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10 Steps to Keep Yourself Motivated to Exercise Regularly

10 Steps to Keep Yourself Motivated to Exercise Regularly

Disclaimer: I am not a trained health and wellness guru, nor am I medical doctor. Before embarking on any exercise activities, you should consult with your doctor or healthcare professional.

Exercise. It’s an important part of any healthy lifestyle. Exercising can be one of the hardest activities to commit to doing regularly. Scheduling a workout is easy, but getting yourself to partake in some form of physical activity (i.e. exercise) is where things get tricky. Many friends, relatives, acquaintances, and people I meet often complain about wanting to exercise regularly, but all seem to have excuses why they are unable to do so.

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There are a combination of factors why people don’t exercise, a few of these factors are: 1) lack of time, or engagement with other activities that are deemed of higher priority than exercise, 2) physical restrictions, such as having an injury or disability, 3) good ol’ laziness, and 4) being ill. Aside from being ill, three of these excuses can likely be addressed and dismissed with a little motivation.

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Below are 10 steps I use to motivate myself to exercise more regularly:

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  • Determine the types of physical activity you like or dislike, as well as the activities that you physically can or cannot do. Focus on doing the activities you enjoy, can do, and able are to financially afford. You don’t need to sign up to a gym contract to get a good work-out. There are an endless number of exercises you can do without gym equipment or weights. You can learn more about such exercises by researching websites and videos online using search terms like “exercises without weights”. The key is to explore and try new and enjoyable ways of becoming and staying physically active.
  • Visualize performing the exercise activity. William Arthur Ward was quoted saying, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” This quote holds true even for small feats, like going on a daily jog. Visualizing gives your brain something to do before your body does it. It also makes exercising seem more surmountable, considering any obstacles one may face.
  • Time limit your activity and don’t cut yourself short. Tyler Durden from Fight Club said it best, “Don’t let the things you own, own you.” Your job, cell phone, computer, friends, or family can take up a lot of time, but surely you can grant yourself some time to eat, sleep, and use the bathroom, so why not a few minutes for exercise? For example, you can start with 5 or 10 minutes, three days a week, and build up from there. Even if you’re super busy traveling the world, you can take 5-10 minutes to stretch and do some push-ups or sit-ups wherever you are. You can always increase or decrease the time you spend exercising!
  • Form an exercise habit, no matter how small it is. One good habit can lead to another. Committing to too much exercise can burn a person out, especially if they haven’t had an exercise habit for a considerable period. Similarly, if you haven’t worked out for a long time, try starting with basic activities, such as simply dressing in your work-out gear, or going for a walk around the house or your neighbourhood. The key is to take time out for yourself and do something physical. Even taking 5 minutes to stretch your body is a good start, so long as you can keep doing it regularly.
  • Set milestones and goals for yourself. Having a fitness goal in mind can be helpful to staying focused. For example, if you wanted to be able to do 30 pull-ups in 60 seconds, you would want to work towards that goal by having several milestones, such as 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 pull ups in between. Milestones ensure you keep sight of your goal by having a set of achievable and quantifiable steps leading up to your goal.
  • Get involved in the social aspect of it. Exercising alone can be a bore. Fortunately, in the digital age, it is easy to connect with fellow exercise enthusiasts who enjoy meeting up with others to partake in exercise activities of shared interest. Facebook friends, Eventbrite events, local running clubs, social fitness apps etc. all help to connect you to other people who can motivate and make it more enjoyable to exercise.
  • Build interest in the industry. For example, if you are getting into tennis, learning more about tennis racquets, string types and tensions, tennis clothing, tennis ball types etc. are all part of the journey towards becoming a more informed player. Learning about the industry products and services will give you a greater interest and appreciation for your chosen sport or activity, as well as possibly helping you boost your performance, if you learn of new methods to improve and become a better player/participant.
  • Work towards your ideal self. Remind yourself of the body and figure you see your ideal self possessing and exercise your way towards it. Let’s be clear, that apart from possible health issues, there is nothing wrong with being overweight, but a person may have a self-image problem if they feel their self-confidence reduced because of their weight or body shape. There is no harm in imagining and working towards or retaining the body you want.
  • Having a better lifestyle. Once you start to feel the benefits of regular exercise, you may also start to become more conscious of the food you eat and other aspects of your health. Exercising, eating and drinking right, as well as adequate sleep, are all important factors of living a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy and getting adequate sleep will make it easier to retain your exercise routine.

