I love my couch time. I slide onto the couch, grab a bag o’ chips, and binge whatever show I’m watching that week (If it’s got swords or space, I’m in!). It’s fun. I love what I watch, and it’s a great way to relax after a tough day.
Butt, it started to show. That’s really supposed to be “butt,” It got really big. Even fat. Walking up stairs wasn’t fun either. I used to black out a little when I got to the top, wheezing. No one likes that.
You’ve probably been there, too. Not many people are happy about their looks. We could all use a little less jiggle and a lot more hustle. It’s just so hard making it a habit.
After a few years, exercise is a big part of my life. I run marathons and go for long bike rides. Wanna know how I got there? This is what did it for me.
A Real Goal
There’s one big reason why I didn’t exercise. I didn’t like to exercise. I couldn’t motivate myself to go to the gym just for the sake of sweating. Watching Firefly for the 30th time is way more fun than that.
Sure. I knew it would make me “healthy” and I’d be less likely to “die.” That was never enough. That’s what science says, too.
Daniel Lieberman, an expert in evolutionary biology, says that people didn’t evolve to exercise for its own sake. It’s just not enough to motivate us.
What got me off my duff? A race. My friends convinced me to run a 5K. That’s a long way. It’s like a thousand laps from the couch to the fridge! There’s no way I could just do it.
So, I trained. I wanted to be able to run the race with my friends. I had a real goal, and that gave me the motivation I needed.
Loads Of Data
Data helped me, too. I got a MaxFit smart band to track my progress. It gives me tons of great data to see how I’m doing.
It’s got all the basic features I need. It tracks my distance, steps, and it even monitors my heart rate. Pretty cool, right.
Even if you’re not a supercool, spreadsheet guy like me, a tracker can help you see how far you’ve run or walked so you can stick to your workout. It’s a must for tracking your effort.
The Right Attitude
Most New Year’s resolutions fail. I’d get really excited and make big plans. Then I’d be back on the couch by February. There are a ton of reasons why most resolutions fail by February. Here are the two of the big ones for me.
Too Much Too Fast
Whenever I’d try to start exercising again, I’d go all-in. I’d set my alarm for 5:00 AM every day so I could get out the door. I’d sign up for the toughest classes. I just couldn’t keep up with my plans, and I set myself up for failure. Back to Battlestar Gallactica.
The other problem? I’d beat myself up every time I missed a workout. I’m a failure. I’ll never lose the weight. I’ll never get fit. I might as well go back to the couch.
When you start to train, you need to expect to miss a workout. If missing occasionally is part of the plan, then you don’t beat yourself up for doing it.
The right attitude goes a long way.
The Right Gear
When you use the wrong gear for a workout it’s tough to keep going. Bad shoes make your legs hurt. Cotton T-shirts will chafe your nipples. When it hurts to exercise, you’re gonna stop.
So, before you start, you need to get the right gear. The best way to know what you need is to ask others for help. If you wanna run, ask a runner for what you need. If you’re going to bicycle, ask a cyclist.
Don’t forget recovery gear. Exercise isn’t just about doing the actual workout. You also need to recover. Most athletes use compression gear to help their muscles recover after a tough workout.
Even with all of the above, the most important reason I kept going was my friends. It’s a lot easier to keep exercising if you have friends who do it, too.
When I started running, I joined a training group. We ran all our weekend long runs together. After a few weeks, they were some of my best friends. I looked forward to seeing them every Saturday. They were the real reason I kept running.
So, if you’ve got more jiggle than you want, try these ideas to help you get going. Remember not to try too much too fast. Just a little at a time, and you’ll get your goals.