I have a confession to make… I am not perfect!
PHEW!! I said it! Thank goodness that’s off my conscience. But, seriously, no one is perfect and health coaches are no different. We all have our weaknesses, we all have moments where we get completely bored with our work out routines. We all have days when indulgence just HAS to happen.
So how do I create a lifestyle of healthy behaviors and healthy choices when I am (gasp) not perfect? For you, Fuck Skinny readers, I have comprised a list of my biggest weaknesses as well as the strategies I have come up with to bridge or beat them. Today I begin with exercise. I hope you find them helpful in creating a strategy for your own successes.
Getting started with exercise after you’ve lost the habit… or maybe never had the habit to begin with:
Sometimes, if you’re new to exercise (or have been away from it for a while) getting started and creating a routine can be the toughest part. I know it is for me! Here’s what I did when I first started working out.
- I invested in a lot of really fun-to-wear exercise clothes – and I wore them. A lot. To this day, my sister is still embarrassed to go out in public with me as I insist that yoga pants are, in fact, “real pants.” When I was fresh out of college, trying to build a career, and flat broke, this collection was comprised of things I’d pick up at Target, Kohl’s, or my favorite, Salvation “Armani.” Several years and several key jobs later, I’ve found some adorable things from Nike, lululemon, Athleta, New Balance, and Under Armour that I can wear around the house or even out to run errands if I want to. I started making it a habit to change into my exercise clothes right after I’d get home from work. On my days off, I’d get out of bed and put on my work out clothes as soon as I changed out of my PJ’s. There’s just something about getting dressed and ready for the activity that gives me motivation to actually do it. I guess I’d think, “Well, I’ve got the stuff on, I might as well just go do it.”
- I treated exercise like an appointment. I picked a time to exercise, chose an activity to do, wrote it on a calendar, and then I stuck to it. I made myself do it, no matter how tired I felt. I always found that I had enough energy to make it through the work out, even when I thought I didn’t going into the workout. If it had been a while and I was really out of shape, I’d remind myself “It will get easier… eventually,” and then did what I could. And it did get easier! Eventually. 😛
- I ignored the workouts magazines told me I should do “to get the best results” and started with what I could handle. When I was out of shape and getting started on a new exercise regimen, trying to tackle a 40 min high impact aerobics class would leave me feeling discouraged. If 10 minutes was all I could handle without wanting to kill the coach and never go back, then I did 10 minutes. Of my own accord, I’d push myself harder as I got stronger. After time, when my body was ready, I embraced that 40 min ball-buster workout, and then some!
Sticking With Regular Exercise When You’re Getting Bored:
Boredom is a major problem for me when it comes to exercise. I love new shiny things. I love excitement. I embrace change. In my world, routine is the worst. I get so bored with certain exercises sometimes! When I first scribbled down this strategy list several years ago, I was bored to tears with my weightlifting routine, which had given me great results for the previous three years. S
o what did I do? I let it go and picked up a different exercise. Several, in fact.
- I went to my exercise video collection and dug deep. So deep, in fact, I pulled out my old Tae Bo videos from the 90’s. I know it’s not the same as “heavy lifting” but it does work the muscles and kept mine in shape until I was ready to go back to the weight room. I was having so much fun going back to those old videos, I even purchased the Billy Blanks Boot Camp collection. I actually have several exercise videos, including four Step Aerobic routines (and two steps, just in case anyone ever wants to join me). I have Pilates for Weight Loss, Belly Dance Jam, Hula Buns and Abs, Paula Abdul’s Cardio Dance Workout (yeah, that’s right, be jealous you fellow 80’s and 90’s kids), and 5 Tae Bo videos. Back in my pre-marathon days, these videos were so helpful in keeping me interested in working out and helped me hold on to the habit of regular exercise, even if it wasn’t sweating in gym, maxing out my heart rate, orpushing my muscles to exhaustion.
- My key to beating boredom was, and still is, variety. For a little something different all the time, I go running, I use the elliptical machine, I take a spin class, I swim, I do yoga, and I dance around my house, including up and down the stairs, usually singing at the top of my lungs to my cats. I plan trips to go hiking, climb mountains, go horseback riding, try new ropes courses, and participate in races.
- I enrolled others (lots of others) in my exercise schedule and joined exercise communities. I am a social creature, so I put that to work for me in creating my fitness lifestyle. At first, I would make my roommate do step aerobics with me in the living room, that progressed to us taking jogs around our neighborhood together and signing up for 5K races. This expanded to finding several people I could meet up with at the YMCA or go to spin class with, so I’d always have someone to make plans with. When I turned 30, I joined my first “fitness community” by signing up for a marathon with Team In Training. This gave me more running and exercise friends than I could possibly ever schedule workouts with. I was never at a loss for someone to help me stay accountable to getting my sweat on. These days I still maintain my running/workout buddies, I still train for races with Team In Training, and have become a regular character at Boston’s November Project, where boredom is not an option, awe inspiring friends give you sweaty hugs that help you through the ass kicking workouts, and dropping a #verbal allows your peers to hold you accountable to showing up to work out or be subject to relentless public ridicule via social media. It is two simple words. Fucking awesome. This is the trifecta of stick-to-it-iveness for me.
As you can see, I found what worked for me by digging into my own strengths to overcome the barriers that threatened to keep me from the healthy lifestyle I wanted to create. But don’t just follow my formula, find what works for you!
Stay tuned for my next strategy installment, Eating Habits that Just Won’t Go Away!