Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Pep Talk

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By nature I love to exercise and workout, but like anyone there are those days that I just really, really don't want to. Here's the deal with me though: I rely on exercise and physical activity to make me feel happy and snap me out of any funk I get into. It may sound weird, but without regular workout sessions I start to feel down, lose energy, and feel listless and somewhat depressed. I need to move my body in order to feel good, so I know that on those days when all I want to do is stay in bed and lounge around, are the days I most need to get up and go!

The other night I was in the middle of a writing project. I already had my pajamas on, and I suddenly realized that because of Hank's band practice, I wouldn't be able to get to the gym the following day. That night was my only chance to get a good workout in, and if I didn't go then I probably wouldn't be able to go until the day after next. Ugh. So I sat there for awhile thinking about it, so comfy in our big downy blankets, surrounded by pillows and sipping some tea- so relaxed, my hair up, listening to the easy listening station on Pandora (okay I made that last part up).  But really, I just wasn't in the mood.

Guess what though? I went. I gave myself my usual pep talk, the talk that almost always gets me out of my lazy mood and into my motivation zone, laced up my sneakers and headed out the door. I knew that I'd be happier going than not going, and on my way to the gym I thought about how I should share a bit of my little pep talks here with all of you. If you're anything like me, any bit of motivation is always a good thing.

So here's a little of it:

First of all, I run the whole picture through in my mind. I think about how comfortable I am. How easy it would be to just lay in bed, stay on the couch, whatever. I think about how nice it is to just watch television or play online. But then I think about the next day and how disappointed in myself I'd be that I didn't take advantage of my time and just go. I think about going. I imagine myself lacing up my shoes, heading out the door, walking into the gym. I picture myself doing cardio, zoning out for a good hour, listening to good music. Lifting weights, doing ab exercises. And then finally, I visualize myself leaving the gym. Walking out those doors after a hard workout, feeling on top of the world because I accomplished something.  I'm sure you know that feeling. If you workout first thing in the morning (my personal preference) you are so ready to start your day and it totally sets you up for success. I picture that in my mind, and most often than not knowing how I will feel afterward totally inspires me to head to the gym or out for run or walk.

I also try to think of the gym as a treat. And to me, it is. I love being home with Hank and Henry whenever possible, but having a couple hours to myself to listen to music and just be is the best. I always come home so recharged and ready to be a better wife and Mom. Plus, no one wants a cranky lady filling up the house with her negativity, and if I don't get some exercise time in you can bet that's exactly what happens. Sometimes when I'm in the laziest of lazy moods I'll tell myself that I'll just go for 20 minutes. And at the end of the 20 minutes I promise myself that I can get right off of the machine and head home, and get back to whatever I was doing. I don't think there's every been a time I've only stayed for twenty minutes and then left, because whenever I get myself going I don't usually want to stop.

Most of all though I really try and think of time spent exercising- be it outside on a walk, at the gym, or even in front of the television via workout video- as me time. And we all need me time. I think it's so important to not view it as punishment or something to dread, but as something to look forward to, because you know how great you'll feel about yourself when you're done. And like I said above, play that whole picture through your mind- remember how fantastic you will feel when you're done, and focus on that. After you take that first step out of the door it gets a whole lot easier.

Some quick things that help me stay motivated:

1. Work out first thing in the morning. I love getting my exercise in and over with before most people are even awake, and this way nothing can get in the way of it, including my tired self at the end of the day. And because I need to go at 5am in order to be home before Hank and Henry wake up, I sleep in my workout clothes (sports bra and all), and keep my shoes right next to the bed. When my alarm goes off at 4:45am I have that "nooooo" moment, but then I realize I'm already dressed and my shoes are right there. It's too easy not to go. And once your shoes are on, you're good.

