Having recently gained 35 pounds when pregnant with my second daughter, I was left with 20 to lose upon returning home from the hospital and a closet full of non-maternity clothing that didn't fit. It wasn't easy, but I lost it all in about two months -- no starving and no gimmicks. I know that my results are not typical, but I'm sharing what has worked for me in hopes of inspiring others, at their own pace, to achieve their own fitness greatness!
There is no magic bullet, unfortunately -- just good, old-fashioned diet and exercise. It can really be broken down into simple math: When you burn more calories than you consume, weight comes off. We all know this, so what makes it a little easier for some than others? For me, I must confess that I actually love working out! I can't get enough of the euphoric feeling caused by an intense sweat session, waking up to achy muscles from the previous day's focus, the accomplishment of crossing the finish line after training for an endurance event, and the feeling of stress melting away while energy increases and a healthier body is created! Other side effects include a silhouette that you love in the dressing room mirror and increased confidence. What's not to love?
Are you in a bit of a workout rut or in need of a little inspiration? Here are some pointers to nudge you along in your own fitness journey!
Develop Your Own "I Love Working Out" Mindset
By focusing on all of the motivating factors and positive results of a workout, you'll stay on track and achieve faster results. Do you currently get excited about sweat sessions, or do they feel like a chore? The closer you get to a full-on love affair with getting your body into motion, the closer you'll get to your goals. Make a commitment right now to shift to positive thinking and emotionally connecting with the personal reasons for you to get workouts in. It's normal to think "this hurts" or "I'm too tired," but you have to push through. The best way to drown out the negative chatter is to flood it with positive emotion. How would you like to add years to your life so that you create more memories with your children? Would you like to reduce anxiety or stress levels? How wonderful would it feel to finally ditch a lifetime of bad habits, bask in the achievement of your fitness goals, and fit into those skinny jeans or cute dress? You can have everything you want! Figure out what makes you tick and let that voice guide you through your workouts.
Get It in and Make It Count
In other words, work out like you mean it and don't skip! We're all busy, but we make time for what matters. Start by getting clear on your commitment. Figure out the best days and times for you and mark your calendar. Think of them as self-care appointments and do not cancel! When it is time to work out, be totally present and focused so that you can put 100 percent of your energy into your session. A strong mind-body connection can help keep you totally focused on your workout, allowing you to work out more intensely and potentially burn more calories, while being mindful of form to ward off potential injuries. It can also help you to deeply appreciate the beautiful things you are doing for yourself. If you're brand-new to sweat sessions, just focus on getting through and how proud you are. You can increase intensity as you build strength and endurance. Take notice of how you feel before, during, and after a workout. The aftermath should be blissful!
Mix It Up to Keep Motivated
A good variety of workouts to meet your personal preferences is important. My own workout arsenal consists of running, yoga, TRX, Pilates, spinning, and Zumba/Hip-Hop. By constantly changing up and mixing up routines, boredom stays at bay. We also keep our muscles guessing by constantly challenging them in different ways. Variety gets results, and flexibility eliminates excuses to skip. What workouts resonate with you and fit into your lifestyle?
Squash the Excuses!
People often say they don't have the time or money to work out. But when you really want something, you find a way to make it work! We all have the same number of hours in each day and the flexibility to determine how our moments are spent. If you have time to sit on the couch and watch TV, than you have time to exercise. Don't have a sitter? Incorporate the kids into your workout routine! My 4-year-old loves to do yoga on her mat next to me, and the baby makes a great weight for doing walking lunges! As for not having money, there are a lot of free and low-cost options, if you are creative. Shop around to find a gym with a low monthly rate, or figure out what you can do at home: Download workout apps to your phone or tablet, find videos on YouTube, or go for a run or bike ride. Squash whatever excuses are coming between you and your workouts. Nothing is more important than your health!
It's easy to be gung-ho in the early stages, but don't fall out of love after the honeymoon. In the case of working out, results compound over time with regular and consistent sessions. The goal is for these sessions to become as normal a part of your routine as waking up and breathing each day. Visual aids are always brilliant for inspiration. Maybe it's a photo of some six-pack abs on your refrigerator? Or maybe it's that "before" picture of you that you are trying to get back to? Maybe it's a picture of your children with the words "creating more memories" written on it. It's about figuring out what truly inspires you and then finding the right tool to help keep you stay focused. Having measurable goals is a good way to stay on track, as is finding a workout partner to be accountable with.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Everybody is different. Nobody has the same health, same life, or same body as you. Don't ever compare yourself to others and don't judge yourself! Celebrate even your small accomplishments. Focus on the overall health goals, increased energy, extended life and vitality. It's going to take time, but you can do it!
Of course, working out is only half of the equation and what you fuel your body with is just as important. I confess that I also love to eat healthy... with lots of flavors, too! Stay tuned for my followup blog on clean, healthy eating.
Until next time, enjoy your workouts!!
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