Finding Your Motivation to Move – Part 2

by Melissa Koerner | September 19th, 2012 | Fitness Expert

This is the second installment in a two part series from Melissa.

Revamp Your Goals

Setting goals is very important when you embark on a journey to improve your health and fitness, but setting goals that are weight-focused will inevitably lead to a pattern of on again off again exercise habits.  Simply saying, “I want to lose 10 pounds” is too broad of a goal and only leads to frustration and failure.

Instead of obsessing about your weight and the scale, shift your focus to the benefits of exercise, and make exercise part of your lifestyle as opposed to a temporary means to an end.

Start by setting very simple and specific goals or action steps to help you get fit.  For example, you could set the goal to walk for 20 minutes three days per week and/or do some resistance training for 30 minutes for two to three days per week.  You could take it a step further and even schedule your exercises on specific days—this is what I do with my exercise routine.  I find that when I pencil my exercises into my schedule I’m more apt to stick with them.

Keep in mind that using the scale to measure physical progress following a resistance-training program can be very deceptive and demotivating.  Here’s why: As you build some lean muscle and increase your strength, your scale weight may actually go up.  I’ve had a number of clients get upset when they weigh themselves after following a strength-training program, because their scale weight increases, and they think they’re getting fatter!  But the reality is, when you build lean muscle your body fat goes down, and so does the size of your pants!  So instead of focusing all of your attention on your ideal weight, focus on the action steps that going to help you get there.

Ease into Exercise

When you’re eager to start your new exercise routine, it’s easy to jump into it going full throttle, but this balls to the wall mind-set will likely lead to set back; in my experience, I find that people either get hurt or quickly lose steam or both.

Despite what you see on the The Biggest Loser, pushing yourself to the point of nearly passing out is not only ineffective in the long run, but it’s dangerous.  When I worked as a personal trainer at a gym, I couldn’t tell you how many times I saw people with this mind-set set themselves up to fail, because they often saw little to no results, and more often than not, they got injured.  And what happens when you don’t see results or you get injured exercising?  You stop!  Am I right?

You must remember that exercise is a stress to your body and depending on how much stress your body is already under, engaging in a rigorous exercise program may actually do more harm than good, because you’re adding to your existing stress load.  You are better off starting slow, keeping your exercises simple, and gradually increasing your training volume, intensity and frequency over time.

For example, if you have a fair amount of stress in your life, you might start with light exercises like walking, stretching, and doing energizing exercises or light yoga two to three days per week. After a period of four to six weeks, you could gradually increase the amount and intensity of your exercises and possibly add another training day.

Whenever you’re following an exercise program, you want to make sure that you give your body a chance to recover.  Taking a day or two “off” each week and alternating intense periods of exercise with light periods of exercise is absolutely necessary for growth and repair.  When you take a day “off” that doesn’t mean that you don’t exercise at all—you could simply take some time to stretch or perform energizing exercises, which actually create energy as opposed to expend it.   Your body uses resting periods to rebuild itself, regain strength, and restore energy both physically and mentally, so you don’t get hurt or burnout, and you do get the results you want.  So, to make the most of your exercise routine, you must make time to rest!

 Change Gears

There’s a great saying change nothing and nothing changes!  Well, this is true with exercise.  If you expect to see changes in your body, then your body needs to see changes in your exercises!

Many people tend to go on exercise kicks where they do the same form of exercise over and over until they get bored—both mentally and physically—and eventually they just stop exercising all together!  That is until the latest exercise trend grabs their interest and sparks their motivation to move again!

Instead of just doing one kind of exercise, spice up your routine with a variety of different ways to move your body, and use your muscles.  You must rotate your exercises so that your body doesn’t get bored and hit a plateau.  Here’s what I do to keep my body guessing:  I strength train at the gym three days per week; I do energizing exercises two to three days per week at home; and I do interval training two to three days per week outside.  I change up my exercise routines every four weeks to keep my body guessing!

To finding your motivation to move,

Melissa  Koerner

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.