2. Break it up throughout the day. It can be hard to get a solid hour or two to workout if you work long hours or are someone who has a family to take care of or friends to spend time with. Plus, gym memberships can be expensive and it's not for everyone. Try taking a 20 minutes walk at lunch, and then doing some exercises to a video for 20 minutes in the evening. Be open-minded and fit it in wherever you can. If that means doing crunches, squats and jumping jacks during commercial breaks for The Bachelor, then by all means, do it!

3. Just go on a walk. I think about this a lot. Sometimes I'll find myself not wanting like going to the gym because I don't want to see anyone I know or I just plain don't feel like it. In a mood like that, DVDs probably sound totally unappealing and I couldn't imagine doing that silly Tae Bo workout again. Those are the days I lace up my sneakers, put Henry in his stroller, and walk for an hour or so. It feels so good to get outside and it always clears my head to get some fresh air. Stop making excuses of why you don't want to do this or that, and just go on a walk. It's the easiest thing, and it's something that always makes me feel better when I'm done.

4. Have a motivation buddy. My Mom is mine. Whenever I don't feel like working out I call her and more than likely whine about how I feel so "blah" and don't feel like going to the gym. Every time she says something along the lines of "but think about how great you'll feel when you're done! I say go. Seriously." And it pushes me right out the door. Make a deal with a friend that you will call or text them when you're feeling unmotivated, and have them motivate you! Do the same for them. And I'd give you my Mom's number, but I don't think she'd like that very much. ;)

5. This site. Some of it is silly and a few of the photos they use are a little intense for me, but I love it all the same. Awesome, awesome site for fitness motivation and it's as simple as a few clicks to get in the right frame of mind.

Do you have anything that helps you stay motivated? I'd love to add it to my bag of tricks so feel free to share below. Happy exercising! xoxo

44 comments:

  1. this is all so true. i can totally relate. and the quote on the picture says it all. the satisfaction after a workout is so much more rewarding that being in bed watching tv and all it takes is an hour of your day.

    --mila
    milathinksthisthat.blogspot.com

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  2. I was literally just making plans to get up tomorrow morning and work out and trying to talk myself into committing to it for the whole week (baby steps here!). I loved reading your post...very motivating!

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  3. Great post! Im not an athletic (in the VERY least) but I do always feel good after doing something to move my body. I cringe at the thought of gyms, really, but thats not to say I dont love long walks, hikes, dancing etc. What would you recommend for a pregnancy routine? Besides running around with my 2 year old lol. Thats pretty intense!

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  4. I actually just started being a "serious" gym goer over these last few months. My friends that aren't even in the same town would tweet each other for motivation and it really helped! I went I'm first run today in the brisk air and oh my goodness, I get why its so addicting! Total runner high. My thighs are so sore but feel so great! :) Thanks so much for sharing your motivation!

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  5. really great post! i struggle with getting myself motivated, and i have never thought of using visualization as a tool before. i will definitely try this out! thanks for sharing!

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  6. i ran for the first time in months yesterday. i was angry and needed to 1. be out of the house and 2. let off steam. it felt amazing. your tips are good, especially just getting the baby in the stroller and walking for an hour. on my blog i started keeping track of my running/walking (yesterday's entry only so far) and i'm trying to do at least one mile for something or someone. my first was for my friend that motivates me :) but i already have a list of other things i'm going to "run in the name of." thanks for the add'l inspiration to keep it up!!!

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  7. Great post! I know that getting it out of the way first thing in the morning is the best way to do it, so that's one of my goals this month. I feel so much better not only physically but mentally and emotionally.

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  8. I NEED to workout in order to feel good! :) I feel less, more creative, and overall a much happier and joyful person! THis past week, work has been nuts. I finally got the opportunity to go yesterday and it was the best I felt all week! :)

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  9. I hate working out... I do it, but I hate it. But what I LOVE is how I feel after... and that's how I get through the awful workouts :)

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  10. Danielle, thank you so much for this post!! I always talk myself out of going to the gym, and I'm always unhappy about it. I need to just get up and go! This post was very motivational. Thank you. <3

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  11. this is exactly the motivation i've been needing. i was pretty good at maintaining a work out regimen over the summer, then something happened and it all fell through. i just turned 25 and one of the things i promised myself was that i would take responsibility for myself, including my mental and physical health. squeezing in that time to work out for even 20 minutes leads to a great workout that otherwise would've never happened.

    thank you for this post danielle!

