This post continues a series of posts on exercising. You can read my previous posts on healthy living to catch up.
Today I wanted to focus on two things that are indispensable in keeping me motivated to work out.
They are eating and sleeping (sorry to ruin the suspense). Often the most basic notions are the hardest to embrace, but they completely define how we function.
Lack of sleep is a number one killer of work-out motivation. When I don’t get enough sleep, it makes it extremely difficult to just live through the day, leave alone exercise. My body is achy, my mind is numb, and my mood irritable.
- be realistic and honest about how much sleep you need to feel rested. It is a personal thing, the “8 hours” of sleep recommendation is arbitrary, I think. For example I need to be asleep by 10 pm in order to function the next day.
- say it out loud or tell your spouse/partner that you are going to go to sleep at … pm. This helps to be more aware of the “lights off” hour.
- put a system in place to force you turn off the lights: I have a reminder on my iPhone that is set for 10 pm. I also asked Brian to tell me it is past my bed time if I ignore the clock. I explained to him how important it is to me to go to sleep at 10, and his support has been very helpful.
- think about the things that keep you up past your ideal bed time: is it TV shows, online browsing, Facebook/Twitter, reading? Ask yourself if it is worth staying up late. This is basically about actively engaging your mind and setting your priorities straight vs. going through the motion of daily routine.
2. Eating*.*Eating is a much broader topic and deserves several posts. Stay tuned for those!
Where do I begin? For the purpose of this topic– keeping up the motivation to exercise— it is crucial to eat in a way that sustains your energy levels. Meaning: regular meals with sufficient protein intake, plus hydration. To break down further, do not skip breakfast, lunch or dinner. Have a small snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Starved or dehydrated body is the second killer of work-out motivation!
- make a point (or an effort if you have to) to eat breakfast to start the metabolism cycle right. It doesn’t have to be big or elaborate. Just stick to what works best for you (e.g.: a couple of eggs; yogurt with granola; not sugary cereal with milk).
- schedule snack times, and make sure to eat your snacks. Work around your work schedule and daily commitments but do find a few minutes to” recharge your batteries”. Just like with breakfast, it doesn’t have to be fancy. Choose high-protein, low-fat options. Beware of the granola bar trap (read the label for nutritional information).
These are small steps but they will make a noticeable difference if you stick with them. I am convinced that baby steps are the way to go when trying to reach weight goals: they can be easily tweaked to fit your needs; they prevent a burn-out; they give you instant gratification because you feel the effects of a small change immediately.
Have you discovered any trick to keep your motivation to exercise alive? I am very interested to hear about them.
Check back for more posts on healthy living. If you like this, please share it with your friends. I will be happy if it helps somebody to achieve their goals.