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12 Jan

MOOD: FRUSTRATED where did my gym mojo go?

CAUTION! A crime has been committed. BY me or TO me. Maybe both. At least that’s how it feels.

I am trying EVERYTHING to get my workout mojo back. I’ve stolen my teen’s “beats” headphones and church was selfishly used Christmas eve, as I desperately seek any and all divine intervention.

Here are AJR’s “Weak” song lyrics that inspired this post. “Am I weak? And what’s wrong with that. Boy oh boy I love you when I fall for that. My habits they call me like a grudge. But I give in so easily. And no thank you is how it should go. I should stay strong, but I’m weak and what’s wrong with that boy oh boy I love you when I fall for that.”

I’ve actually been to the gym. But I can’t say that I’m my same self. We can’t expect every workout to be epic. However, we all know when our soul just isn’t in it. I truly believe that to achieve goals we’ve got to want it. Anything I’ve achieved has been because I simply allowed myself no other option. I wanted it. Before it felt as if I could move a mountain with my bare hands. This is what I trained for. Now I feel weak.

Stuff happens. I sprained my ankle. Then it was the holidays, a bad cold, bronchitis, snow. When it rains it pours.

Sometimes we’ve got to admit we need help. So for all of us who have or are suffering from MIA mojo, I’ve enlisted health coach Adele Bonnie to share with us below some words of wisdom. It feels as if I’ve tried everything but maybe I’m missing something. Let’s see what I’ve been doing right and wrong. I have:

☑ removed from closet workout clothes that don’t bring me joy or make me feel good about myself
☑ purchased new exercise outfits that do bring me joy and make me feel good about myself
☑ created new playlists of music for more joy while working out
☑ Added stretching, foam rolling for more recovery
☑ tried at home exercise videos just to do some activity
☑ used new gift of infusion water bottle for extra hydration
☑ took yoga (never do yoga, not my favorite)
☑ watched hairstyle tutorial videos and tried 2 (to make getting out more fun and quick) Here is my favorite because it is the quickest and easiest Equinox’s Furthermore Faux Fishtail
☑ pushed myself to do as many decline push-ups as possible albeit far less than achieved in the past
☑ pushed myself to do squats and dead-lifts but with much less weight than before
☑ shifted diet from vacation mode to everyday mode (no more nightly dessert sadly)
☑ added morning coffee for energy boost (decaf or regular, sometimes a mix, depending on how I feel)

Like Vivienne, I usually love to work out but given the combination of the holidays, cold weather, overindulgence in cocktails, and lack of sleep, I’ve lacked motivation lately too. Vivienne has tried a lot of things to help her feel more enthusiastic about working out! I love that she’s mixed up her routine – sometimes that’s all that’s needed to get excited again. I’ve done the same thing with trying a new class (Washington D.C.’s Elevate Fitness) and so far, I love it.

In times like these, I find it really helpful to reassure ourselves and take a step back to look at the big picture. It’s normal to lack motivation, especially around the holidays. I don’t think there are any tricks to always being perfectly motivated. Instead, let’s change how we think about exercise and the motivation for it.

Motivation is a feeling. Feelings come and go. So just accept that sometimes we’ll not feel like exercising. Sometimes we’ll lie on the sofa. Don’t beat yourself up when that happens, because despite what most of us think, being hard on ourselves isn’t helpful in the long run. It really doesn’t matter in the long run if we’ve taken a mini break. What matters is what we do consistently, over time. When people tell me they’re not seeing results it’s almost always due to lack of consistency. The way to develop consistency is by forming a habit. When something is a habit, we don’t rely on motivation. We just do it automatically. Think about exercise the way we would about flossing or getting our finances in order. It isn’t just for right now; it’s for a lifetime.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn

There are differing opinions on how long it takes to from a habit. Some say 21 days. Others say 30. Getting regular physical activity is a more complex habit than, say, flossing. It requires time, as well as some planning. There may be tweaks we need to make along the way. Give it 2-8 months and remember that in the beginning, the most important thing is the habit itself, not weight loss or toning. That WILL happen, but give the habit time to take root!

How to form a habit? That can be a lengthy topic, but here are 7 things to try:

1) Finding our deepest, most meaningful reason for being active will help sustain the habit when we just aren’t feeling it. So let’s ask ourselves this question: “What is it about getting fit that’s most important to us?”. And then keep asking “what is it about THAT that’s important” until we get to the answer that feels like our deepest reason. Let’s say our initial answer is “I want to get fit so I’ll lose weight and look good in my jeans”. The follow up question would be “what’s important about losing weight and looking good in my jeans?”. The answer might be “to feel more confident.” THAT would be our real reason. Write it down and remind ourselves of that whenever our motivation wanes.

2) Think of an immediate payoff from working out, such as the fun derived from a game of tennis, or the feeling of accomplishment we get after a hard workout.

3) Do an activity we LIKE or think we might. Don’t force ourselves to run if we hate running.

4) Take baby steps. Whether we’re forming a new exercise habit or trying to get back into it, try keeping it TINY. As in, 5 push-ups. 10 squats. Running for 5 minutes. Why? Because consistency is the most important part of forming or sustaining a habit.

5) Ditch the idea that a workout has to take a long time. There’s been a lot of buzz recently about how extremely short workouts can be highly effective. Vivienne previously wrote about that on Moodsey – IN THE MOOD… LESS GYM TIME, MORE RESULTS. Explore possibilities for simple at home body weight exercises. Vivienne also previously wrote about just this – Best Digital Workouts. Try this quick, effective workout from The New York Times The Scientific 7 Minute Workout.

6) Plan a realistic time and block your calendar as a “date” for working out, and then just do it, whether we feel like it or not. Do not even think whether or not we feel like it in the moment. Plan ahead and then execute.

7) Make sure we’re getting enough sleep. There is nothing surer to derail a workout plan than feeling exhausted. Having a few extra cocktails doesn’t help, either. we all overdo it on occasion but if it’s a chronic issue developing good sleep habits may need to come first.

The most important thing is consistency. So when life gets in the way, just do something!

If you like this post, also check out IN THE MOOD, GYM INSPIRATION.

If you want to take your workout plan for the new year to another level and try what’s called a macrocycle strategy, like professional athletes, read Why You Should Try Macrocycle Training.

If you want to know more, here is How Long Does It Actually Take To Form A Habit? (Backed By Science).

Adele will reply to questions if you have them, please comment below.

Collaborative post with RN, Certified Personal Trainer, Duke-trained Integrative Health Coach Adele Bonnie. Check out her website for more guidance because she, like Moodsey, is all about sharing not selling – at SanelyFit.

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2 Comments
  • Natalia

    I exercise in the mornings and the dark winter mornings are so tough. Thanks for the tips – I now go to bed just a half hour earlier and it makes all the difference, especially as followed another suggestion and thrown out some of those old gym clothes that didn’t make me feel good.

    January 30, 2017 at 5:48 pm Reply
  • Penelope P

    Perfect timing. I’m in a funk too! Spring coming and the dreadful anticipation of peeling off the layers is motivating me to follow these helpful tips to get back on track! Thx!

    February 5, 2017 at 11:38 pm Reply

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