Finding it hard to stick to a fitness routine?
I know the feeling. I’ve been there and believe me, it’s not a good feeling to watch yourself give up. It’s especially hard today when most of us have desk jobs that encourage sedentary living.
Tell me how many of the following you can identify with:
- I hate working out.
- I love my sleep.
- I know I’m overweight but nothing works!
- I don’t have the time!
- I can’t look at myself in the mirror.
- I have zero motivation.
Did you score 6/6? Congratulations. I did too! Until a month ago. I am not even kidding. But, the good news? It doesn’t have to be that way. Really!
In today’s post, I’m going to share how I managed to find and stick to the routine that helps me. Bear in mind that this is a work in progress and I will periodically update this, if possible.
I’m going to share simple tips which anyone can do. The really good news is that you don’t even have to do all of these things at once. Pick just one thing and start.
All set? Let’s get started!
1. Find a workout that you enjoy
I cannot stress this enough. It should be something you absolutely look forward to. Let me give you my list. I enjoy walking, swimming and playing badminton. Absolutely love all 3! When you do something you enjoy (much like blogging), you will look forward to it.
This doesn’t mean you should walk, swim or play badminton. Prefer to jog? Do that instead. Tennis gets you excited? Work up a sweat and grab that racquet. Since walking and badminton are the simplest in terms of gear and preparation, I navigate towards those two the most.
2. Do it everyday
Here is the clincher: It doesn’t have to be more than 5 minutes at first. Yes! Tell yourself, I will walk, come what may, for 5 minutes daily. You’d be surprised how well this works.
Before you know it, you’ve worked up to 10, 15, 25 and 35 minutes of comfortable walking. Baby steps will do it. Believe me!
Bonus tip: Do it at the same time everyday. Block it on the calendar so you don’t schedule anything else for that time period.
3. Get enough sleep
Ever since I read ‘Thrive’ by Arianna Huffington, my entire focus towards work, good health and fitness underwent a seismic shift. The reason I was overworked, overweight and exhausted was caused primarily by the fact that I was getting no more than 4 hours of sleep per night.
Each person’s body is different. Figure out how much you need. I average between 6.5 to 7 hours a night now and on most days, I am up before the alarm rings. It’s also a fact that I now feel more energetic through the day and get more work done. Win-win!
4. Ignore numbers
The thing that used to de-motivate me about seeing other fitness-related updates, especially on social media, was how people were cracking times and distances way better than I ever could. Naturally, I felt defeated. I would see an update and figure that I’d never get there, so why bother?
How did I overcome this? I stopped using apps to check how much I’d walked. Numbers freaked me out. I then learnt what I should have learnt all along: Fall in love with the routine itself.
If I play badminton, I play as much as I can until I can’t anymore. I just listen to my body and let it tell me how much I should work out. Simple!
I walk anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes, based on my mood and stamina level for that day. I don’t know how many kilometres I’ve walked or how fast I did it. No clue. But the good news? I love walking and I can’t wait to get out the door every morning, rain or shine.
5. Find your motivation
Unable to push yourself out the door? Find someone or something who will. I have one friend whom I message every morning before my walk. She cheers me on like I’m entering the Olympics 😀 Now if that doesn’t push you out the door, what will?
No such friend or friends who are too far ahead on their fitness journeys? No problem. Get a playlist to do the motivation. I have 3 playlists which I keep switching up on my device. As I start tiring or feeling, ‘Eh, maybe I’ll just head home’, my favourite song starts to play! Now I can’t go home without listening to the whole song! So I end up walking another 4 or 5 minutes. Simple, right?
6. Love yourself
This is something I learnt the very, very hard way. Each day, I’d look at myself in the mirror and watch the rolling lumps of flesh on my abdomen. I’d cringe at my unsightly globs of cellulite and think, ‘Ugh, what’s the use? All the workout and nothing to show for it!’
Then, I met a friend recently. In a freak accident, she’d slipped and fallen, crushing her left foot. The bone had splintered and needed surgery. Watching her lie there,but with a smile on her face, saying ‘This will pass’, made me realise what a fighter she is.
I then came home and looked at myself in the mirror again. Where I saw flab, I now saw a body that could walk, workout and be healthy, if I chose. Where I felt disgust, I now felt pride that I manage to get out the door every morning.
That’s when it happened. The inner narrative shifted. I began to love the fact that I was in good enough health to walk or play badminton. That worked wonders.
The other BIG learning you need to understand is this:
Work out to stay fit and healthy. Don’t work out to lose weight.
7. Make health a priority, not an option
The thing about health? For many of us, it’s the standard excuse of ‘I don’t have time.’
We all have time. We really do! Don’t believe me? Read this piece by Laura Vanderkam, The Busy person’s lies.
Now, take out a notepad and tell me how many minutes a day you spend scrolling through social media. Tell me how many minutes you spent outraging on something in the news. How much time did you spend worrying about a problem instead of fixing it?
Eye-opener? It was for me. And that’s when I decided this won’t do. I found a time that works: 8 to 9 am every single day. During this time, I am out the door, walking or playing badminton. No mobile data, no chores, no worrying about work. Nope. Health matters.
Now, you’ve read this all. Which ones are you planning to start with? In fact, I urge you to do something. Pick one of the tips and work on it for a month. Just one.
Write a post on your blog or share an update on social media. Tag me and tell me what you managed. I’ll be more than happy to cheer you on.
Let’s do this together. There’s strength in numbers. Before you know it, fitness will be something you will be talking about to everyone you meet.
Are you game?
*Featured image courtesy: Shutterstock