Tag Archives: motivation

The Workout Nanny

7 Jan
This'll be me and Willa...one day.

This’ll be me and Willa…one day.
photo courtesy of Tumblr

Not too long ago, I was scrolling through my TimeHop. For those of you out of the loop, TimeHop is an app that lets you know what you were doing in social media that day going back a few years. One of the posts that came up was from Facebook where I thanked a friend for dragging me to the gym even though I had a bad case of the “I-don’t-wannas.”

I get the “I-don’t-wannas” from time to time, but they really get aggravated around this time of year. In case you haven’t been paying attention: I HATE the cold. Right now it’s 20 degrees and the low tomorrow is expected to reach of sweltering 7. Seven!! Nothing turns me into a hermit more than single-digit temps.

That’s why I’m glad to have friends like Willa. We both get lazy about working out. Fortunately for us, it’s rarely at the same time. So when I don’t feel like it, she’ll make me go and vice versa.

After you’ve reached your goal weight, the hardest part will be to maintain. Ice cream sundaes don’t seem so intimidating anymore. The Five Guys ultimate of burger, fries and a soda tends to look like a good idea more and more. And huddling up near the heater during one of the coldest days of the year is way more inviting than going outside wet from sweating it out at the gym.

It’s times like this you need a workout nanny. The New York Times recently ran an article about SIN Workouts, which offers to be your workout concierge.

SIN employees can turn up at 5 a.m. with coffee and an organic banana to rouse clients and stand sentry while they get dressed ($100), provide car service ($25, plus the cost of the ride), arrange for freshly laundered clothes to be waiting at the Barry’s Bootcamp studio ($25), or courier over a favorite green juice ($25).

During the winter months, this isn’t such a bad idea. It’s so hard to find motivation to leave the house when it’s cold. But instead of paying hundreds of dollars to have someone convince me to go, I just look to Willa.

Until then, this is us.

Until then, this is us.

Having a workout concierge/nanny/buddy sometimes can be all the difference between maintaining your weight loss or not. Until the temperatures dropped, you were on a roll. Now it’s cold outside and all you eat are rolls. If cuffing season didn’t work out for you, your friendly motivator will have to do the trick.

I’ve discussed before about how the weight-loss journey is a solo one. It always will be because no one can live a healthy lifestyle for you. But everyone needs cheerleaders. Everyone needs someone who will not take your excuses for having a bad case of the “I-don’t-wannas” or “it’s too cold” or whatever else you came up with that morning. Encouragement from a close friend or family member is a necessary item in your toolkit for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

And that was always the goal, wasn’t it? Your weight-loss journey wasn’t some vacation from your regular life. It was a mission to move yourself into another way of living. When you’ve reached your goal, you become an inspiration to those around you. They want to see you continue to do well. So the next time the “I-don’t-wannas” threaten to derail you from your path, talk to your concierge/nanny/buddy. I’m sure they’ve got a few words to help get you moving.

Who do you talk to keep you motivated? Would you ever pay someone to take on the role?

Rest and Relaxation Time

23 Sep
How you feel on rest day

How you feel on rest day

Beast mode is no joke. I’ve been in beast mode for three weeks (and lost eight pounds in the process—yay!). I let things get out of hand over the winter, spent the spring enjoying the anniversary of my birth and the summer—well, I don’t have any excuse for the summer.

However, I’m making up for it now. I have sweat more in the past few weeks than I have in ages. I’m working out five to six days a week for about an hour a day. And on the seventh day, I’m resting.

I’ve gotten to the point now where I look forward to my rest days more than anything else. Rest days are just as important as workout days. They are the days your body recovers from the punishment you are putting it through. Think of it this way: you don’t work seven days a week, do you? If you do, we have other things to discuss.

One of the benefits of rest days is you are being proactive in preventing injury. I’ve discussed before how I strained my IT band by running so much. Before my injury, I was running maybe five days a week. I’ve now cut down to two to three. I spread out the days between runs to give my knee the chance to recuperate, but I’ve still got a couple of other days I need to get my sweat on. So I use those days to challenge myself with a different form of exercise, be it spin class or even the elliptical machine. Over the past few weeks, my knee hasn’t hurt me once. I credit that to rest days.

