I’m a totally average person trying to figure out how to be fit, just like you are. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a dietitian. But I believe in the power of community. I’ve found a lot of inspiration and motivation from blogs and personal stories, so I like to share mine even though I’m not an expert! (Although, disclaimer: I do have the doctors at Horizons look over my blogs to make sure nothing I say is wrong or unhelpful!)
Sometimes I read how-to articles and they make me laugh because they make it seem so simple. They try to wow you with all these tips for living a better life, but I think what it really requires is to have a deeper understanding of yourself.
I went through a list from health.com on “How to Become an Exercise Addict” (ha!) and found a few good tips, a few laughable tips, but also a narrative for sharing some of the things that have helped and are currently helping me.
Find a niche – this is is one I’ll 100% agree with! I’ve made so. many. plans. I never stick with weight lifting plans, or spinning classes, or Zumba (worst class ever – I looked like an awkward praying mantis trying to dance), and I certainly wouldn’t even bother with something like CrossFit.
Signing up for a race, though? Yes! Signing up for even short runs like 5K races has consistently helped me stay on a schedule. I NEVER assumed I would win in a race against other people so it wasn’t about that. My commitment level is not that high. But the idea of finishing the race and maybe beating a previous time (or simply running the entire race if it’s longer, like a 10K), that gets me motivated! Currently I’m contemplating doing my first half marathon, so I might sign up for the Flying Pig in Cincinnati.
Further to the fitness classes, the article says finding a good fitness instructor is like dating and it could take a while- don’t tell me that! I’m 30 and single, and still looking for the “right” man. Maybe this is why I didn’t like Zumba. My first Zumba instructor could have been the equivalent of my first boyfriend, and who likes thinking about that?!
Get techy/social – I believe in this not for accountability, but for motivation! Reading healthy living blogs (like this one) changed my life because it showed a different way of eating and living, and made it seem normal. Not that it’s not normal – it just wasn’t the norm for me at the time. I didn’t have anyone in my life at the time who focused on fitness as well as eating a whole foods, plant-based diet (here is my favorite book on this topic). This is the great thing about the Internet. You can “surround” yourself with whatever type of person you want to become. Additionally, using apps like MapMyRun and MyFitnessPal enabled me to see exactly how far I was running/walking and what I was actually consuming during a day vs what I assumed I was consuming. I moved to Ohio from England and my whole life changed. I stopped reading blogs and I got out of the habit of cooking gorgeous, healthy food. I’m starting the process over again, but reading blogs is already getting me pumped about being back in the kitchen!
Pay for it – Um … no. The article says to join an upscale gym if possible, because you’ll be more likely to go. Maybe YOU will be, but from personal experience I can tell you that I paid $100 for a monthly gym membership and signed a ONE YEAR contract that I couldn’t get out of. I went maybe five times, in January. I prefer programs like Couch to 5K, because they’re free! And if you fail, so what? You’re ever so slightly fitter than you were before? Still a plus. At least you tried to break away from Netflix, which totally gives you the right to judge the people who couldn’t walk away from Walter White for two months (me). I feel the same about hiring a trainer – the money won’t make me more likely to show up because I don’t know him/her so I don’t really care if I’m a disappointment.
Plan a fitness-focused vacation – This is something I love doing! And even if it’s not fitness-focused I try to plan at least one healthy activity. When I went to Florida this January I planned an early morning run along the beach. Even better is that things like hiking, running, walking, cycling are all FREE. Granted there is the hotel bill, but it certainly beats $100+ for a Disney ticket. Per person.
Last year I planned three trips centered around climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales. I got to see the country side and experience different cultures while also accomplishing something I never thought I could do! (I was living in the UK at the time so these were weekend trips vs international vacations!)
Even if you’re not doing anything on your vacation, a vacation is still good for your mind, and thus good for YOU.
I am lucky enough to work for someplace like Horizons, where everyone has the same attitude toward fitness and health – that it’s about community and real people. In coming days we’ll be starting a forum so we can all share ideas and provide support to each other on anything from weight loss tips to HCG recipes. Until then, I hope you’re still having a great 20FITteen!