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  12. Thanks for the tips! I've been in a blah mode for the last couple of weeks, but this is definitely an encouragement---I'm going to try this out tomorrow :)

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  13. I have been wanting (and planning but no doing) to get back in shape after I had my baby...it's been 8 months! it's hard to get away but youre very right, it's worth it and you feel wonderful afterwards. thanks :)
    Smoking Crayolas Blogspot

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  14. I teach dance, so getting PAID to work out is a pretty big motivation! I don't have room for a lot of exercise equipment anymore so I bought one of those mini bike pedalers and a small stepping "machine" which both sit very small and tiny in my closet when I'm not using them. The price of both together was the cost of one month of gym membership, so I like to use them while I watch a show with my husband a few nights a week. =]

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  15. I love this! Working out has always been hard for me. When I do it (especially running) I LOVE it and feel so great, but for some reason I find it SO HARD to stay motivated. It doesn't make any sense at all to me, maybe I'm lacking in the willpower department? Anyways, it's helpful to hear what helps keep people like you (who stick with it) motivated.

    Thanks for the inspiration! :)

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  16. SO relatable! If I dont work out regularly i start to feel down in the dumps and so unmotivated! Its so crazy how much of a difference a little bit of exercise can make! :) Great Post

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  17. Such a motivational post! I've been finding it harder to motivate myself since the mornings and evenings have started getting darker but this week I'm going to try to focus on how good I'll feel after a workout and stop making excuses to stay inside. x

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  18. Great post, I started going to the gym about 2 months ago from doing no exercise at all to now going 5x a week. For me I found that if I viewed it as something as important and integral to my well-being as something simple as eating breakfast, lunch and dinner every day then it helps.

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  19. you've encouraged me to workout a little today - thank you , i needed this! ♥

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  20. I LOVE working out. First thing in the morning, preferably. You're right. It totally sets the tone for the rest of the day.

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  21. I am the exact same way. If I have more than one rest day in a row, I'm most likely going to be in a funk that is a pain to get out of. I really enjoy exercising but there are some days that are just long and tiresome, but in the end, even if I just got for a nice relaxing walk with the pup, I feel at least a little bit recharged. Just on Saturday I was SO tired in the morning, but I forced myself to head to spin class for the first time in six months and I was NOT sorry. :)

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  22. Can you come live at my house and motivate me please? I am the queen of playing mindgames with myself so I always find an excuse not to go, or to leave the gym early (haha). But you're right that I always feel so much better after I've done it. I love the idea of sleeping in your gym clothes...I should check out what time our gym opens.

    #mostramblingcommentever

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  23. Great post! I seem to be in the same place.. not sure if I would have gotten off the couch after being so cozy though! Good for you!! BTW- I'm a new reader- your baby is adorable. I've always loved the name Henry :)

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  24. I totally admire your commitment to exercise! I go through phases of not working out at all for MONTHS, to a phase where I worked at the gym and I'd get off work and work out for two hours. Before our wedding last month, I'd go for a 2-3 mile walk pretty much everyday. Where my parents live there are a lot of hills and it's so pretty so it was a great work out that I didn't mind. We walked EVERYWHERE on our honeymoon the Mexico which is why I believe I came back without gaining a pound with all the great food we ate. But once we got back I was in a funk. Still am. I'm from southern California and this is my first full winter in the mountains and it's cold and gloomy and way too cozy inside/in my bed. I love it, but winter brings terrible resistance to working out!

