Overcoming Apathy in Your Fitness Routine

24 Feb

Hello, again!

So, I decided to mix up the order of things today and talk about ways to motivate yourself to exercise. First, let me tell you, I do not believe you need to be fat or unhealthy to exercise regularly and stay on a healthy diet. I am, as you may have noticed, a Christian and God has whispered to me that what I do with my body is a reflection of how grateful I am to him for what he has given me. Like the parable of the talents, I believe we are asked to work with what we have and to improve on our lives and others’  using our blessings. There are many references in the Bible, and especially the New Testament, about the sanctity of the body as God’s temple, including 1 Corinthians 6:12-20:

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful…I will not be brought under the power of any…Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!… Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at  a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Now, all of that basically means that your body is God’s and that we should honor it as his dwelling place, letting nothing rule our bodies. On top of this, I believe that when I vowed to my husband, “until death to us part,” that I was also promising to live as long as I possibly can and staying healthy is most definitely a part of that for me.

In the past few years, I’ve tried a variety of sports and exercise routines including running, martial arts, yoga, pilates, and more conventional gym routines like strength-training or aerobics. One thing I know, you need to truly enjoy what you do for exercise to stick with it. Don’t be afraid to try new things and stick with it as much as you can, but realize that if something makes you miserable or you get nauseous thinking about that activity, you need to find something that works for you. Exercise releases endorphins  and is meant to make you naturally happy and almost high-feeling. If your routine isn’t doing that for you, something is very wrong.

Once you’ve found something that you like, it’s still not always easy to motivate yourself to actually get up and do it. After all, there is that episode of the Housewives of [insert suburban city/state here], or there’s some book you need to finish reading, or maybe you really need to call your sister and catch up. Heck, you haven’t flossed in awhile! Trust me, I’ve come up with the dumbest reasons not to go to the gym so I can really speak from experience when I say you sometimes need to trick yourself into getting excited. Here are some things that help me:

1. Go shopping: After you’ve picked an activity that makes you moderately happy, take yourself shopping for clothes or equipment that you can use. Pick some cute shoes! Buy some awesome sports bras! Get that pink thigh-master or those teal resistance bands. Pick things that you really like to look at, things you think are exciting or cool and could work in your routine. Once you’ve bought it, you’ll be more likely to actually put it to use and it’ll help build enthusiasm, especially when that girl with the great guns on the treadmill beside you leans over and says, “Nice shoes! Where’d you get them?”

2. Put the things you’ve purchased in a place you look at everyday: Arrange them in cute ways, any way that pleases you to look at. I have a hot pink yoga mat that I keep sprawled behind the couch. It doesn’t matter that I don’t actually use it at home, I like to look at it and it reminds me, “Oh, yeah! I have that class tonight!” If you have equipment in the back of your closet somewhere, haul it out and put it on display.

3. Make a gym buddy: Whether it’s that girl from work or your trusty iPod, come up with a supporter. Maybe making a playlist helps keep you focused while your running the track and makes you feel less awkward. There could be someone you haven’t even thought about who’s been meaning to go to the gym more often too. Keep your mind open and look for possibilities.

4. Tell people about it!: Ever joined a gym, refused to go, and then had someone say, “hey, how’s that gym membership working out for you? Didn’t you join one a few months ago?” Well, I have! It’s a great motivator. No one wants to say, “yeah, but I’m so lazy I never go.” I’ve told people on purpose when I started a new routine, hoping that they would ask me about it later and I would be motivated to keep it up just so I wouldn’t have to feel embarrassed. Also, this may help you find that wonderful gym buddy.


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