Finding Your Gym Motivation

One of the biggest questions I receive almost daily is how I stay motivated to go to the gym. The answer is fairly simple although not always the one that people hope to hear, sometimes I need to force myself. I like every single person in the world lacks motivation to stay healthy every once and awhile. I have a big weekend or exhausted from work and the last thing I may want to do is go to the gym, but no matter what I make sure to work out my body 6 days a week in some way or another. I promise you some days that is a very limited amount but even then I feel so much better after. Here are a few of my tricks to getting to the gym even when you really don’t want to.

  • Set yourself a goal. As a personal trainer I ask all of my clients what their next goal is. Of course some are exterior like getting ready for summer or a wedding, but many are much more individualized. I have one woman who wanted to pick up her bag of 40 lb bird feed, after she accomplished this it was turning on her lawn mower. No matter how big or small I really recommend coming up with some kind of goal for yourself to work towards. Setting specific milestones helps you work towards something as well as realizing your progress over time which is often difficult to see.
  • Find your own motivation. I think this one is really important. Similar to setting a goal you need to find your motivation for going to the gym every week. This should be made for yourself. If you feel forced into working out by a friend or boyfriend, ask yourself truly why do I want to do this. Maybe it is to live a long healthy life or look better in a bikini. For me it is so many things but over anything else it is keeping me happy and keeping my anxiety at bay. When I work out I am happier, more confident and less stressed than I could ever be without it.
  • Figure out the best time for you. Everyone is different in terms of when they like to get moving and finding your best time frame is essential to the process. I am 100% a morning person if I wait until even the afternoon I know my motivation goes down substantially. Even when I work at 6 A.M. I would rather wake up early than go after work to the gym. Because I know this about myself I do not set unrealistic goals. If I work out later in the day that’s great but I know my strongest, most intense work outs are first thing in the morning so that is when I schedule almost all of the sessions.
  • Buddy up. Find someone who is on a similar path to yourself and hold each other accountable. If you know every week at 1 P.M. on Tuesday the two of you work out together you will be a lot less likely to skip the gym that day. Accountability is key! Also a slight bit of competitiveness can be beneficial too. If your workout partner is seeing progress you will be motivated to see some too and it can be really inspiring to your overall health to have someone to talk to about new exercises, recipes you’re trying out and that new meditation practice you have picked up.
  • Make it a habit. I have talked about this point before, but it is so important to mention again. Working out is something that needs to become part of your schedule. If you plan to work out 3 days a week, put them into your calendar just as you would a work meeting. Once you get into the habit of it you will crave the feeling and want to keep it up. When I don’t work out for a few days I miss the endorphin rush and the calm that it gives my mind. It may take a little bit of time to get the point of actually craving the soreness, but trust me it will happen. Once you give your body movement it will constantly crave it. Schedule your sessions, create workouts beforehand and pack your clothes the night before, allow yourself no excuses to get your butt to the gym!
  • Lastly go easy on yourself. You are not always going to be head over heals excited to get your butt kicked at the gym and that is OK! Motivation ebbs and flows and I always try to listen to my body and what it is telling me. Things happen, life gets busy and some weeks are just hard, take it easy on yourself and truly listen. Why is my body so tired and what is it trying to tell me? When the energy levels are particularly low I still make myself go to the gym even when it is hard. If I get there and begin stretching and feel like this is all I need for the day I will stay there for 20 minutes only foam rolling and doing small yoga flows. Other days the motivation starts low but once I get moving my energy levels instantly perk up. Some of my hardest workouts have come from days where I had absolutely no motivation to start. My advice is do something, even stretching, to spend time moving your body. Especially if you have a desk job where you sit for 8 hours a day, your body is craving movement even if your mind is tired. Go and do what you can, a walk on the treadmill while watching your favorite show or a 15 minute circuit will have you feeling better in no time. But over anything know when to take a break. If you get there and your body truly is just exhausted take a break for a few days. Listen and love your body for all that it does for you.

Working out does not have to be something you dread every week. Make it fun for yourself, try new classes and find what speaks to you. Getting stuck in the same routine every day can lead to failure to commit. Experiment with different times of day and different styles of exercise. I love to change up my routine every day and switch off between high intensity work, strength training, yoga and running. I feel it gives my body the best work out and I am always excited for something new. I would love to continue to expand on personal training and help you find what works best for you! For workout plans, motivation and health and wellness tips and tricks contact me, I cannot wait to help you experience the happiest, healthiest you!