Don’t quit. Just because you may find it hard to continue to commit yourself to three 10-minute sessions a week doesn’t mean you should stop altogether. Some physical activity is better than no physical activity at all. Don’t quit because you fall short of your milestones or goals. Forgive yourself for slipping up, dust yourself off, and try again. The longer you hold your exercise habit, the less likely you will quit, and the more likely you will build upon it!

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

The Truth of Rapid Weight Loss: How to Actually Shed Pounds

The Truth of Rapid Weight Loss: How to Actually Shed Pounds

“If I drink this supplement, will I lose 40 pounds in two weeks?”

 Another consultation with a new member in the fitness center that I manage, and yet another person that fell prey to the marketing-trap of a supplement company that promised immediate results and rapid weight loss.

Rapid weight loss is enticing. It speaks to our human nature. It’s unfortunately also a false fantasy of ours.

The truth is that while you might be able to lose weight in a very short time, it’s practically impossible to keep it off. Here’s why and how you can actually shed pounds sustainably and continuously.

The Key to Patience

A mentor of mine once told me bluntly: You can have it all young man. You can be a great salesman and entrepreneur. You can run a successful business. As long as you just refuse to give up.

Is it that simple? It is.

I came into a management position at a young age not because I’m the brightest but because I outlasted my colleagues.

There are a lot of similarities between business and the results in the gym. They just produce different rewards.

If something isn’t working simply because you don’t have the patience to push through, develop this crucial piece of the puzzle before moving on.

You can learn more about just how long it takes to build muscle and lose fat here.

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The Art of Weight Loss

Weight loss is simple, but not easy.

It’s not easy because it goes against our nature. We all have to know that our ancestors dealt with much rougher situations than we did. Over millions of years our genome has evolved to store energy in order to prepare for rainy days.

Only in the recent decades have we gone from scarcity to absolute abundance. The supermarket just around my corner contains ripe fruits from all over the world. Packaged, conserved foods that can be stored in our shelf for years to come.

While our recently-evolved, self-conscious forebrain is demanding us to keep losing 10 more pounds, our genome is desperately trying to hold on to all of those bits of energy storage, making rapid weight loss nearly impossible.

Fat cells used to be our friends, and now they’re enemies. (Find out more about the reason why here.) In order to beat them and lose weight, we have to learn to go against nature and trick our genome.

How to Trick Your Genome

What if I told you that there is a way to soothe your genome and your brain at the same time? How can we manipulate both of these entities to reach our goals?

Here’s everything that you need to know about substantial and sustainable weight loss in one sentence: Calories and satiety are not linked.

We can eat a huge McDonalds meal with thousands of calories but still feel hungry after one hour. We can scoop out some ice cream late at night, and the only time we feel satiated is after we’ve gained 2 more pounds.

On the other hand, we can eat 1-2 cups of broccoli or spinach and often feel full. What matters is the caloric density and the seven crucial factors influencing satiety.

7 Parts of Satiety

Hunger and satiety are sensations. Satiety is the absence of hunger. If we feel satiated, we feel full. If we feel full, we’re more likely to stick to a diet.

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If calories are not linked to satiety, which factors are? Lucky for us, a study on satiety gave us some answers. The researchers concluded:[1]

Servings of different foods vary greatly in their satiating capacity.[2]

Optimize satiety for rapid weight loss

    And the effect of a food on one’s satiety is important, as the satiety heavily influences our future eating behavior. These are the components that played a role.

