It’s that time of year again. It’s cold, it’s windy, and occasionally icy. I don’t know about anyone else, but those three factors motivate me to do nothing more than buy more sweatpants, drink more Starbucks, and get to know my couch on a more personal level.
And sure — that’s all fine and dandy until you go to put on your favorite jeans and… oh no. No. How can this be? The bedazzled button has broken a sweat and the seams are stretching every fiber as far as they can. You swore you’d never let this happen again. But alas, the seemingly inevitable winter weight gain has happened. You begin to wonder: where did all that great motivation you had over the summer go? What happened to all your gym buddies? When was the last time you did something that got your heart rate up?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced those feelings, and you can’t help but wonder why it’s such a challenge to get moving during the winter. As a former college basketball player, I spent only my summers in the gym. I never had to give much thought to working out during the winter, because I was in season and stayed in shape with basketball. However, now that my basketball days are over, I’ve had to take on the challenge of not only getting motivated to work out, but stay motivated as well.
In order to get myself motivated, I did what any twenty something girl would do: I got on Pinterest and made myself a motivation board. This board is filled with countless workouts, clever motivational sayings, and some pictures of fitness models. After spending hours adding things to my board and reading all the “reasons to be fit,” I had a bit of an epiphany. I could pin away forever, but that was not going to actually get me out of my comfort zone and back in shape. Sure, it gave me ideas and the right words to get my adrenaline going — but that was all.
As I discovered this brutal reality, I came across this nugget of fitness gold:
Can you say wakeup call?
I started remembering all the reasons I loved being in shape. I felt better, my clothes looked better, and I had a sense of accomplishment knowing I was making myself better every time I worked out. The keyword being better. You have to remember why you want to be better. It could be any number of reasons or it could be just one. Whatever the reason, let it be the heart and soul of your motivation to become better.
So how do I get better, you ask? Here are a few tried and true tips that can help keep your fire fueled on those cold winter days:
1. Start a fitness challenge at work.
Despite the fact that most retail employees are on their feet all day, don’t think for a moment that means we are in good physical shape. My co-workers and I often find ourselves exhausted at the end of a long shift and recently we decided it’s due to the unhealthy, lazy lifestyle we’ve all fallen in to. So as a group, we decided we wanted to get better — so we are doing a fitness challenge together.
We all weighed in, set our goals, and put some cash in a jar. We set a deadline a few months from now and whoever has the highest percentage of weight loss will win the money. Having other people around you with similar goals is a great way to help keep you on track to becoming a better you!
2. Set up a rewards system.
Oftentimes, people who jump on the New Year’s weight loss band wagon find ways to reward themselves after a trip to the gym. Sorry to burst anybody’s bubble, but you are not a dog. DO NOT reward yourself with food. The less frequently you reward yourself, the more of a reward it actually becomes. Set yourself a few goals and once you reach them, treat yourself to something useful. Whether it’s new work out clothes or a therapeutic massage, keep in mind you should reward yourself with something that will keep you on track to becoming better.
3. Music, Music, Music!
By now we’re all tired of hearing those Christmas songs and other music that make us think of the chill of winter. Mensfitness.com suggests a music update that doesn’t include any of those dreary old songs. Music really can make or break a workout. Choose songs that get your adrenaline going and make you want to keep moving. The more pumped up you are, the more likely you are to work harder. The harder you work, the better you’ll get.
One of my favorite quotes I’ve ever heard is this: “you can’t live a positive life thinking and saying negative things.”
Part of staying motivated is not only challenging yourself physically, but mentally. Your body will tell you a million times that you can’t do something (and it’s easy to give into that negative thought pattern(. But when you push past that voice and do what you think you can’t, the sense of accomplishment is exhilarating. Get yourself in the right frame of mind to become better.
Now that you’ve got some different ideas, I encourage you to put them to use. Get yourself in a routine and stick with it. Be sure to set some attainable goals along the way, and sign up for some local events to measure your progress and break up any monotony. Do your research and try different routines until you find what suits you best. Once you see progress, it truly becomes addictive.
And remember to not take progress as a sign to slow down and relax. Perhaps Tim Duncan said it best: “Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best.”
I hope you find something here that inspires you to become a better you! Best of luck and may the fitness odds be ever in your favor!
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