You want to start exercising regularly.
You’re probably sold on the fact that exercise is great for you and you understand it’s something you need to do.
Maybe you even have some specific goals you’d like to achieve.
You really want to be the kind of person that has a consistent workout routine, but you struggle with finding the time and energy to make this happen.
If you’re like most people, you probably think that the reason you have trouble committing to regular exercise is because you’re lacking in time, energy, willpower, or all of the above.
Or maybe you feel like you just don’t know the right workout yet, so you bounce between spin classes, yoga, Zumba, and random visits to the gym hoping to find the magic formula that will transform you into a fitness lover.
The reality is we all lack motivation from time to time, but if you’re still struggling to exercise several times a week, chances are you’re making some very common mistakes.
Need inspiration? Click the button below to download our FREE workout tip: “How to sculpt a better body with one simple exercise.”
Here are our 7 “no-stress” ways to make fitness part of your routine:
1. Do something you like
This might seem like an obvious statement, but so many people goof on this one!
How many of you run because you love it, and how many do it because you feel you have to? Consider swapping a fitness routine that you only feel “meh” about for one that you look forward to doing. If you like walking…walk! Choosing an activity you enjoy will increase your likelihood of actually doing it.
Chemically, this is huge for your brain. When you do an activity you enjoy a chemical called Dopamine is released in your brain. This chemical helps us have the persistence required to meet our goals. What triggers dopamine release in the brain is the anticipation of the reward – or the pleasurable activity. Dopamine is again released when our goal is achieved.
Find a workout that get’s your Dopamine juices flowing!
2. Workout where you like
Similarly, if the mere sight of a gym makes you want to put your sneakers down the garbage disposal – don’t go to the gym.
Is there another place you like to go where you can move around? I realize that for those of you not located in Hawaii you have to deal with those strange things called seasons, so try to allocate a place in your house, a park, even your favorite bit of sidewalk to do your physical activity.
3. Take movement breaks at work
Ok a little tangent here…One of my yoga students, Joe, was an absolute specimen of fitness. Michael and I wagered that he must be a dancer, gymnast, or swimmer.
One day after class, we asked Joe about his workout routine, hoping to learn the secret of his buffness and flexibility. To our surprise he answer that he mostly worked his 9-5 office job all day but he tried to run, swim, or do yoga intermittently when his schedule allowed for it. Puzzled, we then asked him what his secret was, to which Joe replied, “I take breaks to squat, move, and stretch every 20 minutes while I’m working.”
Now we won’t demand that you take breaks every 20 minutes (unless you can and you want to) but we do suggest setting a timer for every hour. When it goes off, stop what you’re doing at take 5-7 minutes to move your body.
- Use an imaginary jump-rope
- Take a walk around the office.
Basically do whatever movement feels good without pissing off the people around you.
Incorporating movement into your day will remind your body that you expect it to be able to move rather than sit all day. Chances are it will also make you feel better, so at the end of the day you’ll be more likely to have the energy to get a workout in.
Also consider making your office more alignment-friendly. Steve at Nerd Fitness offers these great suggestions for properly setting up your work environment.
Another option that several of our VIP clients have had success with is to invest in a standing desk. We recommend finding a model that accommodates to standing and seated. This is a great tool for creating ideal biomechanics while you work and several of our clients have found it helps them lose weight.
Check out this list of the 10 Best Standing Desks.
4. Sometimes Less is More
That’s right, I said it. If you’re spending 2 hours in a gym every time you work out chances are you’re doing something wrong. Unless you absolutely adore your gym, we recommend keeping your workouts short and sweet. Somewhere around the 20-30 minute mark.
Putting in a clear, concise, maximal effort will do your body good in the long run. This also takes away the stress of feeling like you have to get it all in one go.
Remember that exercise in an investment into yourself and not a punishment. Rather than dumping all your money into one stock and hoping for the best, make smaller wiser investments. Over time you’ll find these investments pay off.
“For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.”
When it comes to being physically active, consistency is crucial.
It’s no use doing one superstar workout routine if you’re not consistent. In terms of creating life-long fitness, consistency wins every time. It doesn’t matter what genetics you’re born with, what body type you have, or even how much you weigh. If you are consistent in your workouts you will see change because our body is wired that way.
And remember minimum timeframe to see any true change is 8-12 weeks.
6. Set meaningful goals
Setting goals is a pretty common tool. Setting the right goals will keep you accountable and ensure your success in finding the drive to exercise.
As you set your goal, make sure it meets the following 3 criteria:
- Find what’s meaningful to you. This means it should further you toward something you and only you care about. Setting a goal to be or to look like someone else will only discourage you.
- Focus on what you want – not what you don’t want. Putting a positive spin on your resolutions will give you strength to draw upon when you hit that inevitable wall. Simply saying, “I don’t want to be in pain” will not help you on the days you’re in pain. Instead try to frame your goal in terms of what you’d like – for example, “I’d like to feel stronger.” As Stanford University Psychologist Kelly McGonigal says, “The best resolutions are ones that strengthen something you already are, but you may not have been fully investing in.” (via TEDBlog)
- Break your goal into steps. This allows you to focus on the process of achieving your goal, rather than focusing exclusively on the end result. Celebrate the small victories and realize that you don’t have to get everything done all at once.
7. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you
Creating a fitness routine doesn’t have to be punishment. Probably the biggest place where you might find yourself getting tripped up is by wanting to exercise because you think there is something wrong with you.
Take one minute before you start working out and ask yourself “What is my motivation for doing this?” If you find that your motivation is coming from fear, frustration, disgust, etc., take a few moments to sit with yourself and breathe. Look at the negative emotions, thank them for being there, and then politely ask them to leave. Then replace them with a positive motivation, or your positive goal, i.e. “My motivation for exercising today is to feel more energetic.”
Close each workout by taking one minute to reflect on something you’re proud of yourself for doing. This can be a physical action, a mental/emotional concept, or even pride in the fact that you tried.
These simple and powerful tool will help you and your brain begin to enjoy making fitness part of your life.
The Healing Coaches
For the record…these are tools that Michael and I use DAILY.
What are some of the biggest hurdles you face when it comes to starting an exercise routine? Share with us in the comments below.