When you’re having an off day, no number of phone calls from your trainer, notifications from your favorite wellness app, or the heavy tilt on the scale can coax you into working out.
Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine is one of the most effective, yet difficult things to do for your waistline. “Studies show that 60 percent of American adults don't get the recommended amount of physical activity, and over 25 percent adults are not active at all,” says Kat Napolitano, fitness instructor and choreographer from KatNap Fitness. Let's be honest, it's easy for life to get in the way, for work, family and friends to take priority, and for you to be left with little energy to dedicate to fitness when all those other "to dos" are done.
But lack of time is not the only reason some of us fail to workout as often as we might. According to Kat, we are easily intimidated. Exercising may very well require just as much preparation of the mind as it does physical exertion itself.
Stumbling upon an off day is all good and doesn’t warrant any red flags; but, if you find yourself struggling between the will to lose weight, and the laziness that keeps you tied to bed, there are some things you can do to use your mind to trick your body into cooperating.
Set Intentions Before Goals
“Mental preparation has to be very specific,” says Joe Pinella, a fitness instructor, who himself was diagnosed a quadriplegic, but learnt to walk again. The ‘Why?’ is just as important as the ‘How?’ and ‘By When?’. If you have something worthwhile motivating you, you will have better success with being able to stick with the program. There’s a reason why brides-to-be or those with a weight-triggered health condition find it easier to stay disciplined. It’s because of what motivates them.
Now Set Your Goals
It is absolutely essential to set comfortable, realistic goals. This gives you a benchmark to work towards. “It’s crucial that you have both long- and short-term goals. Short-term goals are what keep you motivated on a daily basis because they can be tackled easily. You have a sense of accomplishment when meeting weekly goals. The big goal is just as important because you need to have a vision that keeps you on track for the long haul,” says Susannah Van, a fitness expert and personal trainer in North Carolina.
Put these goals up on a mirror, your desk, the refrigerator, or even list them out on the note app of your smartphone for inspiration.
Jessica Woods, Indie Fresh ambassador and ultra-marathon runner, has a few novel tricks herself: “I try to compare the task at hand to something more challenging or ridiculous that I have already accomplished in an attempt to make the current run seem like a piece of cake. For example, I tell myself, ‘If I can run a 50k through mud and rain, then these 18 sunny miles should be lovely.’
But if you don’t achieve your goals, don’t beat yourself up or you won’t feel like trying again.
Consistency Is More Important Than You Think
Exercising even for half the time you usually do is better than ditching your weekly routine. It’s hard to form a habit, so skipping a workout may cause you to spiral and not show up for many more. Let go of the ‘All or Nothing’ approach, says Kat. Just showing up is half the battle won.
You’ve Got To Have Fun
Now, we know that this may seem like such an obvious suggestion but so many weight watchers take it for granted. Your first instinct would be to join a gym or yoga class because isn’t that what everyone who is trying to lose weight does?
The fact is, if in the past you’ve rolled your eyes because yoga sounds boring and slow-paced, chances are, you won’t show up for more than a few classes and always have excuses to cite why it’s not working for you.
The same is the case with the gym (or anything else). Running to nowhere on a treadmill is not for everybody. And while some folks like sweating it out in an air conditioned environment, there are those who will thrive much better on the track or at the joggers' park because they need a change of scenery and some fresh air.
To put things into perspective, Kat says, “Stop obsessing about your weight and start focusing on working out to have fun, to increase your energy, to fight Osteoporosis and other genetic conditions you may be predisposed to, or maybe even to set an example for your kids."
When you see that a workout is about so much more than just losing weight, exercising will feel as normal as eating and sleeping.