4/22/2013

GIVING UP ALREADY? STAYING MOTIVATED TO EXERCISE

It is common to see people giving up after a failed attempt. It could be a failed attempt at a dream job, business idea, relationship, etc. Similarly, people give up exercising when they see little or no result. Let’s take Sharon, my fictional character, for example. Sharon was told by cousin Jade that she could lose weight in three months. Sharon is excited, she joins cousin Jade to the gym and without a thought registers for six months gym membership. Sharon workouts on all the equipment, she joins all the group exercise programs offered at the gym, in fact, Sharon is now feeling quite sexy and slim. Three months later, Sharon anxiously gets on the scale and discovers she’s lost only 1KG! “What!” she screams, “but Jade lost 5kg”. 

Does Sharon remind you of yourself? Most people usually set unrealistic targets when registering for a fitness program. How do you intend to lose weight gained over two years in one month! Secondly, if your body type is that of an endomorph and losing weight is more of a challenge than gaining, then you can’t expect to lose weight as fast as a Mesomorph who tends to lose weight more easily. 

Giving up is never the right answer, the next time you feel discouraged and consider quitting your workout plan, remember some of the following tips to keep you motivated: 
  • Find a personal reason to lose weight/ stay fit. It could be an event, e.g. attending an alumni reunion (you don’t want your old mates referring to you as “granny”), it could be your wedding or a friend’s wedding, awards night, beach vacation, etc. For me, my career is a motivation to stay fit and healthy. 
  • Set reasonable goals. Do not try to achieve too much in too little time. Always remember to ask yourself if what you are trying to accomplish is reasonable. 
  • Change your mind-set: rather than exercise to lose weight, exercise to stay healthy. That way you do not see it as a chore. It becomes a lifestyle. 
  • Surround yourself with positive people: you probably would not go far on your fitness journey, if everyone around you is negligent about theirs. 
  • Find an exercise partner: two is better than one. If your friends are not interested in exercising, you could make one or two new friends at the gym who would call you whenever you are absent. 
  • Avoid the lure of quick fixes. For example “drink this juice and lose weight in three days”. Avoid extreme diet plans, you’d probably gain triple the weight when it’s over. 
  • Create a vision: If your goal is to lose weight, create a mental picture of yourself having already achieved it. What you will look like, feel like, and move like when you have accomplished that goal. Living as if you are already there makes realizing your vision something you focus on daily. 
  • Spice up your workout program: The problem may be your choice of exercise. I can’t last on the treadmill for more than 10 minutes because I find it boring, but I can zumba/dance for hours and ask for more. 
  • If you are a family man/woman you can pass the fitness bug to the entire family. 
  • If the gym does not work for you, try exercising at home. There is no rule that you must exercise at a gym. Do what works for you, remember, the most important thing is achieving your goal, so whether you go mountain climbing, cycling, dancing, running, get the result!

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