July 18, 2011

staying motivated

Recently I've been getting questions on how to stay motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Or how I make myself workout even when I don't want to.  So I thought I'd share a few tidbits.


1.  Embrace the me time.  Obviously this won't be the case for everyone, but since joining the gym, I absolutely love working out.  Just knowing there are other people around who might be watching me, encourages me to work a little bit harder.  I'm easily embarrassed and definitely don't want to look like a fool.  But the main reason, is the fact that I get an hour of me time during the day + nap time.  Before I'd make excuses not to work out because I had so much work I needed to get done, or other random things on the internet to distract me.  But now I get a little break in the day, Ryann is starting to enjoy the day care, and it is keeping me healthy.

2.  Workout in the mornings, if you can swing it.  You know throughout the day you can make thousands of excuses why you don't have time, or you got tired, etc.  But if you wake up a little earlier to work out, the only thing you're losing out on is sleep (which yes, it precious to some, but would 30-45 minutes earlier kill you?).  If you bite the bullet and set your alarm to get up and workout, remind yourself that you got up to workout for a reason.  Don't only give 50% to the workout because your tired, because then what was the point of getting up in the first place?

3.  Shorten your workouts.  No, don't work out less, just be more effective.  The Jillian Michaels DVDs are good, because she gives you strength training and cardio without breaks, causing you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.  Intervals and combination strength moves are definitely your friends.  Plan a little circuit, say with four exercises, do each exercise for a minute, then run/walk on the treadmill for a quarter mile.  Repeat the Circuit four times.  It will probably take you 30 minutes, and you'll have knocked out your strength training and cardio at the same time.  Another thing I'm loving is intervals on the stair climber.  That thing is a calorie burner to begin with, but if you alternate between medium and high intensity for fifteen minutes or so, you will definitely be sweating!

4.  Find someone to support you.  If I hadn't ever posted about wanting to make this lifestyle change, I don't think I'd be where I am.  I didn't want to have to come on the blog and tell you I failed.  And all of your encouraging comments and advice really keep me motivated to keep going.  So do a blog post about your goals.  Team up with a friend.  Tell your family what you are aiming for.  Find SOMEONE that can congratulate you when you make progress, and encourage you to keep going.

5.  Track your work-outs and progress.  First let me say, planning what you are going to do, or when you are going to work-out is key.  I've started making a plan for my workouts that I list on iCal.  But each day I record what I actually did at the gym.  It feels great to be able to write stuff down.  And at the end of the week, or month or whatever, you can look back and see what you've done.  Also, find something that is motivating to you, be it the number on the scale, your measurements, body fat percentage, or just how much you can lift or how long you can last on the cardio equipment, and measure that at what ever interval works for you.  Even if you're not trying to lose weight, seeing your endurance increase (I don't think twice about getting on the treadmill for a 3 mile run now!) can be motivating, and encourages you to try harder.

6.  Set a goal.  A goal that isn't weight loss related that is.  Obviously losing weight is a big motivating factor for a lot of people, but it is a lot easier to get disappointed when you aren't getting the results you're looking for.  Signing up for races is what is keeping me running.  My goal isn't to win.  Just to finish, and do my best.  To go farther, and faster.  Which is why I'm toying with the idea of signing up for a half marathon.  Yes Shelly, you suggested it a while back.  I thought you were nuts.  But now I might just be crazy enough to do it.  


No, none of that is new information.  But those are things that can definitely work to motivate you to stay on track.  The hardest thing for me personally?  Eating habits.  The more I workout the hungrier I'm becoming, and the hungrier I am the worse choices I seem to make.  So the most important thing for me, in maintaining this new lifestyle, is to PLAN AHEAD.  Plan when you're going to workout.  Plan what you're going to eat (most of the time, I know not everyone is perfect all of the time!).  It is so much easier to stay motivated when you have a plan.


Nikki said...

Ashley, you are doing great! Planning a head really is key. Keep up the good work, and thanks for being such an inspiration.

Rachel said...

Ashley, this is totally off the topic of your post, but I've been meaning to comment and suggest this for a while. I'm due in the fall and, as a new mom, I'd love it if you'd do a post about the baby items you loved and hated. Strollers, pack and plays, high chairs, etc. Just a suggestion that might help new mommas :)

Amanda said...

Your motivation is inspiring! I've been curious to know what's on your playlist? You might have mentioned it before and I missed it. I'm trying to keep myself motivated to run my first 5k soon and working on a great playlist to keep me going.

Finley's Mama said...

Thanks for the ideas. I have an 11 month old baby and I find it hard to make time for myself, but that is something I'm trying to work on!

I love your blog :)