Saturday, 9 July 2011

The habit of exercise and variety

Have you ever taken up an exercise program and been really motivated to get fit, lose weight or put on muscle?

Then what happened??

Post your stories or trouble of motivation in the comment box below... and read on:

Well for a lot of people they get really motivated to get fit. You know what I mean. 
You want to get fit for summer to wear that new bikini, lose weight for a wedding or because you have just overloaded over the festive period. Well these are all good motivators and they get you moving but
really how long does that last? A few days, a week, maybe a few weeks and we get back into our old habits and conditioning. So if we are going to create a new pattern or habit we really have to commit to sticking to this new attitude and staying motivated to keep up the training.

A friend of mine I was training about 2 or 3 years ago decided she wanted to lose a bit of weight before summer so she would look great in her new bikinis. She had a few issues with her image and was a little bigger than she really felt comfortable being. So she decided to workout more regularly and for longer. She decided to exercise everyday for about 4 months. I knew that her biggest challenge would be creating the habit of exercise that needed to be established and a feeling that exercise was fun and a feel good thing to do. So i challenged myself to be as supportive and totally positive as I could around this person and talking about their new fitness regime. 

Now years down the track this woman is still totally committed to exercising 4-5 times every week. She has loosened up the rules a little in terms of not exercising every single day, but she is getting better results because her body can now recover with a few days off and that allows her to push a little bit harder or longer on the days she does choose to workout and it also fits into her lifestyle better because she puts a lot of  time into her work and her family. In conversation recently I asked what was the main reason for the transformation and what really affected her mentally towards achieving her goal? 

She responded with 2 things that I had told her those few years ago. 

The habit of exercise and variety.

I told her early on that if you are going to be committed to exercise then you have to commit to the habit of exercise. I told her that she going to get sore, she is going to feel tired and she is going to want to spend her time other ways but if she really wants to get skinny for summer and look fantastic in her bikinis then she needed to commit to a 3 month exercise plan. I said to her that 10-12 weeks of getting outside 6-7 times per week would create the habit of exercise and she would start to find a passion and a drive to workout. 

Wouldn't it be great to be fit, healthy and strong? Well I can tell you first hand that it is! But let me tell you now getting off your but and getting started is the hardest. But if you can commit to pushing through the original soreness and getting 3, 4, 5 weeks of regular exercise under your belt then you are well on your way to creating great habits of exercise. You will start to develop a drive to exercise, a desire to eat healthier because you are starting to notice how the food that you eat affects the quality of your training. You notice that the quality of your workout is directly proportionate to the quality of food that you put into your body, the efforts you make to recovering and the amount of fitness that you have going into the session. And we all know the intellectually. Going for a 5km run is a lot easier when you are doing your 10th one in 10 weeks than your first one in 5 years. So get moving! Get active and push through that initial alert that says this is no fun, it's too hard or i'm tired. I might just say that if I am tired sometimes the best thing I can do is exercise. Sometimes I am really not tired I am just bored, or feeling un-motivated or uninspired. Sometimes we are just a bit flat because we have had a rough day and this is the best opportunity to flush the negativity and stress out of your system and take control of your feelings...
and Variety is so very important!
You might commit to exercising 6-7 times per week but if every day you do the same 7km jog, or 20 laps of swimming and that is all you do every end of the day yes you will get fitter if you have been doing less that this, but you will also get bored. Exercise is an opportunity for you to make full use of all your skills and coordination and capabilities so be creative and keep your exercise varied. I love to have Run, swim and play tennis but I also really enjoy running in different parks, on the beach and up the Kokoda trail. I enjoy a kick of the footy, doing weights with my friends and of course exercising around my house. I love to ride my bike for variety and do sprints and long runs and circuit training as well as core strength and balance and yoga. I was told that the key to this woman maintaining her exercise through some of the days when the last thing she wanted to do was to go outside was the fact that she could stay inside and really work out her abs and core, do some skipping in the back yard or when she had had enough of running she would hit the gym and do rowing and weights and lots of bike and cardiovascular exercise. The old saying change is as good as a holiday rings true in sticking to any training program and that means environment, exercise or equipment. Keep it interesting!!

Whether you are a beginner looking to take up exercise, a regular exerciser or someone who fluctuates in and out of exercise you need to find out what getting fit means for you. Whatever you can use for motivation will help you to get started but what will keep you going is variety and creating a really positive attitude to exercise and your lifestyle. Make exercise a habit for you. Run, Jump, Swim, skip, dance, lift, throw, ski, bound, leap, balance, develop strength, stamina, endurance, and mobility and enjoy the benefits of a fit body. You only get one body in life, so look after it and have fun exercising in as many ways as possible. Adopt the habit of exercise and the joy of variety!

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