Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I've written about workout motivation before, and recently I've really had to dig deep to find even more of it. It's hard after having a baby- there are a million reasons why it's easier to stay at home with your family, comfy on your couch watching a movie, and lots of different, easier things we could do with our limited time. So when I revisited that post from last year, I tried to think a bit more about what kind of pep talk I give myself to get going. And like I've previously mentioned, it was absolutely easier to workout before having Henry. I could go to the gym whenever my heart desired and stay for as long as I like. I could go on a run in the afternoon, or take a spinning class after work. But here's what it come down to: in order for me to be the best Mom I can be, I need to take care of myself. What this means is carving out time in my day to better my mind, body and spirit. I've always taken fitness seriously- like I've mentioned before I was a very competitive athlete growing up and exercise has been a part of my life since I began dancing at age three. I always had good reason to workout too- it made me feel good, helped me look my best, and kept me happy and healthy. But now, I have one more important thing to add to that list- it helps me be the best mom I can be. I feel like it's my responsibility to be a good example to my son. I want him to be healthy, and that means that his father and I need to be healthy role models. I want to live a long, long life and watch him grow up, and eventually one day be a grandparent too. I hope to live a life full of activity and travel. I want to go to sleep every night and know that I got the most out of each day, that I did everything in my power to be a positive person- and for me this goes hand in hand with some sort of physical activity.
Hank often jokes, "happy wife, happy life," and although this sounds funny, it's true. I absolutely set the climate for my house. If I am in a bad mood, you can bet that he feels this, and even though Henry is only three months old, he can feel it too. Because I've been through periods of my life where I've been depressed, I know how important exercise is to my mental health. Take this morning for example- I got up and went to the gym at 5am, even though of course I'd rather sleep until 7 or 8 when Henry wakes up. But at the same time I wanted to go, and because I've been in a bit of a funk for the past couple of days, I knew that I would feel immeasurably better about everything the moment I began my workout. And I did! Even though it was so early, the combination of motivating music and moving my body snapped me out of my bad mood almost immediately. I walked out of the gym this morning with a huge smile on a my face, a bounce in my step, and with the knowledge that I actively did something to fix my situation. Now, a few hours later I still feel great, and this can be attributed to taking that time to do something good for me.
Whether you are someone who doesn't normally work out, or someone who is a seasoned fitness pro, motivation can be hard to come by. Of course it's easier to stay in our comfy clothes, relax on the couch with your family, and do a whole lot of nothing. And sometimes, those kind of times are what we need too. But at the same time, we all need to give our bodies a little TLC- and in my opinion, what better way to treat yourself, than to do something good for yourself. A lot of the time I find myself coming up with the same excuses- I'll go tomorrow, I'll go in the morning, it's not a big deal- I'm way too comfy in front of this computer/tv screen/book to get up and go. But this can snowball, and before you know it, a few days have passed, the cycle continues. I feel bad or sad, I don't want to workout, I feel bad or sad because I haven't been working out, on and on it goes. Instead, I almost always get up. I go. I make the choice. Those excuses may exist but I make myself take that time for me and there has NEVER been a time I regretted it. Literally there has NEVER been a time when I've left the gym and said, "Oh I wish I wouldn't have done that." I only say that when I don't go. And this can be applied to anything- getting up and going on a walk, putting in an exercise tape, whatever type of physical activity you can fit into your lifestyle.
In the end, only you can decide to make the healthy choice for you. And really, why wouldn't you? You deserve to feel the best you can be, you deserve to treat yourself to 30, 60 minutes a day where you can clear you head, focus your mind, and exercise your body. Even if it's taking a quick 20 minute stroll around the block, take that time. If you're a Mom, take the stroller and just go. Or during a nap, do some stretching or a video. And when you find a million reasons not to do it, silence those by thinking of the reasons you SHOULD do it. Replace the negative with the positive, replace the "why nots" with the "why I shoulds." And maybe you won't get up and go the first few times, but I promise, if you keep at it, and practice being in the positive, eventually you will get up, and that is literally the first step. "I'm way too tired to go on a jog" turns into "I should get up and go so I will have more energy in the long run." "I feel embarrassed to exercise in front of people at the gym" turns into "I'm going to go workout so I can feel more confident about my amazing self." "It's so hard to get started" becomes "If I don't start now, when will I ever?" Take the negative and spin it right into the positive. It gets easier everytime, and when a month has gone by and you've made more of an effort than you've ever made in the past, I promise you that the feeling you'll get when you look at yourself in the mirror and see a healthier, stronger you will be one of the best feelings in the world. Get it girl! And remember, you deserve it.