Tips for motivation and success
1. Create a Routine
Just as you wake up each morning, go to the bathroom and brush your teeth, make exercise become a part of your everyday routine. It can take the form of a few simple stretches after waking up, doing a brief body workout or a yoga session in the morning before starting your day; a run, a visit to the gym or doing a sport. Whatever you choose, try to do it at the same time of the day and turn this into a habit. For example, running every Saturday morning, doing an hour of Yoga every Thursday afternoon, and/or going to a Salsa class every Tuesday evening. Pick a few activities and plan your week to ensure that they are included – all that it’s left now is to start doing them!
2. Invite Others to Join You
Find a friend or a relative who enjoys fitness or sports and is also looking to improve their physical health or to simply maintain it. Invite them to go for a run in the park, to play a sport such as tennis, to visit the gym, or to attend a class together. Set a date and time, put it in your diary and once you have committed it will much more difficult to cancel as you have already arranged it and you wouldn’t want to disappoint them!
3. Eat a Balanced Diet
Yes, one of those obvious statements, but how many of us make enough effort to do this each day (not just every now and again)? Your body needs a variety of nutrients in order to function properly and to avoid deficiencies. Exercising is a great way to tone up and maintain a healthy weight, but without a good diet your efforts would be fruitless. Eat 3 main meals (small-medium portions) with small snacks in between. Do not punish yourself with strict diets that can only leave you feeling tired and even less motivated to exercise. The secret to success when it comes to eating is moderation! Include plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates. Visit the local markets or supermarkets and buy seasonal produce to be incorporated into your daily diet.
Cooking and meal preparation can be time-consuming and you may have a busy weekly schedule – so make a meal plan for the day or even the entire week (write it down) . This will also enable you to keep track of your food intake. Use the weekends to prepare the more time-consuming meals and then store them in the fridge or refrigerator for consumption during the rest of the week.
Do not exercise vigorously straight after a meal – allow for at least 2 hours.
3. Stay Hydrated
Remember to drink water. We are living organisms composed of living cells – each of which would not be able to survive without this solvent for life. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day including before and after a workout (and for longer sessions – during). Water contributes towards the detoxification of the body and helps in keeping you fresh, alert and more energetic. You just need to observe what happens to a plant which hasn’t been watered for a week to see how detrimental the effects of lack of adequate water can be. Water it well and it could come back to life once again!
4. Be Gentle on Yourself
If you are exercising to lose some weight or just to improve your overall physical health – start by setting yourself small and achievable goals. Only because others are running 10 or more kilometres a day (within pretty impressive times) or spending hours in the gym, doesn’t mean that you have to ask from your body to do the same after it hasn’t been trained properly for weeks, months or even years! Allow it to adjust by starting with shorter and easier workout sessions and gradually increase the length and intensity. Do not set yourself unrealistic expectations such as losing a certain amount of weight after just a week, as these can discourage you from working towards achieving a more realistic goal. Enjoy and focus on the process and take it one step at the time. The result may not always be immediately visible from the outside, but what matters the most is the effort that you are putting in and the way that you feel from the inside!
5. Reward Yourself for the Progress Made
Working out is great for the body and mind, but too much of anything can also be harmful. Do not obsess with exercise to the point where it affects you personal or professional life. It’s OK if one day you miss the opportunity to do your usual workout because, for example, you are invited to a social event by your friends. Do not push your body and try to train every single day. Your muscles need to recover after periods of intensive exercise. Reward your body for the hard work by allowing one or two days per week for rest. And while you are ‘off’ why not treat yourself to a shopping trip or a small non-food gift. You deserve it!