This might not be the typical post you would see on our blog, but because exercise and nutrition are so closely connected, we figured we could quickly talk about it in between recipes...
As some of you might know (especially if you follow our Instagram page regularly), besides cooking and developing recipes I am also a fitness instructor and personal trainer. I have been doing it for almost 10 years, and I got into it not just because it was the obvious next step (since I have a degree in Nutrition), but also because I truly enjoy exercising. And I wanted to help other people learn to love it too.
So I put together a few tips that might help you stay motivated, whether your are a beginner or you exercise regularly (because, believe me, we need the motivation sometimes too!).
1) ESTABLISH A DAILY ROUTINE. Make exercise part of your daily routine: the number one reason people give me for not exercising regularly, is time. Or, lack there of. If you make it part of your routine, like brushing you teeth, or having lunch, it will become a habit, and before you know it you won't even think about it. With that said, it doesn't always have to be a super long, super intense workout. Sometimes all you need is 30 minutes, and you're done. Doing something is ALWAYS better than doing nothing
2) START SLOW, FINISH STRONG. If you're a beginner, start slow. Don't go out for a run and expect to tackle 5 miles the first time around. It's just not going to happen. And that's ok. Push yourself a little bit more each time, and you'll get there. Baby steps, always, as long as you keep moving forward.
3) CHOOSE SOMETHING THAT YOU ACTUALLY ENJOY DOING. Otherwise, I can guarantee, you will not stick to it. If you go to a fitness class and are truly miserable the entire time (not because it's hard, but because it's really not your thing), move on to something else. That's ok too. I exercise every day. But put me in any kind of dancing type of class, and you will see my energy and motivation disappear faster than you can say Zumba.
4) DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE. We're all different. Our bodies are designed differently. And we all have different levels of experience. So don't beat yourself up or get discouraged if you can't do something as well as someone else. Chances are, you can do some things better than they can.
5) THE ONLY PERSON YOU'RE COMPETING WITH, IS YOURSELF. Again, we're all different. So work on improving your performance every time, and forget about everyone else. After all, you're doing this for YOU, not for them.
6) PUSH YOURSELF, BUT KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Yes, I just used the "L" word. Limits. We all have them, because we're human. And when you try to push yourself beyond them, that's when bad things can happen. Now, the trick is knowing where those limits are and how hard can you push. Your brain will naturally make you want to stop before you hit them. Give it some time, and you'll be able to know the difference.
7) GET THAT "NO PAIN NO GAIN" PHILOSOPHY OUT OF YOUR HEAD. It simply isn't true. Again, if you push to a point where you feel actual pain, bad things can happen. Know the difference between soreness and pain. Being sore after a workout is normal. It means your muscles worked hard. Feeling pain however, is not. So if you're doing a particular exercise and you feel pain anywhere, stop or modify. We exercise to be healthier and improve our quality of life, not to make it worse.
8) SWITCH IT UP. Whether you exercise regularly or you're just starting, don't stick to the same routine for too long. One, you'll get extremely bored, which will affect your motivation; and two, your muscles will get used to performing the same movements, and they will no longer be effective.
9) DON'T EXERCISE IF YOU'RE SICK OR INJURED. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Actually, it's not. You would not believe how many people still workout, even when they're not supposed to. I can't say I haven't done it myself, but the truth is, it doesn't do you any good. Your body will not benefit from it. Allow your body to rest if that's what it needs.
10) RELY ON FITNESS PROFESSIONALS. Whether you're taking a class or working out on your own. If you have any questions or need any suggestions, ask. If you have an injury and can't do certain exercises, talk to the instructor teaching the class. We are always happy to help. It's our job.
What keeps YOU motivated? Share it with us!