January 10, 2012

Motivation to move

Let's start this post off on a good note, shall we? My salsa chicken last night was to die for. I added a can of black beans after 8 hours of cooking and let it cook for another hour while I got my run on and it was delish! (Thanks for the idea Allie!)

salsa chicken with black beans

I typed this post yesterday when I was feeling really good about myself. Today is a different story. I am not in the best mood today. Demi had me weigh myself this morning and the number did not reflect how I think I look. I am getting really f-ing frustrated with that damn scale. I feel like I work my ass off and make healthy food choices (for the most part) and the scale is not moving. What's the point of waking up early and working out every morning, running in the afternoon, eating egg whites and stupid tuna if nothing changes? Might as well just eat pizza and chips all day. Doesn't seem to make a difference. I hate how my weight affects my mood and ruins my whole day but I've been working on this for almost a year and although I can run 3 half marathons in 5 months, you probably couldn't tell by looking at me. I know my problem is more about eating and less about working out, but I really had to remember the below tips this morning because my first instinct was to say "F it" and go grab an egg mcmuffin at McD's.

If you're like me, you sometimes lose motivation to work out. Especially post-college when I started working 5 days a week, it was harder to fit exercise into my day. The last thing I want to do after work is drive to the gym in the dark, beat people to a machine, do what I have to do, and then drive home at 7pm to make dinner and go straight to bed. I don't get to make my own schedule like I did in college when I would actually schedule classes around when I wanted to go to the student rec center. (Sigh...another reason I miss college.)

To help keep me motivated over the past year or so, I've adopted a few strategies that may help others stay on track as well.

I've realized, after many years of denial, that I am a morning work-out person. I've tried working out at all different times of the day but it's become apparent that if I don't work out first thing in the morning, it ain't gettin' done. My old roommate was a night owl and would wait around until 8 or 9pm to go to the gym. By that time, I'm already in bed (in my defense, I wake up early.) The key is to figure out what works for you and get in to a routine. Make exercising a priority, just like taking a shower or going to work. If you can't make it to a gym, figure out a way to incorporate working out at home. Get exercise DVD's, free weights, a mat, maybe a used treadmill...whatever you need to stay consistent.

I set half marathon goals for myself throughout last year and that worked awesomely for me. If I didn't feel like running, I would tell myself that it's no longer a choice, my race was coming up. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the hardest part about going on a run or working out is putting on your shoes. Once you lace up the sneaks, it's go time. And you will not regret a workout. If running isn't your thing, try walking. Or a combo- run for 5 minutes, walk for 5 minutes until you reach your goal time and/or distance.

There are races every weekend and they are all different lengths. If a half marathon intimidates you, try a 5k (3.1 miles) or a 10k (6.2 miles.) Cap City even offers a quarter marathon distance, which is 6.55 miles. You get the excitement of a big race without having to log 13.1 miles. Plus, you still get a sweet medal!

If you belong to a gym and they offer fitness classes, try some out. It took me a year and a half at OU to try out the free fitness classes at the rec center and once I did, I was hooked. As I mentioned before, I would schedule my school classes around my bodypump, step, ab, and bootcamp classes. I loved the classes because the instructor would tell you what to do so it was mindless (much of the reason I love using a personal trainer), it had good music, and it was over in 55 minutes. Not a bag gig for something you already pay for through your gym membership. If taking a class is scary to you, see if you can get a guest pass for a friend and go together. Laughing at each other just burns extra calories :) I've actually thought about becoming a certified Zumba instructor but haven't put too much effort in to it. Maybe 2012 is the year! If so, come to my classes!

Buy new workout gear. New shoes, a new dri-fit top, even new socks get me excited to sweat. I just downloaded the Nike+GPS app on my phone and I couldn't wait to run last night because I could go anywhere I wanted. I used to have to map out my run beforehand, which takes a lot of planning and can be annoying after awhile. If you don't want to invest in new workout gear, simply making a new playlist or updating your iPod with fresh music can be just as motivating.

Nike+GPS app

Keep a picture of how you want to look handy. It sounds cheesy, but it works. Every time I look back at pictures from high school or the beginning of college, I want to go out and run that very moment. Having a tangible, visible, realistic picture of how you want to look can be more motivation than any app or new top.

sweet dance moves, I know
Obviously, I am no expert. I still choose a night out with friends over a morning run but I also know I am so much better about working out than I was just a year ago. Also, what works for me may not work for you, but trying different things is the only way you'll learn how to keep yourself motivated.

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination.- Tommy Lasorda

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