When I take a rest day, I do nothing. Last week, I took my first break in six days. Because I had been working out so much, I had completely neglected my apartment, as I am wont to do. I had plans to use my day off sweeping, mopping, putting up clothes, buying groceries, spending time with my dog, etc. The only thing I did was spend time with my dog—and we slept and binge-watched Netflix.

Rest days remind to you to stop and smell the roses. You’ve done good things; you should take time to appreciate them. You’re not as winded when you take the stairs. That reheated black bean and rice recipe you tried tastes pretty good. And better yet, you don’t have to work out today. For 24 hours you can exist in chill mode with no worries. Doesn’t that sound nice?

I’m not just touting this because I’m a self-confessed bum who’d rather clear out her DVR. The American College of Sports Medicine agrees with me.

Rest is a critical component to any good workout routine and time spent allowing the body to recover is a great way to prevent injuries. A rest day must occur at least one to two times per week. Even small breaks during a workout are sometimes required to get the most out of the workout and prevent injuries.

You’ll do more good than harm to put the weights down for one day and rest. Go ahead, take a nap. Go to a movie. See the friends you’ve been neglecting while you tackle the beast. That’ll do you some good to.

What do you like to do on your rest days? What do you enjoy most about them?

gif courtesy of Tumblr

Fear as the Great Motivator

15 Sep

blairwitch

When talking to people over the years about how I began my weight-loss journey, I often describe my laziness. I’m a self-confessed, couch-potato bum. I wasn’t an active child. I come from a house full of readers. We may not know how to play sports, but we can navigate a library with ease.

But I got older, my ass got wider and every flight of steps began to look like Mount Everest. I knew I needed to make a change, but I’d never done anything like this before. Of course I hadn’t. That’s how I got into my situation in the first place. Besides dancing for a few years, physical activity was a foreign concept to me. And things that are foreign can be scary.

Fear is one of the biggest obstacles you will have to overcome as you embark on your weight-loss journey. It can be so powerful that it’s debilitating. You know how to walk, obviously, but you haven’t run since recess in elementary school. The last time you rode a bike it was a Huffy 10-speed. You haven’t taken a class since college almost 15 years ago. Doing these things will muck up your routine, and they’re all unfamiliar to you and the body you’ve developed.

Have you ever been so scared to something that you did it anyway just to relieve the anxiety of fear?

That was how I decided to just go for it. You’ll hear lots of disclaimers about not participating in any strenuous physical activity without your doctor’s consent. I’m a big believer in that, too. But after you’ve gotten the doc’s OK, the only thing holding you back is you and your fears.

So what are you really afraid of? That you’ll run out of breath? That you’ll hurt yourself? That you’ll make a fool of yourself? Let me help you out: you will do all those things and more.

If you’re brand new to the whole exercise thing, you will definitely get short of breath a lot faster than some of the other people around you. And you will deal with it. Never, ever push yourself to the point where you absolutely cannot breathe. But don’t shortchange yourself to the point where you’re not really working yourself. Always remember: oxygen is good.

A little pain got you scared? Again, you will deal. Your body is going to fight you so hard on the “damage” you’re about to do to it. You will ache in places you didn’t know could ache. I knew my hamstrings would get tight, but I never thought my butt muscles would betray me. That’s when I became good pals with my friend Epsom Salt. A quarter-to-half cup of that in a hot bath will ease a lot of your aches and pains. Or, if you’ve worked your legs overtime, an ice bath is the trick for you. Just think bath.

Humiliation is a fear we can all relate to. Who hasn’t tripped and fallen in front of others? Who among us hasn’t seen that one guy at the club looking like he’s having a seizure when he’s supposed to be doing the Dougie? It’s embarrassing to be the new person. But you won’t always be new. You will get the hang of things, you just have to keep trying. The person killing it in front of your Boot Camp class wasn’t always the star pupil. They tripped over their aerobics stepper just like you did. The fastest swimmer at your pool once had to doggy paddle to do laps. And then they got better, as will you.

Don’t let your fears keep you from doing what’s important to you. Use them as motivators to keep you moving on the right track.

