How to Get in the Habit of Working Out
Passion is not the same as excitement. Excitement fades. Passion you have to keep working at. Just because something is your passion does not mean that it is easy all the time. You have to do the work. You have to do the chores. Writing in the beginning was 80% chore now it is about 50% chore/hard work. Just because something is hard work does not mean it is NOT your passion. Passion is how you feel after the accomplishment, not always during the work to gain the goal/focus. –The Minimalists, Podcast on ‘Passion”
As I reflected on this idea of passion, cultivating a passion is similar to cultivating the habit of working out most days. Back when I was a triathlete I had signed up to do an Ironman after successfully finishing a Half Ironman in 2009. I was excited and had done some research on different styles of training and coaches in the area I was living (San Diego the mecca of Triathlon). I was looking for a few things, but the training style that my coach employed was a bit different than many traditional training plans in two ways. The focus was not on volume building long slow volume first and then speed later (traditional endurance style), but on speed and intensity first and then adding volume later. The other difference was there was no designated ‘rest’ day. There were lighter days, but the philosophy was 1) if you are tired, take a rest day when you need it and 2) most people have so many life commitments that typically you end up taking a rest day regardless due to the chaos of life.
The subtlety about the lack of rest day went like this: if you feel tired, and you just don’t want to do your workout, that’s OK, BUT you have to try 20 mins first. Just get there. Just try a few mins. Just give it a go. If after 20mins you are feeling still blah or worse, call it a day. At least you got 20mins done!!
Just Show Up
Getting to the gym is much the same way. It is easy to talk yourself out of it. I don’t want to. I don’t feel like it. Not again. But the reality is, it is very similar to passions: sometimes you just have to do the work to reap the benefits. Just do 20 mins. Just get to the gym and hang out for 20mins. If you are a beginner and trying to get in the habit of exercising most days, just get to the gym. Don’t worry about working out the first month you start going, just get there. Play on the cardio. Take a class, but make it a commitment in your calendar to get to the gym every day you schedule. If you currently go 0x a week, try to be consistent at 1x a week on a particular day at a particular time. You might say my goal is 3x a week, which is great, but at first focus on at least 1x a week is the goal and then move up to more.
I had a time in my life where getting my training done was really, really hard due to some chaos in my personal life. So for a long time, I would just go to the gym and sit on the stationary bike for 20 mins and call it good. Was I in optimal health? No, but I continued to just show up. Eventually I moved forward and found things that brought more joy to my training, and my life eased up a bit too and I found space to enjoy the working out more too. But the principle behind it is: just show up. Do the work. Show up. Rinse. Repeat.
Simple but not Easy
While this principle is simple, I understand that it is not easy. Here are a few ways to make it easier:
- Schedule your week, and schedule it into your calendar.
- Have a workout buddy. Maybe they can’t be one everyday, but a few times a week is always helpful.
- Hire a coach. Find someone you can trust to help you through this and that will keep you accountable.
- Find activities you LIKE to do. Don’t care for the gym, but love going to the park with your kids. Chase them around make a point of being active with them. Love to hike? Find a hike near by and make a commitment to go on the trails. Don’t like gyms? Find some weights and and book on body weight exercises and exercise from the comfort of your home. Love to play ultimate frisbee or tennis, basketball, dancing? Find a league and try it out. Bike around the neighborhood. Take your dog for a longer walk. Find little things that you enjoy doing here or there. They do add up.
Don’t complicate getting more active by thinking it needs to be one specific way. Just get out and get moving. You will be happy you did.
Wellness Habits is about cultivating personal change one habit at a time Mind-Body-Spirit. I work with people who are trying to lose weight, get their finances in order, and those looking to overcome the inner chatter that keeps them from pursuing the life that they want. Interested in working with me or just want to find out more? Contact Coach Joanna here:
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