How to Stop Slacking from Exercise

My dear friend and stellar dietician/nutritionist Martha McKittrick wrote this awesome post for her very informative blog City Girl Bites.  I liked it so much I want to share it with you on my own blog:

man-sleeping-300x236Too tired. Not enough time. Have to work late. I’ll do it tomorrow. Sound familiar? We can come up with a million excuses for not exercising. It’s amazing how that little voice in your head can squash your intentions to exercise. Before you know it, you’re out of the habit of exercising and now it’s becoming a huge effort to get back into it. We all know how important exercise is for your health, weight, mood and overall well-being. Check out these sneaky tips to help you stop slacking.

I’m becoming a slacker!
I used to be the energizer bunny. I taught two aerobic classes after work several nights a week for many years. Then I got into triathlons and sometimes trained in the morning and then again at night. Now I’m lucky if I get to the gym 3 times a week … and I usually have to drag myself there.  Yikes! What happened to me and where did this ”slacker” behavior come from? While it’s true that I’m working a lot more than I have in the past and lack of time can truly be an issue, this can not become my excuse. I am in the process of working through this slacking behavior and wanted to share it with my readers.

Problem/solutions to stop slacking
For all you overworked , tired, crunched-for-time, unmotivated people out there, continue reading for my proposed solutions to your slacking behaviors/thoughts.

Problem: Too Busy
Solution:  Schedule it your daily planner just like you do any other appointment. Would you break an appointment with a new client? So why break one with your gym? I’ll bet you find 30 minutes to talk on the phone or watch a tv show, why not 30 minutes for exercise?  phone

Problem: Too tired
Solution:
– Tell yourself you only have to exercise for 15 minutes rather than your usual 60 minutes. This thought can really help especially if you are tired. Often times it’s a mental game. Once you actually get to the gym, chances are that you will exercise more than 15 minutes. But even if you only do 15 minutes – that’s better than nothing!
– Now the obvious – work on getting more sleep

Problem: Denial. You forget how inactive you really are.
Solution:
Hang a calendar on the wall. Check off each day that you exercise. I do this and it really helps. I don’t like seeing too many blank days. Studies have shown keeping exercise (or food!) diaries improve performance.
– Get an activity tracker like Nike Fuel Band or Fit Bit. These little gadgets track your every move. If you are goal oriented, this may really help you!

Problem: Easily distracted. Umm … this is me. I am on my way out the door, the phone rings or I have to answer that one last email. Before you know it, half of my gym time is gone, so why bother?
Solution: Turn off all technology when it is exercise time. All of us type A’s and multi-taskers have to chill for a bit!

Problem: Not organized. By the time you pull out all your gym stuff, you’ve lost 15 minutes of exercise time. Even these few minutes can eat away at your motivation
Solution: Get your exercise clothes ready the night before.

Problem: Improper food timing. You are either too hungry or too full to exercise. Here is a “bad” behavior I have started to do: I pick up dinner on the way home from my office thinking that I’ll have it ready to eat after I work out. But I end up eating it as soon as I get home! Now I’m too tired and full to workout out.
Solution: Have a light snack an hour or two before exercise to help pick your energy levels up. But don’t eat too much as this will make you sluggish and likely cause cramps. Obviously I will stop buying dinner on my way home from the office!

Problem: You have a strong little negative voice in your head telling you every excuse in the world.man exercising 2
Solution: Fight that little voice in your head. Think about all the reasons as to why it is important for you to exercise. As Nike says, “Just Do It”!

Problem: An injury is prohibiting you from doing your regular exercise routine. So you throw in the towel and do nothing until you heal.
Solution: I bet there are still other activities you can do. While it may not be as intense as your usual activity, it is better than nothing. Also, sometimes change is good for the body. Use this time to explore a new activity like swimming or pilates.

Check out my previous blog post on Tips to Stay Motivated to Exercise by guest blogger Tina Gowi

What are some of your excuses not to exercise?

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