Rethink Your Exercise

by Nicole Flanagan

We all have mental hurdles that we need to jump before getting into workout mode. For some of us it’s just getting up and out of bed and making it to the gym first thing in the morning. Sometimes it’s the end of the day exhaustion that you have to convince yourself will go away once you get on the elliptical. Whichever problem you may be having here are a few ways to rethink a pre-workout hesitation.

Don’t think: “The scale doesn’t budge, why bother working out”

Do think: “Keep up the good work and it will pay off”

Stick with the scale: Love it and you’ll probably lose pounds. In a study at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, of 3,026 adults who were watching their waistlines, those who weighed themselves more frequently lost more weight over two years or regained fewer pounds. Plateaus are part of the process, Stay motivated in the meantime by giving yourself credit for how much better your clothes fit and for improving your overall health. Fix the problem by changing up your routine. As your metabolism changes to accommodate your smaller size, you are going to have to change what you’re doing to keep your body responding and shedding fat.  If you’re eating light already (around 1,500 calories a day), don’t cut back more; turn up the intensity and/or increase the length of your workout session a smidge. This will not only burn more calories but also increase your cardio capacity, meaning that everything feels easier to do, so you can keep exercising. Crank the resistance on your stationary bike, push the pace of your walk or run for one-minute intervals, or add step-ups or jumping jacks between sets of toning moves: The cardio-strength mix of circuit training burns 512 calories per hour, more than double that of lifting alone.

Don’t Think: “Run a mile? No way”

Do think: “If I can walk a mile I CAN run a mile”

Split your run into walking and running parts at first. Jog a quarter of a mile, walk for half a mile, and finish by jogging another quarter. As you improve, stretch out the jogging and shrink the walking segment before jogging that final quarter mile. Do this three or four times a week and you’ll be able to run the whole distance in about six weeks.

Don’t Think: “I hurt my knee, I will be out of the gym for a few weeks”

Do Think: “There has got to be another type of exercise I can do”

Your body starts to lose conditioning within three days of your becoming a couch potato. Depending on your injury, moderate elliptical training, cycling, or jogging in water can be an appropriate alternative. As with any injury, be sure that your doctor clears you for exercise and follow his recommendations.

Don’t Think: “Classes like Spinning and boot camp seem too intense for me.”

Do Think: “Any exercise can be done at my pace”

The great thing about Spinning is that you control your experience, If the instructor tells you to turn up the resistance, go to where you feel you can keep up; then if you get tired, lower it. In any group exercise class, your main goal is to get the hang of it, so aim for form over speed.

Don’t Think: “I simply can’t shake the after-work energy slump to exercise.”

Do Think: “Just 10 minutes.”

There’s a difference between being mentally tired and being physically tired. Doing something physical will actually help combat some of the mental fatigue. Tell yourself that you’re not going to do more than 10 minutes of exercise. Often this leads to extending the time once you get into it. If you do make it to 10 minutes and still feel completely exhausted then you probably do need the rest.  In that case missing one day at the gym is not going to do any harm.

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