Consistent exercise is required for effective weight loss and changing your body. It also serves as an antidepressant and prevents almost every disease out there. It has a way of magically making you want to eat well too. I can’t really explain that phenomenon but if you’ve ever done regular exercise-you undoubtedly know what I’m talking about! I’m sure there is a scientific term, but I’m about practical and easy…so moving along…
Many people tell me they don’t enjoy exercise. I think they believe that, but I don’t think they are right. Here are some reasons why people believe they hate exercise:
1. The beginning of any lifestyle change is hard. Your body isn’t used to it and won’t “like” it at first.
2. They have done forms of exercise which were above their fitness level and became discouraged.
3. They didn’t see results in 2.5 seconds and decided pouring sweat does not equal change therefore it is not worth it.
4. They are afraid of failure and it is not comfortable for them to try knowing they may fail.
5. They don’t exercise vigorously enough believing the lie that their body isn’t capable. Then they don’t experience the endorphin rush that makes one love exercise.
6. It took too much time so instead of re -prioritizing they just made up their mind that exercise isn’t worth the time and quit.
7. They experienced plateaus in the past when they worked hard and stopped seeing results. More on plateaus later.
8. It makes them sore and/or have joint pain. They don’t realize that this is preventable and often related to lack of strength training. More on exercise, pain and injury later.
Another frequent obstacle for some (and one I’ve encountered) is perfectionism: I think that if I can’t do my “ideal” workout the “ideal” way the “ideal” number of days per week, then it isn’t worth the trouble. This is a flawed way of thinking. Consistency is the key. Accept where you are in life and the resources you have and do your best with that. When your schedule changes or your budget changes, you must adapt. What works today might not work tomorrow, and it is okay!
If you can agree with any of the above, I want to remind you of day 1. Go back and look at your picture. Is this how you want to stay? Or is it worth the effort to see change?
Today I challenge you to try some different forms of exercise that might be new to you. Reflect on what you’ve done in the past and how it did or didn’t work for you. If you know the endorphin rush I referred to- then you know the level of exertion where you experience that. If you are more than 25 pounds overweight, over age 40 or have chronic disease, I highly recommend calling your primary doctor today and scheduling a physical. Follow your doctor’s recommendation for exercise intensity. If not, here are some things to get you started:
1. Interval training in any cardio capacity including, but not limited to:
Interval training is easy to do: simply use faster pace or hills to increase intensity alternating with periods of easier intensity. This is a great way to begin cardio and find your fitness level in order to set a goal later.
2. Home workouts: search around YouTube and you’ll be amazed at the free workouts you find. My favorites are:
The concept of the hiit workouts is working up to 3 rounds of the workout unless otherwise stated.
These usually require minimal equipment and for beginners, no equipment! I have dumbells and a mat. Modify by not using weights and so slower repititions. All plank and push-up positions can be done from the knees for beginners.
3. Free apps (may not be available on Android/I am an unashamed Apple snob;-)):
Bodyrock (click the blue bar at the bottom to get to workouts, my personal favorite!)
Interval Timer (use this for any kind of interval workout you want to do!)
C25k-work up to running a 5k
iWOD-has a library full of awesome strength training exercises for free!
7 minute workout-interval training circuits
RunKeeper-GPS and time keeping for any cardio (my personal favorite for cardio)
4. Join a gym and go there regularly. There isn’t anything to do but exercise. Just do it. You will meet others there that will give you ideas and you’ll find the things you like. You just have to go regularly!
5. DVD workouts:
Jillian Michaels is great for at home exercisers. All you need are dumb bells and a mat and a tv/DVD player. My personal favorite of hers is Ripped in 30.
Cathe Frederick is good too.
WalMart carries these in the $10 range!
Zuzana (linked above) has DVDs available on amazon.com as well.
Try to exercise most days of the week. Get in the mindset of enjoying the journey and results that long term consistency brings. Effective, safe exercise includes warm up, cardio, strength training and cool down followed by stretching. Strength training is not necessary every day, but aim to include it at least three times per week. More about the benefits of strength training later. If you try one thing and hate it, move on to the next thing, but don’t give up because one type of exercise doesn’t work for you. Ready, GO!!!