What scares you most about working out? What steps can you take to overcome them and even use them to your advantage?

photo courtesy of Tumblr

I’ma Be Your Motivation

16 Jan
someecards.com - I exercise just to make you feel bad about not exercising.

Hey, it’s a reason.

I talk a lot on this blog about the necessity of keeping up with your workout. I’ve also talked a lot about how I’m not perfect and my love of Goldfish crackers and comfy sofas make this hard, but I still persevere.

I do this to show that I did not wake up like dih. I am a flawed human being. I go through phases, like most people, where I’d rather sit and clear out my DVR or binge-watch “Breaking Bad” than go to the gym. Hell, it took me five hours from the time I got up this morning to start writing this post. You know what I did in the meantime: nada. I read a couple chapters of a book; I walked my dog; I watched “Dexter” on Netflix; I took a nap. None of those things, besides walking the dog, was something that needed to be done. I just didn’t feel like it.

And that’s a problem that you’ll face on your journey toward your goal. Some days, no matter what, you just won’t feel like it. Everything under the sun sounds more appealing than exercising. You know what’s more fun than spin class? Puppy cuddling. What’s more appealing than Zumba? Cookies and a “Game of Thrones” marathon.

So how do you get past the allure of being sedentary?

1. Just Go. Really, that’s the first step. It’s always the hardest, but it’s the most important. Not many people ever really want to go to the gym unless they’re being paid for it. If it’s not your job, then you have to find some other motivation. Even though I may have stayed up too late the night before or the dog was hacking all night, I’ll force myself out of bed and go to the gym. I tell myself that the 20 minutes I’m going to do on the elliptical are more than most people will do all day. Those 20 minutes can turn into 25. Then I hop on the stationary bike for 15 minutes, which turns into another 20. By then I’ve done 45 minutes. And since I can be a little OCD, I’ll do 15 minutes on the treadmill to make it a full hour. All that by just getting out of bed and going.

2. Plan Ahead. If you’ve already made your meals for the week, got your clothes set out and scheduled time, there’s little in your way to keep you from doing your workout. Sometimes we need a little structure in our lives. So if you can’t function without time limits, this is the step for you. Preparation is necessary in any weight-loss plan, anyway. You don’t go scuba diving without instructions. You don’t start a weight-loss plan without knowing what you’re getting into. Just prepare yourself, and you’re ready to stay on track.

3. Make It Quick. You don’t have to go hard to get in a good workout. I have some exercise DVDs at home that are only 30 minutes. That’s it: 30 minutes! What else are you doing today that you can’t take 30 minutes out of your day? Really, I’m asking. Some of you have kids and spouses and mortgages. I have none of that. I have a 12-year-old dog who sleeps all day in my apartment. It’s easy for me to take time out for a quick workout. Out of the 24 hours in the day, is every minute of them accounted for? If not, try to consolidate about 30 to do something good for yourself.

4. Reward Yourself. I think this comes from childhood, but I sometimes feel I don’t deserve treats until my chores are done. For example: I can’t leave to meet friends until my home is straightened up. I don’t get dessert until the dishes are in the dishwasher. I haven’t earned that new dress until spin class is over. For me, it’s about earning points for a treat. So what do you do to treat yourself? Maybe you want the 10-minute massage after your mani-pedi. Well, you’ve got to earn it.

5. Take Pride in Doing Something Others Aren’t. I know this is bad, but it helps keep me motivated. When I leave the gym and have to go to the grocery store, there’s a little bit of pride that comes with my sweat stains. That pride comes from knowing I look awful, but I look awful for a reason. There are people at the store who look bad because it’s Tuesday. You’ve earned your worn-out look. Wear that badge with pride.

6. Vision/Pinterest Board It. What’s the light at the end of your tunnel? A good way to stick with any plan is to have a set of goals to achieve. If you plan on being beach-ready by summer, the best time to start is now. If you have a wedding in the fall, remember that fittings start in the summer. Put up pictures of what you want, be it a vacation in Nice or a destination wedding in St. Barths. Keep a reminder to yourself that you have a goal you need to achieve.

Women’s Health magazine compiled a list last year of a few things people need to do to stay on track. What do you do to keep yourself motivated?