Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Exercising When You Don't Wanna

Lately, I've found it's harder to be motivated to get into the gym. Being 8 weeks pregnant, I am way more sleepy than usual, and ready for a nap by about 11am every day, so you can imagine, that by the time 5pm rolls around and I'm done working, my energy tank isn't very full. I try to drum up excuses and ways to push off the inevitable. You know what I'm talking about, "hm, maybe I don't have time tonight." or "I won't go today, but I'll go twice as long tomorrow." Those sound familiar?

I have found that if I ask myself these 9 questions (wanted 10 but fell short...suggestions?), I generally end up in the gym with my bum on the treadmill or elliptical.

1. What is my motivation for not wanting to work out today? This one's a toughy, for you actually have to be honest with yourself. I ask myself? Am I really that tired? Am I genuinely sick and not feeling well enough to complete a workout? Am I being lazy? Am I just bored of my workouts? Am I injured? Most the time the answer to this question is found to be inadequate to keep me out of the gym. If you are injured and truly ill (like must be at home in bed the next 3 days) then it may be a legitimate excuse to take a rest day.

2. What will I feel like during my workout? This is an important one. Most days, as soon as you start that workout, you're glad you're there; you're glad you're doing it - at least that's the case for me. Sure, I'm tired or dragging a bit here and there, but when I really assess how I'm feeling, I don't feel bad or in pain (working out will often feel "uncomfortable" if you're doing it right, but it should be overly painful).

3. What will I feel like after my workout? This is one that always helps me get up and go. I know that once I'm done with the workout, I'll be glad that I did it. I rarely finish a workout and think, "man, I really shouldn't have worked out today."

4. If I don't work out, what will I do instead? If the answer isn't lay in bed eating chicken noodle soup, I know I should go to the gym. If my answer is "Go out with friends," "Talk to my mom on the phone," or "Go to the store" I know I should go to the gym. If I have the energy to be social or shop, I have the energy for a work out.

5. Is there a different workout that actually sounds appealing? Sometimes it's just a matter of being bored with the usual workout. I find this is my reason for not wanting to go most times (if I am honest with myself). If there is a workout that sounds better (elliptical vs. running, hiking vs. the gym, going for a walk vs. lifting) than do the thing that sounds more fun. If boredom is keeping you for working out, it's better to switch up the routine (even if it throws you off a bit) to keep your sanity, and to help you keep up your fitness goals long-term.

6. What will it take to get me out the door? Sometimes I find that if I allow myself to rest for 30 minutes between work and the gym, my batteries feel recharged and I'm ready to go. Sometimes I call my mom and say, "Tell me to go to the gym" - just hearing someone else tell you "GO!" will do it. Sometimes it's a matter of waiting for Ronnie to say, "ok, gym time" to make me feel like it's time to move. Sometimes this takes a little trial and error to figure out what will actually make you go. For some, "sitting down for 30 minutes" could mean never getting back up. So find what will get you out the door.

7. How will I reward myself? I do this often. On a day I'm not feeling like working out, I decide how I'll treat myself for a job well done. I try to avoid junk food rewards as much as possible (seems like it's a bit counter-productive) but some days I do bribe myself with the notion of dessert after dinner. More frequently, I like to use things like getting home and sitting on the couch watching TV instead of doing laundry, not making dinner, even just the thought of having an excuse to take a nice long bath (or shower now that I'm pregnant) when it's cold out feels like a good enough reward.

8. Who can keep me company? This generally requires a little advanced planning - at least to develop a group of people that you know will work out with you. I am fortunate enough to have a hubby that works out, so my workout buddy is build in. However, before Ronnie, I had girlfriends in college that I would call to work out with and when home, my mom, dad and brother were all workout buddies.

9. Why should I work out? There are many benefits of exercise, but until we personalize them to us, they don't really help to motivate us. There are a few things on the list that always motivate me. 1. I simply feel better after I work out. 2. It's a good work to unwind from the work day 3. It makes me feel better about my body (it keeps the numbers on the scale down, and even if the numbers rise a bit, I feel better about the rise if I'm working out) 4. If I work out, Ronnie will be motivated to work out (and vice versa). And sometimes it's more specific reasons like I've been more winded going up stairs lately, I'm training for a race, I want to get my butt toned so it looks good in my bathing suit. Come up with your list if you don't have one already, it makes working out on the lazy days way easier.

So that's it, the questions I ask myself when working out just doesn't seem all that appealing. How about you, any questions you ask yourself?