Remember how I mentioned I want to have the body of a Victoria’s Secret Angel (and you know the face & hair too)? Well after all my long runs and squats in October I finally do so let’s go back to binge eating Ben & Jerry’s shall we? I’m kidding of course…about the looking like a supermodel not the ice cream. I’m always pro binge eating ice cream which is maybe why I’ll never quite have the abs of an angel (that doesn’t mean I can’t try!).
I dedicated myself to working out five days a week for the month of October and much to my own surprise (is it wrong that I was betting against myself, oops) I succeeded! My body and mind have been feeling healthier than ever. Every day I crave running…not just as an outlet for my energy but primarily as an outlet for my mind. I’ve always been a fairly anxious person and while I’ve always been aware that exercise is a big anxiety reliever for me I still have pushed it aside. While I’m still not anxiety free I can vouch for being the least stressed and anxious I’ve been in as long as I can remember, and it’s a good feeling.
I’m not claiming to be a workout expert or a nutritionist (see above photo caption) but I thought I would share a few of the tips that have worked for me when it comes to health and fitness. As always you need to find what works for you which may not be the same thing that is best for me.
1. ROUTINE! ROUTINE! ROUTINE! I can’t stress the importance of incorporating exercise into your daily routine. I thrive off of structure and while I’m aware not everyone craves outlining each moment of their day with the proper activities I can promise that scheduling workouts into a regular routine makes you exponentially more likely to complete them. I started working out during my lunch breaks at work, now that it’s a habit I don’t think about skipping it…it’s just what I do around 12:30 each day.
2. Set Realistic Goals. I know this tip seems funny coming from the girl who claims she wants to look like a VS Angel but when it comes down to it I’m actually very realistic with myself. I don’t look in the mirror and cry because I don’t have Karlie Kloss’ abs. I set doable goals for myself (for example: run 5 times this week) and if I complete them I’m happy with myself. If I run five times in a week but don’t have a six pack I don’t feel guilty or disappointed, instead I focus on next week’s goals and how they can realistically get me closer to what I want.
3. Drink more Water. If you’re like the majority of Americans you aren’t drinking enough water. I’m basic so you know…I’m sipping Starbucks most days and not grabbing my water bottle until around noon when I realize I have a headache from too much caffeine. While it seems counter intuitive switching from coffee to water has actually given me more energy throughout the day leaving me more motivation to work out.
4. Find ways to incorporate fitness all day long. I work a desk job (and I’m sure many of you do too). Before my desk job I was a nanny. As I nanny I didn’t realize how lucky I was when it came to daily fitness, while I wasn’t working out, I was moving all day long (walking kids to school, jumping on the trampoline, playing at the park, etc). Now I stare at a computer all day long and it makes me antsy (not to mention it’s probably giving me cellulite). Finding little ways to move more throughout the day really does help. I take the stairs whenever possible, walk to ask a co-worker to ask questions (instead of calling/emailing), stand while working on a project at my desk occasionally, take 30 second breaks to do squats, etc. The little things seem trivial but they really do matter!!!
5. Stop being so easy on yourself. This seems like a totally negative tip but I mean it in a positive way. I used to get on the treadmill, run a mile and then do some sit ups and call it good. I’m not saying this a bad workout but it was a bad workout for me. I am a distance runner so running a mile wasn’t a challenge, it was an easy way to check off “working out” off my To-Do list. I feel so much more fulfilled after a workout if I find a way to challenge myself. Maybe that means running 5 miles, maybe that means 30 minutes on the stair machine, maybe that means running 1 mile as fast as I can and then killing my core with a Tone it Up video. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself off easy!
6.But don’t be too hard on yourself either. Some days you’re really not going to want to go to the gym, you’ll be sore, or have a headache or you’ll get in a fight with your boyfriend. Try to motivate yourself to go anyways but it’s okay to let yourself have an easy day or a rest day too! You won’t die by skipping a workout now and then.
7. Incorporate exercise when you can’t workout. When my Gatsby boy was visiting me I knew I wouldn’t be taking time away from him to go the gym (after not seeing him for 2 whole months I didn’t want to be away from him for a single second let alone an hour) but I also knew my body would be sad simply cuddling and watching movies for 5 days straight. So I did my best to stay active in other ways like taking my Gatsby boy to a ropes course (so challenging), dancing my but off at the ball and going on a run together. Working out doesn’t have to be a chore at the gym, you can make it part of everyday life.
8.Find a workout that your body loves. While I enjoy barre, pilates, kickboxing, yoga, etc. my body doesn’t crave them. Running is my go-to exercise and when I get in the habit of running my body literally craves it (I’m sort of an endorphin junkie). Different exercises work for different people. I HATE Zumba (and to be honest don’t really like hot yoga even though I do it occasionally) so if I depended only on Zumba and hot yoga classes as exercise I would DREAD it. I think a lot of people feel the same about running, yet…they try to force themselves to do it anyways. While running is a great cardio workout it isn’t effective if you never do it because you hate it so much! It’s better to find a workout you enjoy (and actually will do) even if it seems less “intense” or takes longer to see results.
9. Read fitness magazines when you’re traveling/at the gym/etc. Random tip but when I’m flying (which was fairly often before I came to Nova Scotia) I would always buy Shape/Self/Women’s Health before a flight. For whatever reason reading about fitness/health on the plane kept me from snacking on candy and sipping soda while sitting idly for hours. When I read fitness magazines at the gym not only does time pass faster but I am always motivated to workout for longer.
10. Commit yourself. Commitment makes failure that much more painful and therefore less likely (I don’t know if that’s a fact but that’s the way I like to think about it). Find a gym partner to hold you accountable or sign up for a race if you don’t know anyone that can workout on the same schedule as you. When you have someone or something to hold you accountable you are much less likely to quit…unless you’re a jerk who likes to blow off your friends (;
11. Dress up for the gym! If you’re like me, clothes are a big motivator for, well, just about anything. Investing in cute workout gear is a quick way to get excited about heading to the gym. I’m pretty obsessed with Lululemon (#LululemonOrDie)but cute workout gear doesn’t have to be expensive. You can find fun workout clothes at Forever 21, Aerie or hello the Lululemon outlet. Since I don’t really wear workout clothes outside of the gym much anymore, I actually start to feel guilty if I don’t workout (all my pretty clothes are going to waste). Maybe this weird lonely clothes guilt will work on you too?
12.When all else fails pretend you’re walking in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show. This is not a joke. When I’m on the treadmill and I want to motivate myself to run one more mile (or two…or three) I pretend that millions of people will be seeing me strutting around in my underwear next to Candice and Audrina. If your imagination isn’t as vivid as mine just imagine how great it will feel to slip into your New Year’s Dress (or work clothes or whatever) feeling strong and fit! There’s nothing like a cute little cocktail dress to motivate me to sweat a little bit.
Do you like to workout or is it something you dread? Tell me your best workout tips and favorite ways to sweat!