I have been going to the gym since the 70’s. Of course, then it was me tagging along with mother so she could workout and I stayed in the kid’s playroom. I have vivid memories of her wearing black tights and unitard bodysuit and going with her to the Ramada Inn. The hotel must have offered memberships to the community to use the gym facilities. The room I got to “play” in consisted of a glass enclosed closet so I could see all the ladies using the equipment…just like this photo of the “Sears Beauty Spa.” I used to also watch Mother workout with Super Human Jack LaLanne.
My love affair comes and goes with exercise. It’s like sex…you know you need to do it, but you’ve got to put on gym clothes, get in the car, drive to the gym and after about the first 10 minutes it’s a chore, but once you break a sweat you kinda like it. After it’s over you want to go back to the gym again because you feel great! It’s the motivation that’s missing sometimes. For me, it’s boredom. I get bored very easily and I like a challenge in my workouts. When you are working out alone without a coach or accountability partner, it’s hard to push yourself.
About three years ago I met an amazing trainer named Jess. She would chat with me while I walked on the treadmill, just being friendly and never asked me if I wanted to work out with her. I think she was just giving me the chance to come to that conclusion on my own. It dawned on me one day that I was barely breaking a sweat and wondering why I wasn’t achieving my fitness goals. I thought, “why not work out with a trainer? How can it hurt?” We set up an appointment and what started as a business relationship grew into a true friendship. The best part was I learned to enjoy exercising. I reached my goals we set. I pushed my body and found strength I never knew I had. And I realized that, for me, working out with a personal trainer is the secret to me being consistent with an exercise and nutrition program.
I no longer workout with Jess as she moved away to start her family (we are still friends and stay in touch). I floundered for a year and half trying to find my “mojo” again in the gym, gained my weight back and then some, and finally decided I needed to get back into a routine. My new trainer Matt is learning how I am best motivated, that I am pretty strong and identifying ways he can push me to reach my goals. For example, I like to compete with myself, being timed when I do a set of exercises to see if I can beat my time for the next rep. It’s dorky, but it works for me.
I love to use Pinterest to find new workout routines. When I find something I want to try, I will send it to my trainer and pin it to my Workout Ideas board. Then, the next time I am in the gym Matt will have us try the workouts. At one point Jess and I were using Pinterest to help her get motivated again after having her baby. A few times a week I would pin ideas for her to try on her board, then she would do the same for me. It was always fun to check my board the next morning to see what I had to choose from — We called it “Pin Three, Pick Two.”
I workout with Matt three days a week for a 30-minute session. I run on the treadmill for 15 minutes before I meet with him, then after our session, I try to do 15 minutes of cardio to finish up — like the rowing machine, the elliptical or the bike. Since my goal is to try and workout five days a week, the other two days I am responsible for creating my own exercise routine. If it’s a pretty day, I may go for walk, or try a new fitness class (like the other day I tried my very first Spin Class and I loved it!).
Music is a big motivator for me. If you are trying to find a way to workout, start with a good selection of music. You know those songs that come on the radio and you suddenly become a rock star?! Start building a playlist. I have one for “running.” I play these songs to help motivate me to run on the treadmill. Each song is typically 4 minutes long. So if you play three songs you have suddenly run 12-15 minutes and you’re done!
Yesterday was a day I had to figure out what I wanted to accomplish in my gym workout. The night before, I go through my Pinterest board and find ideas so I know when I arrive into the gym I already have a workout plan. I take my iPad into the gym, lay it out on the floor and follow each exercise until I am finished. This was the plan — 30 exercises using a stability ball.
There are so many other ideas. Maybe you just want to focus on a certain trouble area. Then, you might want to try this workout for working out your butt.
Or how about cardio workouts if the idea of running makes you want to hurl?
There’s even great stretching ideas, routines for legs, arms, thighs, back, and lower back strengthening. I also have a board for Working out with Seniors. So, basically there is something for everyone. I have over 570 pins to choose from on my Pinterest board if you are not sure where to start. But, you must start somewhere. You know there are infinite benefits to committing to an exercise routine. If working out with a trainer is overwhelming or not in your budget, workout with a buddy, check out DVDs from the library, walk, pick up weights or heavy cans and lift them during commercials. Here is a great article from the Mayo Clinic on the health benefits of walking.
Here’s the other thing. It is not fun to think “Ugh. I need to work out for an hour!” So, if you are a beginner, get out a calendar and write down the dates you will commit to working out. Maybe it’s just three days, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday for 15 minutes. That’s a start. As you progress, increase the time. Then, increase the days to four a week. Treat working out like an appointment. You are more likely to commit to it if it’s on your calendar. I heard it once said, “There has never been a time I haven’t felt amazing after I finished a workout, and if I know that’s always the end result, then it makes me want to stick to my goals.”
We only get one chance at life. Are you making it the best life possible?