- In Weight Loss Challenge
By: Hannah Purbe, Sporting Club Director of Group Fitness & Personal Training
Although our Challenge is coming to an end, the commitment towards good health lasts a lifetime. Staying consistently on track can often be a struggle even for personal trainers and health coaches, but don’t be discouraged as the rewards are truly worth it. Here are some tips to help you stay focused and motivated:
Remember Why You Started
What is your motivation to exercise? Is it to lose weight? Reduce the risk of disease? Maintain muscle growth? Or stay healthy for your kids?
Always keep in mind what got you moving in the first place. Your motivation can change and develop over time but there should always be a “why” to get you off the couch and out the door. Write your motivations down and leave them someplace where you can see them as a constant reminder of what is driving you to stay fit. For me, I changed my “why” from being able to fit into my skinny jeans to being able to stay healthy and play soccer with my son. This shift makes it easier for me to stay motivated.
Find a Tribe
We, by nature, are social beings. That’s why exercise is so much more fun when you do it with someone else. The high fives, the friendly rivalries and the positive encouragement can make exercise something you look forward to rather than dread. Also, when you don’t show up, your friends will be sure to keep you accountable.
These days there are many group fitness classes and training groups available. Explore options such as running clubs, cycling groups, basketball/soccer pick up games, walking clubs, swimming classes, Zumba and the list goes on and on. All you have to do is find the activity and the group of people that works best for you.
Vary Your Exercises
No one likes going into the gym and doing the same thing over and over again. A great way to stay motivated is to do a variety of activities instead of the same old boring one. This could mean changing up the gym equipment and machines you use or focusing on different muscle groups on different days. Many find it helpful to incorporate a wide range of activities into their lifestyle such as golfing, hiking and playing tennis.
The activity doesn’t matter as much as the simple fact that you’re moving and doing so in a variety of different ways. If you aren’t sure how to get started, Power and Total Body classes are good options to get you started.
Do Things You Enjoy
It’s a lot easier to exercise when it doesn’t feel like “exercise” but rather, just plain old fun. Find something that you enjoy doing, period. For me, it’s soccer. I can play pickup games for hours on end and not think twice about how tired I am. Personally, soccer is pure enjoyment, so the physiological benefits are simply a bonus. I also love walking in the woods which serves as both exercise and a great way to relieve stress. Add in a good podcast and I can walk for hours.
You might enjoy rock climbing, racquetball, golfing, badminton, ultimate Frisbee or any other sport or activity. You don’t necessarily have to do it 3 to 5 times a week but doing something you enjoy can reinvigorate your motivation to be in good shape.
Watch the Connection Between Food and Stress
As trainers, we tell our clients that 80% of your results comes from the kitchen in terms of what you eat. Emotional or stress eating can be a huge factor in taking us off course to good health. The main thing to ask yourself is, “Are you eating to satisfy your emotions or to satisfy your hunger?”
Emotional eating may bring us temporary comfort, but the physical repercussions are anything but comforting. It can lead to weight gain, low energy and fatigue, eating disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health risks.
Instead of reaching for the comfort food, try to find stress relief through a positive activity such as going for a walk, talking to a friend, cuddling with your pet. Or if you need to grab a snack, go with a healthy option. Foods containing vitamins, magnesium, fiber and omega-3s will boost your mood and support good health. The following categories contain top foods with a high amount of benefits:
Magnesium: Whole wheat, spinach, quinoa, nuts, black beans, edamame, avocado
B6 Vitamin: Non-GMO Soy Products, bananas, watermelon, peanut butter, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, pistachios, figs, nutritional yeast
Omega – 3s: Seaweed, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, edamame, kidney beans
Set Long and Short-Term Goals
Beyond simply having a reason to exercise, it is also important to set goals along the way. Write your goals down and keep them close by as a constant reminder. Remember to do both long-term goals such as losing 20 pounds, and short-term goals to get you there such as exercising for 30 minutes per day, five days per week. Another short-term goal might be to lose one pound per week or substituting comfort food with one of the healthier options listed above.
Intermediate goals are also very helpful because they help you see bright spots along the journey towards your long-term goal. For example, my long-term goal is to do 20 consecutive push-ups and my short-term goal is to add 1 to 2 each week until I hit my target. Although I am currently a long way from my long-term goal, I continue to build hope each week as I get closer and closer.
Are you now feeling motivated to stay motivated? Let our Challenge be just the start to a lifetime of positive changes, good health and fun!