    Fiber

    Fiber fills up your stomach and speeds up digestion through your small intestine. This means that less macronutrients will get absorbed. Therefore, also less calories.

    Foods containing fiber-entrapped natural sugars produced the highest satiety scores in the whole study. If you want to feel full, start taking in more fruits and vegetables.

    Sensory Information

    Studies have shown that our sensory information can play a huge part in our satiety and rapid weight loss. We’re primed to seek a variety of foods, but if we routinize the habit of eating the same foods during our eating breaks, satiety might come earlier.[3]

    Water

    If a food contains more water, it will naturally also be less calorie dense. Not only that, but the increased water content also fills up our stomach more, boosting feelings of satiety.

    Protein and Carbohydrates

    Protein and (good) carbohydrates seem to have great satiating effects. Both of these macronutrients can, therefore, help you lose fat more easily. However, stay away from fatty products, as fat was inversely correlated with satiety. Fat also contains nearly double the calories.

    Plate Size

    The bigger the plate size, the more calories you will consume, which will slow you down on the road to rapid weight loss.[4] This may seem obvious, but many people eat far more than they should simply because they fill up a plate that’s bigger than a normal portion size.

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    Amount of Fat Cells

    Our fat cells, scientifically called adipocytes, release a hormone called leptin. Leptin levels are significantly higher in obese individuals. When we start dieting, our leptin level goes down fast—too fast. It’s an indication to our brain that we’re starving.

    We suddenly feel hunger, have reduced motivation, and burn less calories at rest. This means that if we’re overweight, our body wants to keep us like that.[5]

    Serotonin

    Do you ever wonder why chocolate is so addictive? This tasty, dark food is releasing serotonin in our bodies to the same extent as cigarettes. This explains why stress often causes weight gain.

    They crave that good-feeling neurotransmitter that gets released in our brains. This means that the less stress we have and the better we feel, the more satiety we will experience.[6]

    The Next Steps

    “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abraham Lincoln

    It’s time that we start thinking about long-term weight results when it comes to weight reduction. We have to realize that if we use the dieting approach to rapid weight loss, we’re losing both muscle and fat mass.

    This means that every time we start a diet, it gets harder, not easier.

    It’s therefore absolutely crucial that we start with the end in mind. We have to start a diet that is sustainable for months to come. There are three ways to do that:

    1. Focus on Satiety

    While a calorie deficit is important, we also have to focus on staying full. If our brain thinks we’re starving, our diet is doomed to fail.

    If we fight against our genome, we enter a war we can not win. If we fight against our genome, we enter a war we can not win. Eat high protein foods while avoiding processed foods. This will get you started.

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    2. Add Weightlifting and Cardiovascular Training to Your Schedule

    Weightlifting and cardio can improve the ratio of lost fat and muscle mass and keep us healthy. Increased muscle mass will also make it easier to keep off the weight, as it increases our caloric need.

    You can learn more about why cardio is so good for you in this article.

    3. Add Incremental Changes

    A diet shouldn’t necessarily be a diet. It should be a long-term dietary change for the better. We lay the groundwork to our dieting success by beginning with the end in mind.

    Try making one small change to your diet each week to avoid shocking your body and mind. As you work incrementally, you’ll train your body to adjust slowly and sustainably.

    Conclusion

    Rapid weight loss is a false fantasy. There’s no supplement that will help you lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks.

    It’s practically impossible to keep the weight off long-term if you do this because the dietary switch was never sustainable in the first place.

    Instead of focusing on short-term results, we should pay special attention to long-term habit change to get us to a healthy weight and more balanced levels of body fat.

    Weight loss is a trojan horse. We might expect superficial results like an improved reflection in the mirror, but if we begin with the end in mind and focus on long-term habit change, it affects multiple components of our existence and can lead to a better quality of life overall.

    More Weight Loss Tips

    Featured photo credit: Meghan Holmes via unsplash.com

    Reference

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