Exercise Inspiration

July 22, 2009

By Shari Berkowitz

Your Facebook status update says, “I just have no inspiration to work out. Can’t I just sit on the couch and have more chocolate instead?” The truth is that it’s ok to sit on the couch with more chocolate if…if you are a regular exerciser. If you’re not, though, you’ve got to get off the couch and get into a class!

How do you get inspiration if you’re not naturally inspired? Well, first you need to find value in it—in exercise itself. Which I believe means you have to find value in you.

Whoa: a big subject! You’ve got to find value in yourself to get up and make yourself exercise. Time was, once, that we all hunted and gathered, ran after the kids, cleaned the cave and escaped the saber-toothed tiger. Exercise was a part of everyday life. But today that’s not the case at all. The hunting and gathering is done on the farm by equipment, the nanny’s with the kids who are sitting behind their X-Box, the maid is cleaning with a vacuum, and the saber-toothed tiger is long gone. So we’ve got to make time for exercise, make time for ourselves—and do it as though it and you are important.

One hundred percent of our body and mind was designed to make us move or fuel that movement. That’s right: 100 percent. That little part of your mind that helps you cognitively think is there so you can think better and move away faster from that saber-toothed tiger. Once you realize that you were born to move, it might become easier to get out and do that for at least an hour a day (and when you’re doing Pilates, it’s only 55 minutes).

Here’s a tip that always works for me: schedule your workouts. Put it in your day planner and keep your schedule. If you’re not good at keeping these appointments, then you’ve got to have someone else on the other end waiting for you. Book a workout with a trainer, or, if that’s not in the budget, schedule it with a friend so you will work out together. Make sure you’re accountable for that hour—accountable to your friend and to yourself.

Remember: Working out isn’t punishment. It’s a gift you give yourself. You’re giving yourself the gift of good health. Think about all the negative things you say to yourself each day; why not do this one thing that is positive all around? You’ll feel great about yourself, your endorphins will be flowing which will make you feel incredible and you’ll look better…it’s positive all around.

An important thing to get good at is setting attainable goals. If you’re not used to exercising, start slowly. How about adding one Pilates session to your weekly routine for a month? Then, on the second month, congratulate yourself by giving yourself the gift of a second Pilates session a week. Eventually bump it up to three sessions a week. They don’t have to all be private sessions: why not a private, a semi-private and a mat class? Feeling so good in your body might naturally inspire to you to start walking more: at first maybe 20 minutes, then 30, then 40 at a time twice a week. This is a fantastic exercise schedule. I bet you can do this for yourself. What a gift!

Then the day will come—in the not-so-distant future—when you no longer want to sit on the couch and have more chocolate… There is no guilt, there is no embarrassment on Facebook. Instead, you write a status update that says, “I’ve been exercising like never before. And now I want some extra chocolate…and I’m gonna have it because I’ve earned it!”