Never Regret A Sweat
I exercise at least 5 days per week, if not more, whether it's spinning, yoga, or cardio and weights at the gym, I try to stay active, but I wasn't always so motivated.
For a majority of my life, I've been on the heavier side. It's something I've talked about previously, but never in great detail, because it's something I still have difficulty discussing. When I first started actively trying to lose weight and exercise more, I was frustrated with myself for how quickly I got winded and sweaty. I was anxious, nervous and didn't want to keep going. But I did.
Now, I thrive off of the high I feel after a good workout, and look forward to it as a way to start, break-up, or end my day. My current schedule allows me a decent amount of flexibility, so I have plenty of time to exercise, and it's almost always what I look forward to most during the day. No matter how tired I am, or how much I have to get done during the day, it's important to my mind, body, and spirit that my daily workout is completed.
I've tried writing down the feeling I get after a cathartic spin class, a grounding yoga practice, or an intense circuit at the gym, but I can't find the words. That indescribable natural high is what keeps me coming back. Even when I'm exhausted, slightly hungover (keeping it real!), or just plain lazy, I remind myself of this feeling, get up, and get moving.
Studies have shown it takes a minimum of three weeks, just a short 21 days, to form a habit. It's not easy, but it's 100% worth every breathless minute. Disclaimer, I'm not fitness expert, but the biggest mistake I see being made is trying to go full speed ahead. As in, going from zero to 100 real quick. While the enthusiasm is coming from the right place, instead, try something more doable, like exercising 3 times a week and cutting out a few processed items from your diet. For instance, my roommate Paul made the commitment that he would run 1 mile everyday once he turned 23. This goal for him was achievable with his schedule, and an easy commitment because he had a support system.
Here are a few ways that you can get and stay motivated:
-Have someone keep you accountable: When I decided to cut out dairy, and later meat from my diet, I told everyone I knew so I wouldn't be tempted if we were out to eat. Like in my above example with my roommate Paul, he knew that his girlfriend and I were cheering him on to go on his daily run, which (I hope!) is part of the reason that he's been going strong since September. Find your reliable support system and hold on tight.
-Find what works for you: Ironically enough, for the past two-and-a-half years, I've worked at a spa and fitness studio that heavily emphasizes their barre classes, and while there's no doubt they are effective, they're not my favorite. Spinning and yoga are the classes that work best for me and what I enjoy, so find what works for you, not what you think you should enjoy. If you like aerial yoga, pilates, kickboxing, whatever it is, do what makes you feel best. However, I fully believe that you should consistently try new things, so look out for new guest offers at local fitness studios to shake it up.
-Wear what makes you feel good: This may seem superficial, and maybe it is, but it's on the list anyway. I feel so much more motivated when I'm wearing something I feel great in, versus something I don't. If fitness is something you want to commit to, you'll want to invest in at least a high quality pair of leggings, sports bra, and sneakers that you feel great in to start.
-Make time to rest: I am definitely guilty of not resting and stretching enough, but I cannot stress how essential this is. Especially if you're exercising several times per week, it is key that you're nourishing your body with the best foods [see my pre and post workout snacks here], and treating your muscles to a deep stretch regularly [a few of my favorite moves are in this goop article].
-Get a fitness tracker: Even if you're not logging all of your food and exercise into it, this is a great way to see how much you're moving and sleeping everyday. My Fitbit Flex 2 is amazing, and I'm a little bit obsessed with getting the fun lights when I hit my step count, and the vibrations when a phone call comes in is another added bonus.
Photos by Madeline Rose Heising