It’s Not Always Easy . . . But It’s Worth It!!

Finding the motivation to work out can often be difficult for many of us and we all go through periods where it is more of a struggle than others.  There are many things that can get us off track – changes to our schedule, family commitments . . . sunny weather!!  Unfortunately, once we get off track, benefits we have gained while working out can quickly be lost.  This is not only physical changes, but inactivity can also affect our energy level and our mental health.  When we become inactive, our ability to sleep well, deal with stress and get through the demands of our busy daily schedules becomes more and more challenging.

Many people assume that because I own a fitness facility and am a certified fitness instructor, I must be a true “fitness addict” who never falls off the wagon but this couldn’t be further from the truth!  In our household, it is my husband who is the most dedicated to his program and I have always admired and envied his ability to “stick to it no matter what”.  Unfortunately, for me, it is often a hard to stay on track and I often struggle with balancing a busy schedule and finding motivation to just get moving!  I believe I chose this journey in the fitness world due to this reason rather than in spite of it.  Becoming a certified fitness instructor has given me the opportunity to find a fitness regime that I truly love and keeps me accountable along the way!  I can relate to the struggles of others as I have been there myself (and not just once!)  I am most definitely someone who does better in a group setting than I do on my own – when left to my own devices, I am easily distracted and often let “life” get in the way. So taking part in group activities helps to keep me on track and focused on my goals.

My reason for sharing this is to give you time to pause and think about what it is that motivates you and what you need to keep you on track.  I am not suggesting you run out and become a group fitness instructor (although at Lifestyles, we always welcome new additions to our team!!) but rather, to encourage you take a moment to think about what type of exerciser you are.  Are you someone who easily stays on track on your own (like my husband who has never deviated from his program in the 20+ years I have known him!) or someone who needs more structure to stay engaged (like me!)?  If the latter describes you better, then you are probably better off to get involved in some kind of group activity instead of trying to “go it on your own”.  Things like group fitness classes, walking, running or biking groups, organized sports and other training programs are all great for the exerciser who needs that motivation and accountability.  Signing up for an event is also a great way to stay on track.  There are many wonderful local events that range from introductory (like 5K fun walks/runs) all the way up to more challenging and advanced events (such as the upcoming Mudd, Sweat & Tears challenge that many of us will be undertaking on August 23rd – http://muddsweatandtears.com/)

Finding the time of day that works best for you is also important.  Those who know me well know that I am absolutely NOT a morning person!  I find it absolutely painful to try to get up early enough to work out before work but on the other hand, it is not unusual to see me jogging through my neighborhood after 10 PM!  We are all very different in how we are wired and it is important that you find something that works for you.  If you try to schedule in a workout in a timeslot that you struggle with, chances are you will find that you don’t stick to the program long.  Try to schedule in something that works for you and that you and enjoy and you are much more likely to stick to it.

Over the years, if there is one thing that I have learned, it is that I feel my best when I stay on track with a regular fitness routine along with clean eating.  It is amazing how much difference it can make to your energy level when you maintain a regular fitness plan.  During the years that we struggled with my oldest son’s chronic illness, I credit keeping up with regular exercise to helping me cope.  When the need for a lung transplant necessitated a move to Toronto for us, one of the first things my husband and I both did when we had everyone settled was to find a gym where I could teach and he could train.  Taking turns covering each other at home and the hospital so the other could get in a quick workout helped us both to cope with the
most stressful situation of our lives and maintain our sanity.  While it may feel selfish sometimes to make time for a workout when there are so many things crying out for our attention, by taking the time to take care of ourselves, we are so much better able to care for those around us and to deal with the many demands that life throws at us each and every day.  Unfortunately during stressful times in our lives when we are under pressure, we are the most likely to get away from our program when in fact, this is the time we can use it the most.

By taking care of yourself and sticking to it, you will not only feel better, look better and have increased energy, you will be setting a great example for your entire family and setting them all up for success in the future.  So remember to take care of yourself and book in your time for wellness each and every day just like any other appointment.  It will set you up for a long and healthy life filled with vitality!

Yours in wellness,

Jennifer

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