    So my motivation is similar to yours, the way I'll feel AFTER I'm done. My other way to motivate myself is to relate it to time spent doing other things. "What? You can sit online for an hour doing a whole lot of nothing, but you can't even get off your butt to work out for even half an hour?" Or sometimes I bring out the math skills, "There are 24 hours in a day and if you spend 1 hour exercising, that's less than 5% of your day."

    Sorry for the long comment, but motivation is something I've been working on lately.

    Great post, Danielle!

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  25. great post! Ever since I started working out in the morning, I've realized how good it feels to start the day that way! Regular exercise, for me, has SUCH an immense impact on my state of mind and body throughout the work day.

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  26. I am bookmarking this post and remembering to read it everyday! haha! Thank you so much for your encouragement and ideas on how to stay motivated! I am the worst at talking myself out of exercising! This post really helped a lot! Thank you!! :)

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  27. after being on a good working out kick, i let it go by the wayside. but i'm trying to get back on the working out again. this post last night really helped me get outta bed this morning to get my workout in!

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  28. Busted! I read this post about ten minutes after my husband and I had decided to skip our workout since we're in the middle of packing our apartment up for a move. Then, after reading your post, we didn't skip it. So thanks! Your words that you'll always regret skipping it and never regret doing it stick with me! And you were right, we did not regret doing it!

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  29. I just wanted to say "Thank you" for this post. I have been a reader for a few months now, and I find your blog to be a daily delight. I was drawn here by your Tattoo Tuesday column, and have stayed on reading daily.

    Your pep talk post was a great inspiration to me, and I thank you. - Janelle

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  30. I would love to understand the real reason why so many of us really really do not want to go workout, and have to talk ourselves into it. Seems like a somewhat unhealthy attitude; a cycle of punishment and reward. I gave up going to the gym when I realised that although I loved the feeling of having done something 'good' for myself afterwards, the fact that I did not get excited about going felt really really wrong...like I was out of line with something 'deep' inside me that just didn't want to go. So, I hunted around and eventually found a way to exercise that I actually get really really excited about regardless of how tired or otherwise I feel...and now I'm in better shape than ever. There's no 'talking myself into it'. All the energy feels good!

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  31. Thanks for the "Sleep in your workout clothes tip," working out in the morning really gets me pumped for the day. I just have to get my butt from under those warm covers :)

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  32. Thank you for this! I needed a little (big) push in the right direction!

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  33. Thank you so much for this post, Danielle. I love your attitude towards fitness and the way you put this was truly inspiring! I've been going to the gym regularly for two months now, which is a pretty massive deal for me.

    I'm not athletic in the least and for most of my life thought I was allergic to exercise (hah! ;)) but now I LOVE it. I never thought I would say this, but there is nothing quite like the feeling of exhilaration after a really tough workout - even if it sometimes kills at the time. Thank you for the reminder, and on the days I find myself lacking motivation, I will surely think of you and this post. :)

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  34. Danielle, I have to tell you-this post has helped me sooo much. I've been working really hard this last month publishing my first book and spending all kinds of time sitting behind a computer and no time on me. I'm really bummed about it! But I read your post and I'm inspired! I'm sleeping in my yoga pants tonight and hitting the gym as soon as my feet hit the ground in the morning. Thanks to you, I'm done with the excuses! xox Diana

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  35. Hi there! I actually just wrote a post on my blog about what I am about to tell you. I have started using my time working out to also worship. I throw on some worship music and tune out the world. When I leave the gym I leave feeling amazing body AND soul. Knowing that I am spending some time on myself and some time with God motivates me :)

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  37. ok, i really love and hate this post. Love because it said all the right things I wanted to hear, and hate because it said all the right things I needed to hear, ha!

    I'm going to move my elliptical from the garage to the unused guest room this week. I always use the excuse that it's cold and creepy in there (it's not at all, it just has bad wifi signal).

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  38. prohormones really helped my work out feel satisfying. I saw results and it helped motivate me.

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