It’s the Dog Days of Summer and the world is in crisis. Before the pandemic, I went into work and worked out at the gym. Now I am working and strength training at home. I’m finding it hard to be consistent with my exercise, and I am asking myself how to stay motivated for workout. I’m sure there has to be others struggling with the same problem, so I have decided share some techniques I use and research for some new ones.
Be Gentle with Yourself – Watch the Self-Talk
The level of stress, anxiety, and depression is elevated in the world right now. Watching the news frequently doesn’t help the situation. Cutting down on viewing of the media helps anyone stay more positive. When we are feeling down, it is helpful to remember that people don’t go straight from blue to amazing in one step. Doing anything that makes you feel a little better is a step in the right direction.
Ask yourself, what do I feel inclined to do that would help me feel emotionally and physically better. Any form of exercise will release the happy hormones, endorphins. Can I walk to the corner and back? Can I go walk up and down all isles at the grocery store where it is air-conditioned? How about a walk on the beach or near a river? Baby steps will get you there. Little by little. Progress not Perfection.
Functional Fitness – Do What you Love. It counts!
Sure you can do functional fitness exercises at the gym which gets you fit enough to do activities you love. What about just doing those activities now while you are stuck at home? Focus on your core while you do them. If you are lifting, use good lifting technique. I’m working on giving myself credit for all the home projects I am doing that are helping me be more fit and gain strength at the same time. Just to give you an idea of what I have been doing while stuck at home:
- I took everything out of my shed. Sorted it into keep in the shed, move somewhere, and get rid of. I bought more shelving and bins and now everything is all organized and back in the shed.
- I’ve done a lot of gardening this included making a new raised bed, spreading new soil, and mulch. Gardening requires lots of bending and lifting, all of which strengthens your body.
- I have terraced gardens and some walls were falling apart. I tore out tons of plants and bushes, and am building new retaining walls with help from friends. We hauled and moved 165 -23 pound wall blocks home and are putting them into walls. I never realized how much squatting was involved while leveling that first row of blocks. Talk about a workout.
- Next on my list is power washing and staining my good size deck. Trust me there is more on my list.
All of these projects count as exercise, relax the mind, and release endorphins. I am doing what I love and the results give me great satisfaction. What can you do that you love that gives you satisfaction? Maybe it is ride your bike, walk a beach, or spring-clean your house.
I have not quite finished my functional fitness with the retaining wall, but it is getting there and I will get back to it soon (photo to right). I decided that I wanted a cat enclosure so that my cats can go outdoors safely. This is an awesome adventure for me as a friend is teaching me the how-tos of some power tools I never used before. As part of this project, I worked on my refurbishing skills on an old FREE screen door. You don’t think about how many muscles you use squatting, bending, lifting, and climbing ladders, great functional fitness. I want to do more with my cat enclosure, but I have other projects that I need to get done while the weather is warm enough out side. (photo below)
Listen to Motivational Speakers – Hang with Motivated People
I have a few friends that do projects almost non-stop. When I listen to them or watch them do a project, I come home and start working on my own. Moral of the story, if you hang couch potatoes, chances are you will be a couch potato. Hang around with active people, and chances are you will be active.
Friends are not always around, so listen to or watch motivational speakers. When the COVID 19 virus was rampant in my area, I would take a drive with my dog and listen to Abraham-Hicks talks recorded on YouTube. Sometimes I would stop and take a walk. Now I listen to the talks on the way to do errands.
I first was introduced to Abraham-Hicks when I had a job I hated. Listening to those motivation talks on the way to and from work was the only thing that kept me sane. A big take away from Abraham-Hicks is to work on keeping yourself in a good mood and there are many suggestions on how to do that. For anyone interested in books from Abraham Hicks The Essential Law of Attraction Collection is a good place to start. If you want more information, email me.
The Bite-Size Workout
The next book I am going to review is Weight Training for Women by Brittany Noelle. I am reviewing this book next because her chapters are aimed at a muscle group. In addition, Brittany gives a warm-up excessive at the beginning of the chapter and a cool-down stretch at the end. This allows you to do Bite-size workouts targeted to a specified muscle group. For women that are feeling unmotivated such as myself, we might find these mini work-outs more doable. This book is not my first choice for less fit beginners, unless you have another book that shows you variations of exercises.
I also set up an exercise at different locations in my house. Every time I pass a certain spot, I do the given exercise. Some things I set up are an Aerobic Step Platform , some dumbbells, or a body-weight exercise. I think that adding a white board to check off each set of reps would be a good idea. It would give me a better sense of accomplishment so that I don’t beat myself up for not doing that 30-minute or 1-hour routine.
Some other tips are the following, but this is so individual.
You have to try different ones and see what works for you. As always,
I look forward to folks comments and suggestions.
- Know Your Why – I covered this in Strength Training Benefits for Women – Motivate Me!
- Meditation and Monitor Your Self-Talk (this ties in to the be gentle and motivational speakers)
- Have a workout buddy either to workout with or share your progress
- Goals – Make them achievable and check them off
- Write down how it will feel when you achieve your goals (An Abraham-Hicks technique)
- Find exercise you enjoy doing – Make it fun
- Turn on some good workout music
- Create a schedule
- Workout first thing before you get sidetracked
- Self-care: Get enough sleep, nutrition, and drink your water
What Works for You?
Motivating yourself is a very individual practice. We all have our own history and beliefs that have been ingrained in us during our lifetimes. You need to find what works for you. I hope you find these ideas helpful, and look forward to your ideas in the comment section.
Founder of Strength Training Books for Women