My second trick for making exercise happen in my life is being gentle and pacing myself (Trick # 1).
It sounds simple, maybe even obvious, but we all have experience with being too hard on ourselves when it comes to attaining personal goals. Fitness is an area where we tend to be particularly extreme, taking the everything-all-at-once approach verses the slow and steady commitment to incremental change.
Many of us have been (or at least know) that person that starts a new health regimen and are suddenly exercising 5-7 days a week, living on protein shakes, counting calories, observing whatever the latest fad is in extreme dieting in hopes of seeing results, and fast!
And did it work? No.
Are we still doing it? Of course not. It's too hard and restrictive. It's like an all-out sprint; we can't keep it up forever. We burn out because it's not fun, it doesn't leave room for failure or struggles and most importantly, it doesn't make us happy.
At Metabolic Effect, there's a saying used when training clients, "Push until you can't, rest until you can." It's a concept that I apply to all of my life, but it's especially helpful in fitness.
Be gentle, take rest when you need it so when the times are right, you can push hard to make lasting change.
Small and consistent growth takes time. We're not going to read a book, buy a DVD, join a gym, or try a meal plan and suddenly know how we will stay fit and healthy for the rest of our lives.
We will take a series of baby steps. Through experimentation, we will cultivate an understanding of types of movement and a style of eating that is sustainable and effective for us as individuals and we will build on that.
This takes patience and time. Some days will feel like successes and others, failure. You have to shake off the bad days and view it all as part of the process.
So if you have tried to do any of the following:
get back to size____
get rid of that gut
get back to your pre-baby weight
and you've taken the hare approach and failed, then it might be time to learn from the tortoise. Try not to get hung up on the physiques of these two animals, because I happen to know some very lean turtles and some not-so-lean rabbits.
Start taking baby steps today. You already know and can list your bad habits, and you're aware of some good habits you need incorporate into your routine.
Some things about exercise are universal. If you want to lose fat and keep it off you have to gain muscle and in order to gain muscle, you have to lift weights and eat a high protein/vegetable strong diet.
But how often you lift, how you lift, when you lift, and how you balance your diet and cravings, what things treats you allow yourself to have and when that's individual. That's up to you to find out and it's a process that takes time.
If you're going to embark on this journey, it's best to find allies and accountability in friends or workout partners. You might need to find groups, classes or coaches (like myself!) in person or online that inspire, challenge, and encourage you.
It's going to take some time and there are going to be great days and hard days, but there are time-efficient, individualized ways to do it and a solid support/inspiration network will help you succeed.
If you want Cultivate's help in starting this process, use the link below to sign up for Germinate! ,
my 5 week program to help you make a new start in creating your life of wellness.