My Week in Workouts

As a personal trainer I get a lot of questions about what an average week of workouts looks like for me. To be honest I don’t stick to a specific plan every week, but instead listen to my body. I strive to get an array of different workouts in every week rather than sticking to just cardio or weight lifting. I have always been a runner but I used to rely solely on running to fulfil all of my fitness needs. While it is still probably my favorite exercise for relieving stress and boosting my mood, I quickly realized that in order to achieve overall health I needed more than just running. I incorporated weights into my routine in my early 20’s, but I like so many other women would lift very light in order to not “bulk up”. And although there was definitely not much bulking happening there was also very little muscle growth either. As I have gotten older all of that has changed. Now I cannot wait to go up in weight and lifting heavy at low reps a few times a week has gotten me into my best shape. So what does a typical week look like for me? I try to workout 5-6 every week. I know this is totally unrealistic for many people and that is okay! I work out so much because like I said it helps with my mood, anxiety and stress levels. I truly crave exercise after a day off, but I know I am a bit of a freak. Honestly though you definitely don’t need to go to the gym every day but I truly recommend moving your body every single day. This is your temple after all. If you work at an office job 8 hours every day your body needs movement. Taking a quick walk or bike ride will not only help your body but also boost your energy levels for those long days. It is usually the days I don’t want to work out that I need it the most.

Monday: Monday’s usually are my day off. If you are crazy busy over the weekends I recommend not taking off Monday. For most it is a perfect way to jump start your week and get you in the right head space for the week ahead. For me I tend to train really hard on the weekends so by Monday I am ready for a day off.

Tuesday: By Tuesday I am ready to jump back in. I work at 6 am on Tuesday so when I get off I am pretty exhausted. I always bring my clothes with me to head right to the gym when I get off. When I am tired it is easier to motivate myself to lift than to do cardio, so Tuesday’s I tend to do 5×5 workouts. This would be 5 sets of a movement for only 5 reps each. For these I go heavier in weight so by the end of the 5 reps I am ready to be done. I always do functional movements so many parts of my body are working at once. These workouts should really burn out the muscle group you are working by the end of the 5 sets.

Wednesday: I work in the afternoon Wednesday so I head to the gym first thing in the morning which is my favorite time to work out. On Wednesday I have a bit more time and energy so I will do a bit more difficult of a workout. Usually these are comprised of a quick interval run or rowing machine intervals to start out. These get my heart rate up quickly while also helping my cardiovascular system. I love doing intervals because these short bursts of energy absolutely smash calorie burn and show a big difference in my body. After my cardio I will do more functional movements. This could be something like thrusters, cleans or lateral lunges with weight. I tend to do 2-3 movements of each my arms, legs and core for usually about 4 sets of 10 repetitions. Kicks my butt every time.

Thursday: It depends how I am feeling at this point, but on Thursday I love to do a mix of cardio and strength training. I usually choose a workout I am teaching for the week and set it up for myself. This will often be something like 10 moves for a certain time frame. Sometimes it will be 3 sets of 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest and others it will be tabata style of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest. All of these movements combine both cardio and strength training. Moves could be TRX pull ups or push ups, squat jumps, airdyne, or slider pike ups with a push up. You can easily create your own movements and pattern for this with a similar set up. By setting the timer I hold myself accountable to continue to work even when I’m tired. After these I am quite literally dripping with sweat.

Friday: Friday’s tend to be a bit of a chiller day. By this time I am usually pretty spent so I choose a long run to break down acid build up and get my body moving. While they usually start off fairly slow and painful by the end I feel great and so much less sore. I try to do 4 miles and up on these days, I take it a bit slower especially at the beginning and try to just cruise and have some me time. This is probably my favorite day of the week. And then of course like all days, stretching afterwards.

Saturday: I work every other Saturday in the morning so after I am finished personal training I usually have a lot of motivation to push myself a bit. I stay after at the gym for an hour or so and very much do an instinctual workout. This could be moves we have worked on that day or a certain part of my body I feel I haven’t worked as much that week. I love adding jumps, battle ropes, burpees and kettlebell swings to the end of my workout to get my heart rate pumping. When I do these workouts I usually end up working out a lot harder than I expect to. I pick two movements and will do them back to back for 3 or 4 sets and then switch to a new body part. It is very much on the fly, but because I have a lot of movements in my memory I can easily do an hour long workout getting to every single part of my body.

