It’s work you know. Getting healthier, losing weight, increasing strength and mobility, rehabilitating an injury. As much as we may all want to take a pill, it’s just not how it goes. Results are achieved through consistent work. In fact that’s why they’re called workouts. Work (effort) + out (release) = working stuff out.
We put in time and effort in our careers and relationships we must also learn to put work into our health. Consistently. Moving more, making better food choices, managing rest and stress. Defining what self-care looks like for our-selves while adopting better habits. You may fall off track sometimes, it happens. But you have to get up and get back to it. It’s just how it is. If you don’t take care of you, who will?
If you stick with it you will wake up one day and notice that things are different. Your energy is better, you have less pain, pants are looser, you didn’t get winded when you ran to make a stop- light, your anxiety is down. All around you just FEEL better. Maybe, just maybe you’re starting to miss the gym on days you don’t go.
The sad truth is that many will give up before they ever get to the part where you start to notice these things. They stop before they discover how many amazing things the body can do and begin to experience the benefits of ongoing movement.
So how do you get through the hard parts?
1) Focus on Feelings
Lasting habits are built over time. Set longer timelines around weight loss goals to take some of the focus off the scale. Focus on how you feel, such as the loosening of clothes and increased confidence. The same goes for conditioning and rehab work, learn to differentiate pain from discomfort. Notice how much better you feel on the days you move. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally.
Nutrition? You bet. How do you feel after eating/drinking certain things? Lethargic? Bloated? Gassy? Begin to tune into these feelings and make adjustments based on that. These are all signs your body may not like certain foods and removing them from your diet it a good thing and can help to lower inflammation in the body.
Know when to take a rest day. Too much too soon can have us burning out before we’ve even made it through our first lap. If you’re always sore for days on end your training program or nutrition may be missing something. For most of us DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness – shouldn’t last for more than 2 days. Exceptions apply but if you feel like you are ALWAYS sore, it’s time to reevaluate things. If you aren’t already seeing one, seek out a trainer, coach and/or nutritionist and see what may be missing. Certain medical conditions can also contribute to this so getting a full check up is always a good idea but often these things can be fixed with the magic of quality movement, fuel and rest.
2) Remember your why
You set out on a health and fitness journey for a reason, what was it? In times of wanting to hit snooze on the gym session this is the thing that will get you going. Health scare? Injury? Vanity? The goal itself is unimportant but it must be enough to evoke strong emotions that get you moving and back on track. Use this to motivate you in your gym sessions and work hard!
I see so many people wasting their time in the gym and wondering why they aren’t seeing results. You showed up, which is half the battle (some may say more) now go to work. Consistency is key, but I’d be lying if I said intensity didn’t matter to some extent. Make sure you push yourself on the exercises that are appropriate for you, don’t cheat your reps and aim for fatigue (or close to) on your last reps. If it’s cardiovascular conditioning you’re working on, make sure your heart rate gets high enough (for your body) to see the benefits or your time and effort. Work hard, for YOU.
3) Invest in you.
Get on a good program, book a few sessions with a trainer to check form and customize a plan for you. It’ll boost your results and decrease your risk of over/under doing it on your own. Not to mention how good it feels to go in with a plan that is moving you forward vs doing a default 30 minutes of cardio at a pace that may or may not be getting you any closer to your goals. Gyms can be intimidating for some, having a plan and feeling confident in your movements takes some of that pressure off. Same goes for nutrition, proper fuel will make workouts more manageable with less soreness and better recovery. Wearables and apps are a great way of tracking daily stats, increasing accountability and encouraging us to move more.
Trust you WILL get there
Depending on your current habits and state of health, the initial changes may be drastic and it’s not going to be easy to adjust. You’ll be sore from workouts, sick of fish and poultry and wanting to skip class for happy hour. It’s going to take some discipline and effort on your part but keep going, with a plan that is appropriate for you, learning to tune into your body and some good old fashioned hard work, you WILL feel better and before you know it movement will become something you look forward to!