Do your workouts feel like a chore? Do you keep joining fitness programmes only to find yourself quitting soon after? Do not beat yourself up as you are not alone. Instead, understand the effective methods of highly motivated fitness enthusiasts and start thinking like them.
The key is to start simple, then increase your objectives — but always stay realistic. According to fitness enthusiast Marie Choo, it is important to make small achievable goals to set yourself up for success. For example, if you are new to running and hope to run a 5km race in three to four months, start with a run-walk strategy to either cover distance or get up to speed with timing. Aim to increase this slowly but progressively until you reach your goal of 5km within a decent timeframe.
Choo started her journey to physical fitness two years ago when she reached a crossroads in her career. Her first race was the 15km Mizuno Wave Run in August 2014. Last year she ran the Tokyo marathon and has two marathons planned this year: in Australia’s Gold Coast and New York.
She suggests would-be runners should sign up for a race so that they have a target to aim for. As each race is completed, there will tend to be the desire to keep pushing and challenging your body further.
Another long-term goal might be to incorporate strength-training exercises for all major muscle groups into your routine at least twice a week.
Make fitness a lifestyle
Avoid making excuses by scheduling workouts like any other important activity. Also try incorporating some physical activity throughout your day to get your body used to moving around more. For example, whenever there is the opportunity, take the stairs instead of the lift.
Some people find it useful to exercise at the same time every day, say first thing in the morning. This way, you adapt your lifestyle around meeting your exercise goals.
Choo shares that when exercise becomes a lifestyle, it becomes a habit. To achieve this, she advises making exercise accessible. No gym membership? Why not just run or walk outdoors? Try getting some simple gym equipment for home use such as a jump rope, dumb bells and stability ball so that if the weather is bad you don’t use it as an excuse to give up.
Announce your fitness plans on social media
The above works by instilling a sense of accountability. In addition, very often, friends on Facebook offer a lot of encouragement, experiences and tips, spurring motivation.
Buy new active wear
While this might sound shallow, it really is not — when you look good, you feel good.
Choo shares that once exercise became a lifestyle of hers, not only did she start looking more athletic but her skin glowed too. Having a fit and healthy body is now her outfit of the day!
Surround yourself with fit friends
Having workout buddies will help ensure exercising is fun, minimising the risk of skipping classes.
Exercise for a good cause
Choo for example, attaches a charitable cause to her fitness journey. Her personal initiative ‘I RUN FOR RESCUE DOGS’ helps raise funds and awareness for rescued dogs. Many other runners in Singapore do so to raise funds for the Singapore Cancer Society. Choo notes that when you run for a cause rather than for your own ego, there tends to be more determination to complete both the training and the race.
So, are there any other secrets? Choo shares that she actually loves eating and her daily fitness regime allows her to indulge in this, in moderation of course. She adds, “When we exercise, the body creates endorphins and I like the happy feeling after each fitness activity, be it running, swimming, doing yoga or working out in the gym.”
It really does not take much to motivate yourself to exercise. As Choo states, “Don’t wait until it is too late. It took me a health scare and a bid to avoid falling into depression to get me started on my fitness journey. Remember, you only have one body and the sooner you start looking after it, the sooner you can reap the many health benefits.”