By: Brandi Rosser ’15, Kinesiology, Campus Recreation Services Personal Trainer
As a personal trainer, I hear a lot of myths and misconceptions about working out and staying physically fit.
Whether you work with a personal trainer or not, here are the five things I wish everyone would keep in mind as they progress along their fitness journey. Changing your outlook on a few things may be just the thing you need to stay motivated.
1. A good workout doesn’t have to take 2 hours.
This is one of the biggest concerns that people have when they hear “Hey, let’s go workout!” You’re probably thinking …
“Workout? Huh? I don’t have time for that! I have to walk over to the gym, change my clothes, warm-up, do the elliptical for 30 minutes, visit the weight room and wait in line to use the machines. After all that, I’ll be so wiped out I won’t feel like studying for that exam or going to that group meeting later this evening.”
The truth is you can get an effective workout in just 30 minutes.
Your heart is begging to get pumping so it can feel strong enough to keep you going, so make time for a 30-minute workout. That still leaves you 23 ½ hours in your day to do whatever else you need to do.
Now, those 30 minutes are going to go by fast. Why? Because you will be working at a higher intensity than normal to get the same calorie burn you get from an hour at the gym. It’s going to feel great, be time efficient and rewarding once it is all done. In fact, you can even do a great 30-minute workout at home. Your body doesn’t care where you are, it just wants to be healthy and in shape!
2. Don’t deprive yourself of the foods you love.
Yes, fruits and veggies and lean protein are the way to go, but sometimes we all have those days when that juicy cheeseburger is calling our name. The answer isn’t to deprive yourself.
When you do indulge, keep portion sizes in mind. Divide that burger in half and eat one half now and save the other half for later. When you have size options, order the small instead of the extra large.
If you don’t give in to cravings every once in a while, you may fall victim to a binging episode after a particularly stressful day – stopping at Chipotle on the way home, then picking up your favorite flavor of ice cream at Coldstone and topping it all off with that new tangy smoothie at Smoothie King. You won’t feel motivated or energized the next morning to start your daily routine again.
Unless you are really good at completely weaning yourself off Chipotle – meaning you will NEVER return again, then you need a better plan. Don’t give in to your cravings all the time, but don’t always be so quick to say “no” because you may create even worse damage later.
3. “I don’t have time” is not a valid excuse.
I’ve heard this way too many times from the crazy busy bees to the bed junkies who could sleep all day. Everyone has an excuse of choice, but this one seems to be the most popular.
I mean you really can’t argue with time – it’s always passing and it feels as though there are just not enough hours in the day. The truth is this “excuse” usually equates to the unacknowledged fact that working out is not one of your priorities.
If physical activity is a priority for you, think about ways you can tweak your daily routine to make sure you have the time. We are all given the same 24 hours in a day, and while we each have a variety of responsibilities and time constraints, it is possible to live an active lifestyle.
For one, think outside of the gym. You don’t need a dedicated time or place for being active.
There are simple ways you can hack your daily routine to fit in more activity – walk instead of drive, take the steps instead of the elevator, study or read on a stationary bike, suggest something active next time you hang out with your friends instead of a movie.
4. The weight rooms are for girls too!
If one of your biggest fears is that you will turn into hulk woman if you lift weights, know that this is not true.
It is important for everyone to combine cardiovascular activity with weight training in order to build lean mass and slim down in a healthy way.
Building muscle allows you to perform your cardio workouts more efficiently by improving muscular strength, power and endurance. Here are 13 reasons your should be weight training >>
If you feel uncomfortable standing in front of a mirror and just lifting weights, try adding resistance to the exercises you already do. For example, perform a goblet squat, shoulder press lunges, or medicine ball crunches. Adding external resistance will increase the intensity of your workout allowing you to burn more calories as well as give you that powerful “I am woman, hear me roar!” feeling.
5. Attainable short-term goals can be more rewarding than broad, long-term goals.
Let’s face it, we look for quick results in almost everything we do.
Try setting goals for yourself that can be met within a matter of weeks opposed to months or years. The idea is to build in more frequent opportunities to pat yourself on the back.
Perhaps aim to be able to do 25 squats without stopping or run a half mile in 5 minutes or less within two weeks.
Take time to regularly celebrate small victories. When it comes to fitness, think of yourself as an inchworm taking one step at a time instead of a leap frog taking big jumps to the finish line. Adopting this mindset will save yourself a lot of frustration that comes with setting one giant goal that will take months to achieve.
I hope these tips gave you new motivation and more reason to keep fighting for a healthy body.
Share with us! What are some ways you stay motivated to be active?