Finding and Maintaining Your Workout Motivation: The ‘Get Ready, Get Set, Go’ Plan!
Her biggest obstacle is one, I think, all moms relate to: time. “I work for myself from home. Clients are always calling and there’s always work to be done,” she says. “If I don’t do it first thing in the morning, the day gets in the way.”
As a marathon runner and triathlete, a business owner, and the lucky mother of two beautiful girls and one unruly dog, I get it. If I don’t get up and go while the family sleeps, I probably won’t go that day. Between work, kids, household duties, and other tasks, all of which involve my energy and time, I can’t fit in another thing – even if it’s something I enjoy.
Besides, I’m exhausted by the end of the day. I might say I’ll go for my run once the kids are in bed, but I’m lucky at that point to get off of the couch!
Sometimes, though, the idea of waking an hour or two early makes me more tired than running four miles.
Luckily, says Dr. Richard Kelley, physician and owner of Physician’s Way Healthy Weight Loss program in Austin, we don’t have to dedicate two hours a morning to exercise. “I always encourage my patients to limit their exercise to half an hour each day,” he says, especially for busy moms. Half an hour is manageable for the long haul; and, “overdoing it leads to burnout. I would much rather see someone commit to a manageable half hour of exercise per day and maintain that with regularity, than for them to feel the only way to progress is to assault themselves,” by burning excessive calories and spending hours at the gym.
Our “Get Ready, Get Set, Go!” plan will keep you motivated for half an hour most days of the week!
- Get Ready
Choose your exercises. Some people love to run, while others hate it. Some enjoy biking, and others prefer laps in the pool. Any form of cardio will burn calories and get your heart pumping, which is great for releasing endorphins and other feel-good chemicals. Choose a few forms of cardio to work and rest different muscle groups while reducing your chances of any overuse injuries. Also, be sure to include strength training a few days each week. Choose activities that are fun, not exhausting, and add variety. You don’t want exercise to feel seem boring or routine.
Share your plan with others. You may find a few friends interested in walking, running, or cycling with you, which is always a great motivator. Fill your spouse and family in on your workout plans; their support will push you through those tough times when you should get out and go, but really want to sit down and stop. Check out social media sites like DailyMile.com, a free site that allows you to connect socially with other active people, track mileage, count calories burned, and keep track of workouts.
- Get Set
Ink it in. Determine the most realistic time of day for you to work out and schedule your days around the workout, as though it is a doctor appointment. Yu Hannah Kim, fitness expert and president of Youble.com, says, “Schedule social outings with friends or significant others to begin after your workout time, in front or near, your gym.” Kind of hard to head home without working out when you are parked in the parking lot!
Lay it all out. Says Kim, “If you work out at home, lay out the yoga mat/exercise equipment wide and clear before your workout time.” I always put my running clothes out the night before, so all I have to do after opening my eyes in the morning is get dressed and go. I keep my weights, exercise ball, and mat in a cabinet in the living room; so when I get home, I can fit in a few minutes of stretching, ab work, or weights.
Don’t run a marathon if you haven’t trained for a 5K. In other words, start out slowly. Johnny Lee, M.D., President of New York Heart Associates, P.C., and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, says, “Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days of the week.”
Find some moms with whom you can enjoy workouts with. Kim recommends organizing a stroller walk once a week – or more! “This is a great time for everyone to check in and keep you up to tabs with their workout regimen.”
If you’re thinking of ditching, Ob-Gyn Marcelle Pick, co-founder of Women to Women Health Clinic and author of Are You Tired and Wired, says, “Remember how you feel after your workout.” You’re always glad you took the time to fit it in, so push through those first moments of doubt and get it done. “After a while, it becomes routine,” she adds.
Set a goal. Megan signed up for the Expedition Everest at Disney and is participating in Couch-to-5K to stay motivated. I did the same when I first started running. My husband – then boyfriend – signed us up for a Race for the Cure 5K. I told him the moment I crossed the finish line I was hanging up my running shoes; but during the race, the cheering crowds and sense of accomplishment flipped a switch inside my head, and I’ve been running for 15 years!