to be happy and healthy.
4. Invest in a good physical activity tracker and monitor your progress.
Tracking your physical workout is always a great idea. The performance measuring tools are extremely beneficial in figuring out what is going well and what needs to be improved in terms of your exercise regimen. These metrics also keep you motivated to perform better and work hard.
My experience: I have a Fitbit Flex, and I am in awe of this beautiful device. Once I connect it with my phone via Bluetooth, it displays my total step-count, calories burned, kilometres I walked throughout the day and so much more. I can even analyse my sleeping pattern where it displays the quality of my sleep. I can set up daily or weekly goals; however, its most distinguished feature is the social connect. You can compete with your friends, provided they also have a Fitbit tracker, and can see their progress as well. The gamification aspect is brilliant, and it propels you to not to give up easily.
My fitness band is another motivational element in my exercise routine as the satisfaction I get by looking at the calories burned and the kilometres I walked throughout the day is beyond comparison.
It is also important to find the right time to workout as per your convenience – morning or evening
There is no definitive answer as to what is the perfect time to workout or hit the gym; hence, you will have to decide or pick a slot that aligns with your long-term fitness goals. Both morning and evening slots have pros and cons. For example: a morning workout will boost your energy for the rest of the day and is more effective in weight loss, but you might not have the adequate energy before your start your exercise. It also requires you to have a nutritious dinner which kind of prepares you for your morning workout. In case of an evening workout, you are already fueled and warmed up, but the number of exercises which you can perform at that time are limited. Also, if you prefer going to gym, they are super crowded during the evenings.
My experience: I am an early bird who likes to start her day as early as possible. I absolutely love working out in the morning. I am a runner, and the pleasure of running on the beach early morning with the beautiful sound of waves and fresh air is transcendental. It makes me feel energetic, euphoric, fresh, cheerful, lively, and, most importantly, deliriously happy. Sometimes I do Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) which is generally practiced in the morning as it has to be performed on an empty stomach.
Plan well and pick a time which suits your needs and requirements; however, always remember that pick something which makes you happy at the end of the day. I hope the above mentioned points will motivate you to maintain your fitness regimen. If you wish to add more points, or in case you would like to share your thoughts, you are most welcome to mention them in the comments section below.
So what are you waiting for? Take up this challenge and surprise yourself. We all are capable of doing extraordinary things; hence, go ahead and inspire others. Do not deprive yourself of the benefits of a healthy routine. I look forward to hearing from you.