The Answer To Finding The Motivation To Exercise

Getting fit after a break

This weekend was the big test; I was going to take myself for an interval jog eight weeks after my baby was born. I sat in bed contemplating my next move for ages; my baby boy had been fed so I was able to go. I know that the “first time back” after any event –let alone a pregnancy- is always hard, but instead of motivation I felt dread and apathy which eventually lead to frustration. I wanted to read the paper, have a coffee and do another 1000 things before exercising. What is the answer to finding the motivation to exercise?
People assume that because I teach and write about exercise, I am automatically driven and always dedicated to the fitness cause. It is hard for people to imagine that after 20 years of coaching and training clients, I –too- face the unavoidable battle to finding the motivation to exercise.

motivation to exercise

It is an interesting psychology. The brain thinks of all reasons to NOT do it and to stay at home, or to delay it till later. Despite all the knowledge of exercise benefits you may have, it seems that at the point of going for it, it’s hard to remember why you are doing it. Excuses almost sound like reasons and the mountain ahead looks impressively big when standing at the bottom looking up. So where oh where is that magical formula that makes you leap up and dive head first into your chosen activity? Research has been done, articles have been written, but is there really that magical wand that helps you along and lets you discover that miraculous bucket of strength and motivation that propels you into regular exercise? I think not.

So, you have clicked on this article to find the answer, to find motivation, to resolve once and for all the problem of wanting to be healthy and fit so much, yet never finding the time or the will to do so. There will always be more reasons to NOT do something and those reasons will pop into your mind at a drop of a hat. The only remedy to surpass them is sheer determination, the strength to put yourself first for once and a laser like approach with a tenacity and a conviction that nothing and no one can stand in your way. How hard is that? Very hard and that’s why few accomplish it. Regard every exercise opportunity as a junction. There is a left turn that is sticking to your intention and then there is a right turn that –even with the best reasons in the world- is a distraction. You can help yourself with the following strategies:

  • Keep your workouts shorter rather than longer; it is better to do 30 minutes then skip the workout because you think you have too little time…make time!
  • Under-promise and over-deliver; set yourself an easy target that you are confident you will achieve and then try and surpass it. It will boost your resolve.
  • Do exercises and workouts you enjoy and possibly integrate them with your (family) life; cycling to work or walking to do the school drop off, lunch time exercise breaks, a social game of sport and so on.
  • Keep variety high and choose different activities in the week.

I will be posting regular articles on how I am getting on, as well as tips and advice on getting healthy and fit whilst juggling a busy life. Go for it and stick with it. Good luck!

Very Pregnant and Preparing for an Exam

I think I am on the home stretch, apart from a tiny, miniscule little hurdle that I have yet to overcome. I am 33 weeks and counting down to both my final exam and of course the due date. Precisely in this moment, when I am surrounded by my books, old exam papers and pages and pages full of notes lying next to spider diagrams and revision tools, it is hard to say which one I am more looking forward to be over! How did I get into this situation that I am pregnant and preparing for an exam (which I will actually sit when I am 36 weeks gone!).

The people close to me will probably laugh with amusement, not in the least bit surprised. I like a full life and taking exams is all about ticking boxes and completing things. I remember joking with my tutor and my fellow students about needing to keep baby in until the exam was finished and how it would be helpful to sit down and study and have something to focus on in the last weeks. It all feels a bit different now! I study in the mornings when my brain is fresh, I am propped up with cushions in my chair as my back gets stiff and I have frequent study breaks due to needing a wee. This past weekend I attended a Day School in order to prepare for the exam in June. My Goodness I was exhausted and fried by the time I got home, at least I was clearer on the mountain of work that lies ahead of me!pregnant exam

At a time where I should be slowing down I am still travelling at the same speed, doing all the things I did before and occasionally really paying the price for it when I feel like death warmed up by the time my sons are in bed. I just can’t get a grip on this thing of re-setting my expectations and my boundaries. I have come to the conclusion that albeit I need to surrender more, put my feet up and soak up these remarkable moments or being kicked and punched from the inside, it isn’t altogether bad that I think I can do more. I reach, I stretch and go the extra step. Ok, I admit, I sometimes go a step too far, but I still exercise, I still work and I am fully embracing life. I feel good and I am looking forward to meet the little life inside me, but he will come when he is ready and then so will I be.
Until that time, I have an exam to complete!

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