We all know that starting a workout routine sucks at first.
It takes a week or two to get into the swing of things. Until that time, you’re fighting your mental anti-exercise demon that’s coming up with all kinds of clever reasons why you should just skip your workout.
I fight that little devil every morning when I wake up at 3:50am to run with my husband. Yes, I said 3:50am.
He wanted to get back into morning runs and I love a workout partner. However, I’m more used to working out somewhere between 5-7am, not 4 (immediately upon waking up).
Some thoughts that creep through my head before I actually went out for the run:
- It’s cold outside.
- I didn’t get enough sleep.
- My legs feel kind of sore and achy.
- I don’t feel like running this morning.
- Maybe we could go for a run when he gets home from work instead?
- Skipping it this one time won’t hurt.
In my brain, I immediately think: if I’m not giving it my all, I may as well not do anything at all. We call this “all-or-nothing thinking” and just about every health coaching client I’ve worked with can relate to this.
I got around this by doing the following steps:
- I got up to go to the bathroom and take my morning supplements… the normal routine.
- I went into my closet and slowly started putting on my running clothes before my husband even woke up.
- I told myself that we were just going to go for a quick walk… but just in case, I should put on running clothes.
- I went back to bed and sat there until his alarm went off… and I checked a few things on my phone (like Facebook and emails).
- By the time my husband was awake, I was feeling more awake and talking myself out of it less and less.
- I continued to finish getting ready while he was getting dressed– all the while, telling myself that this would probably just be a nice walk.
- As we stepped outside and started walking, I realized that it was indeed cold.
- In order to warm up without a jacket on, I needed to start jogging. So, I did.
- After a little bit of walk-jogging, my body and mind were warmed up and alert. They said, “let’s do this!”
- After a 30 minute jog-run, I was sweaty and full of energy… ready to start a productive day!
The biggest problem with making exercise a habit is OVERTHINKING IT! Here are some ways we overthink exercise:
- What would be the BEST workout for me?
- This is probably going to be painful.
- I don’t want to look like a fool.
- The weather is too hot or too cold or too rainy or too snowy, etc.
- “I’m not a morning person”.
- Should I eat before or after I workout?
- For how long should I workout? What if I don’t have an hour to dedicate to it?
- Am I doing this right?
- Should I use gym equipment or do a workout outside?
The best workout is the one you do. Period.
It’s difficult for some of us to wrap out mind around lowering our standards just a bit. We believe that if we aren’t striving for the best, then we’ll not do anything at all.
If this were true, I think that I would have gained back the 150 pounds I lost over six years ago and wouldn’t be writing this article for you today.
Everything you do for your health doesn’t have to be perfect. Each decision you make will not greatly increase or decrease your ability to lose weight, get more fit, or improve your health. However, consistency does keep you on route.
If you’re working out 4 days out of 7, you’re still making progress… If you working out for only 20 minutes, you’re still making progress.
Something to think about the next time you’re mentally juggling the thought, “Maybe I’ll skip today’s workout”…
Now, for a good laugh for you about lowered expectations via MADtv:
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