Sunday: Sunday’s can be a little bit of everything. When it is nice outside my favorite thing to do would be to go for a long hike. This can be something challenging or easier. As the weather warms up I also look forward to swimming or kayaking these days. If it is not nice out and I am feeling a bit lazier I will put on a kickboxing video or something from Youtube. To be honest that is my go to any day I feel too lazy to go all the way to the gym. There are so many amazing videos on Youtube and I don’t have to leave my house to get a sweat in. Now that it is summertime though I will definitely be spending my Sunday’s outside!

As you can see my workouts change immensely through the week. This is not on accident. Changing up your routine not only helps to keep you in your best shape, it also helps to not get bored. I do my workouts based on the way I feel that day. No matter what I will usually work out 5-6 times a week but sometimes that means just a gentle yoga flow. I encourage not giving yourself too many days off and sticking to a plan especially when starting out until it becomes a habit. Working out is incredible for so many reasons and I believe every person should make it a priority. Put it into your schedule just as you would a work meeting, because I promise you it’s just as important.

You will see that I also don’t talk about a particular day dedicated to arms, back or legs. This is my personal preference and is different for everyone. I love to work compound movements that work many parts of the body at once, by doing this I think I get my best workout and feel my strongest. Experiment with different styles when you are starting out! See what works best for you and stick with it. Also you may notice I didn’t talk too much about stretching, while you may not see it mentioned, I still do it Every. Single. Day. I foam roll before and after every sessions as well as doing yoga and gentle flows throughout the week. This is SO important. I cannot stress this enough, take time to stretch, your body will thank you!

As with all of my posts I would love to talk more about this with you! If you are looking for a specific plan to work with or having difficulties sticking to a routine contact me and let’s set up an appointment to work together in finding your happiest, healthiest you! All of the love my friends!

Eat More to Lose Weight

“People who love to eat are always the best people”

-Julia Child

 

Many people out there are not eating enough to lose weight. Yes you read that correctly. Sometimes in order to lose weight you need to eat MORE. What a beautiful sentence that is. For women in particular restrictive eating is incredibly common. If you are doing it I promise you are not alone. I definitely used to limit my caloric intake and spend hours in the gym in order to achieve my dream look. Did it ever happen? No. I am more fit and thinner now than I ever was when I was counting calories and making myself crazy. Does this mean that if you are eating junk food and lots of it and still not losing weight the only solution is more junk food? Absolutely not. But eating more healthy, nutrient rich calories per day can help significantly in weight loss if you are currently under nourishing your body.

Eating helps to boost your metabolism, making weight loss possible. When you eat too little your body automatically goes into starvation mode, putting all of your food into fat supplies similar to a bear in hibernation. When in this starvation mode your brain begins slowing down your metabolism. Because your brain is worried where the next meal is coming from, it is going to slow everything down and store rather than allowing food to move through your body. Our bodies are freakin magical and SO much more intelligent than we give them credit for. If we starve them they become confused and try to help us survive. Stop hurting your body and allow it to do it’s job! A very important aspect of your metabolism is making sure it gets jump started first thing in the morning. Once your metabolism turns on it powers high for the rest of the day. If you are not a breakfast person I recommend fruit or toast. Even something small will help this process immensely.

One other huge issue I have touched on before is weight loss with exercise. Eating enough when exercise is CRUCIAL. Providing protein and carbs for your body when working out allows your body to grow muscle. If you do not provide enough food for yourself, rather than taking your energy from fat stores while working out it starts to attack your muscles and cause a decrease in lean muscle mass. Seemingly all of your hard work goes completely unseen. I know this is true because I have seen it for myself. I would eat very little post workout and see little if no results and still have stomach fat I wanted to get rid of. As soon as I started to boost my nutrient dense calories, voila! I lost weight and fat almost instantly.

So you’re saying that all I have to do is eat more and I will lose weight? Well yes and no. If you are in a caloric deficiency, yes eating more is going to help rev up your metabolism and if exercising gain muscle mass. Also as I have mentioned before, the more muscle mass you have the higher your caloric burn per day without doing a single thing. So once you get that muscle mass up, you can happily eat more calories and burn them off without doing a thing. If you are not in a caloric deficiency it depends where your calories are coming from. If you are eating crap, more crap is not going to help you lose weight. I strongly encourage you to start replacing and implementing more nutrient dense foods into your diet. This can be in the form of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, whole grains and protein. They will fill you up and keep you full like a bag of chips has never done before. Don’t worry you are still allowed to have chips or a cookie, just try to make them a side or treat after you’ve filled up on the good stuff. So yes, more food can definitely mean losing weight. I urge you to give it a try and tell me how it goes. I think you’ll be very surprised at the results. Happy eating my friends!