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How I Make Myself Exercise

As I explained in an earlier post, I hate exercising.  I mean, really, really hate it.  But, somehow, I force myself to do it anyway.  Since there are undoubtedly other people who hate exercising, and “find what you love” is for some people not really an option (as the case is for me), I thought I’d share some tips on how to exercise anyway, and how to make workouts more effective:

  • Variety – If I do the same workout video too many times, I get bored and stop exercising.  Mix it up!
  • Schedule – I have a set time when I exercise.  I (try) to get out of bed at 5 a.m. (usually I’m not actually up until about a quarter after), which is a whole hour earlier than I really need to be up.  That gives me plenty of time to force myself out of bed, into exercise clothes, and find a video I want to do.
  • Flexibility – My goal is to exercise at least 3 mornings a week.  I don’t really care which days of the weeks those are, as long as I meet my goal.
  • Forgiveness – If, for some reason, I don’t meet my goal, I try really hard not to berate myself too much about it.  If I dwell on my imperfections, I’m more likely to give up.
  • Capriciousness – I do whatever kind of exercise I feel like doing that morning.  I don’t have a set schedule for cardio and working out the different muscle groups.  I do try to do cardio, abs, butt, and leg workouts pretty regularly, but don’t force myself to stick to a particular schedule.  I might be getting a less effective workout, but at least I’m exercising.
  • Appropriate Level of Difficulty – If a particular exercise or routine is too hard, I don’t do it.  I stop the video and find something else.  Because I have precious little coordination, I like to stick with pretty simple exercises.  If it’s frustrating for me, I get discouraged and give up.  This does mean I don’t push myself as hard as would perhaps be optimal, but it’s better than giving up entirely.
  • Don’t Do Things You Don’t Like – This goes along with the previous point.  For example, I recently realized that I really don’t like kickboxing.  I don’t know why; I just don’t like it.  So I find something else to do.
  • Slow Down – Especially with strength training.  Going too fast can mean you’re relying on momentum rather than your own muscles to complete the exercises.  Also, I’ve found that focusing on having good form is more important that doing them quickly.  It’s okay to go faster or slower than the video!
  • Music – I’ve made a special playlist on iTunes of upbeat, bouncy music that makes me feel energized.  I mute the exercise video and just play my music.
  • A Day Off – I never exercise on Sunday.  I made that rule because Sunday is the Sabbath, and I want to focus on other things that day, but I’ve found that it is so nice to have a day that I don’t have to think about exercising.  I don’t have to make myself do it or feel guilty for not doing it.  It’s just the break I need.
  • Find the Right Indulgence – I try to avoid too much junk food, since more junk food equals the need for more exercise.  Sometimes it’s really hard to resist the junk food, so I came up with a rule for myself.  When I want a treat, I mentally gauge how much pleasure I will get from it.  If it’s something that will only be mildly enjoyable, like store-bought cake or McDonald’s french fries, I skip it.  It’s just not worth the calories.  If it’s something that will be absolutely amazing, like fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, you can bet I’ll have one.  I might eat too much, but at least I will have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
  • Eat More Frequent Meals – I usually eat four meals a day.  I don’t snack very often.  When I find myself so hungry that I want multiple snacks, I make myself a proper meal, even if it’s 3:00 in the afternoon.  Usually it will be a relatively small meal.  This way I eat fewer unhealthy snack foods.
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3 Comments

  1. Kate says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Good stuff. I have a love/hate relationship with exercise, but if I didn’t HAVE to do it, I probably wouldn’t, lol. Except zumba, maybe. But I like the idea of seeing if a snack is worth the calories. Great rule of thumb! Good luck!

  2. It seems like you have a very good plan!

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