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I LOVE the post workout feeling, the feeling that you've got moving, the pumping endorphins, the sweat, maybe you've achieved something you never have before or just simply FEEL better mentally. There are so many reasons to exercise, there are so many benefits.
A regular question or statement I get from people is 'I don't know where to start'. I want to do it but so many things are happening and they are stopping me. Yes, there are so many barriers to fitness, just like anything in life. If we constantly turn around as we hit barriers though we will never get anywhere. You know this already!
The subject of motivation and barriers to fitness is constantly on my mind as an instructor as I want to motivate people to come along to my classes or sign up to my online classes. It is my business as well as my belief that the more people MOVE the better they feel.
A colleague of mine stated the other day they had done some exercise for the first time in months the day before and they woke up feeling fantastic. There it is right there. Proof! I am certain many people have said this themselves hundreds of times but never kept at it as regularly as they should/could have to continue to feel great.
So, what is it that stops people? Most likely over thinking.
I am a chronic over thinker in life but with fitness for some reason I don't overthink! I am slowly picking up on ways I think about fitness and transferring these thoughts over into life. I am also a big procrastinator. I will put something off if I am uncertain how to do it. I will clear out every drawer in the house before beginning admin that is actually incredibly important to the running of my business and what helps me to earn a living,
I have been reading and listening to some books lately on this subject purely for my own interest. But I am going to translate it into fitness. I have come across two ways recently to tackle 'motivation'. They are really thought provoking and having a positive and productive impact on my life already.
1- The 'Do Something' theory (taken from 'The Subtle Art of not Giving a F***', Mark Manson)
2- Lego block life (taken from an audio book, 'Take Control of your Life', Mel Robbins)
Both are worth a read and a listen! If anything they are hugely thought provoking.
Lets unravel these....
The “Do Something” Theory
This theory can be converted into anything again but as this is a fitness page let’s do a fitness version.
This theory is very similar to what we discussed in my previous blog (below this one) in the fact that we shouldn't be looking at the entire end goal or life picture as we imagine it to be once we achieve what we want to achieve. Yes, have the goal in mind but don't overwhelm ourselves into rushing and achieving it straight away. It can seem like an impossible task if we do and we are more likely to give up before we've got going.
Imagine you want to be able to run 5km having not ran in 20 years. You would never just go out and expect to run 2km never mind 5km when you start. You would go steadily. I would advise personally to start with simple 1min running, 1 min walking and so on. The couch to 5km plan is readily available to anyone and everyone, give that a go if running is your goal.
Many people approach me about losing weight but they lack the motivation. Reiterating what I said in the previous blog; sometimes (most times) motivation will not just happen. We need to physically get out first and eventually motivation will then find us. With the 'Do Something' theory it it is suggested to instead of focus on the 'losing weight' aspect, focus on what you need to do to get there - the small steps. Just “do something” active every day... gradually being more active will be a part of your life, you will start to feel mentally better, more motivation and as long as you have the right intake of calories and generally a great nutritional diet you will naturally lose excess weight. The weight shouldn't be the focus though. The focus should be just simply on doing something towards feeling better.
Whilst I am on the subject of making healthier choices in life; these aren't all about absolutely destroying yourself in every gym session and starving yourself into loosing weight. Healthier choices are subtle things such as taking stairs instead of the elevator, walking instead of driving, going for morning/lunch/evening strolls, finding activities where you raise your heart rate that you enjoy and just enjoying the process to a healthier you. Just doing “something”. Making healthier choices nutrition wise is thinking of foods as nutrients and which nutrients your body needs. Don’t look at foods as “bad” just accept they’re less nutrient dense than others. Remember our bodies need more nutrient dense food than the less to function efficiently. Just do “something”, just add in the fruits and vegetables slowly. If you currently have one portion of vegetables a day, look at putting that up to two... then next week up to three. Just 'Do Something' gradually.
Lego Block Life
Before I start to unravel the lego theory, if you have a busy life audio-books are an absolute godsend! I just put it on when I go out in the car, if I am warming up/cooling down for a workout or even just out walking. I have managed to get through a 9 hour audio-book in less than 2 weeks. It takes me around 2 months to read the equivalent!
I have never come across Mel Robbins before last week and I am so glad I have now. I have taken a few things away from this book. The lego blocks are a fantastic analogy to motivating and taking control of life.
The theory suggests that you can take control of your fear by thinking of your life as pieces of lego. All different sizes, colours and shapes. Bits of lego can fit randomly together and can form different shapes by connecting bits together. A large shape of lego, for example a house could be that goal to run 5km and improve general fitness levels after not running for 20 years. Instead of jumping straight to the final model of the house you have to piece it together brick by brick. Each brick is measured success:
First brick - setting a 5000 step per day count (although a brick before this could be to buy a fitness watch/step counter of some sort).
Next brick - increase the step count to 6000
Next brick - Learn about calories and nutrients
Next brick - join a fitness class once a week
Next brick - Ask a friend to join with you at the gym or get a PT or join 'Anytime, Anywhere Fitness' (had to get it in somewhere ;) )
The bricks go on and on and on. There's no set time for each brick but try to ensure each brick is in place before you start on the next brick. You could be building a number of different lego houses at once just don't go too crazy. Each brick is measured. You know you've hit the 5000 steps because you have a watch that has told you. You know you've joined my group because you're in there. Don't set goals like 'get active'. Be specific. And, be proud of every brick you put down. Don't put a time limit on this. A time limit is unwanted pressure. Enjoy the process of each brick.
You can see how that can relate to life. For example when I wanted to re-train as a PE teacher. My first brick was to do some work experience to see if I really wanted to be a PE teacher. Then I spoke to a lot of people about it, looked into courses, had to sort childcare for Georgie, made sure my husband wasn't being posted whilst I trained, ensured we had enough money for it, applied, completed (LOTS of bricks at this stage!) and so on.....
So, there you go. Two thought provoking theories on fear and motivation. What are your thoughts? Do you have any more theories that can help people? Feel free to use the comments section below to discuss.
PT, Teacher and Mum. Currently living in South East Asia. Thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do.